Monday, June 12, 2006

CENTRAL THAILAND

OK, these posts will be mostly pictures since Jane keeps an extensive blog. So, for more details on our actual doings and more pics or just more world travel stories, definitely check out her blog
www.grandtour-jk.blogspot.com. A lot of the pics are the same, or just replace her with me, but that's because certain photos jsut really tell the story!

BANGKOK MADNESS!
This bustling city has been developing rapidly in the past 15 years. Most of the buildings are still old, but extensive public transportation is in place and it is the hub for S.E. Asia to the rest of the world (in 2.5 weeks I came in and out of Bangkok 4 times!).

I get into town around midnight and am soooooo excited to see Jane!!! We haven't seen each other since Christmas and here we are re-uniting ... in Bangkok!

Everything is still hopping on Khoa-san road, the main crazy backpacker strip, which we unsuccessfully tried to avoid.


The next morning we get straight to business. Jane enjoying her roti (like flat indian type bread) and chicken curry. And note, since the food was sooo amazing, it gets a post all on its own, although it will inevitably show up here too.

DAY 1: mandatory tourism
We do the obligatory visit to the Grand Palace. Despite "Professors" telling us the Palace is closed and trying to send us off in a tuk-tuk (carriage-like thing pulled by a motorbike) to who knows where (never believe those guys!) and circumferencing the whole outer wall, we make it into the Palace. It is grand indeed. We've seen many, and this one definitely ranks high on the list.

The Grand Palace

The tile work is amazing. There is so many intricate details and it is well maintained by many workers daily.



A sign of good things to come.

We pop on over to Wat Po (Wat = temple) to see the famous reclining Buddha.
It's HUGE! And I thought Japan had big Buddhas. This is also the place to get a massage in Bangkok, but we hold out.

Ahhh, to relax forever.


DAY 2: Chatachuk Weekend Market
After patiently waiting in the middle of the street to flag down the public AIR-CON bus #3, we make the comfty 30 minute ride to the famous weekend market that has endless stalls of clothes, arts and crafts, food, plants, everything and anything you want and don't want. We spend the whole day there and were so overwhelmed that we forgot to even take a picture. Sorry!

but here's Jane showing off her new dress in our guesthouse. We actually couldn't fit into most of the clothes at the market, not to mention it was too hot to try on clothes. Thai people are tiny! And it probably didn't help that we were consuming coconut and sweetened condensed milk (it's in everything!) like there was no tomorrow.


KANCHANABURI
Day 3: fleeing the city...
A two hour supposedly-air-con-but-clearly-not bus ride and tiniest tuk-tuk ever later, we were so glad to be out of the city and breathe fresh air. Our goal was to steer clear of big cities as much as possible, so we found safe haven in the small town of Kanchanaburi.

Our guesthouse complex (but not our room) was on the river front. Now this is the Thailand I imagined! Lush and green.


Home of the famous death railway which was built by POW from the Allied forces during WWII under Japanese orders to make a path from Burma to Thailand. Many lives were lost. Yes, it has a lot of historical significance, but really, it looks just like a bridge.

We venture into the local night market for our usual dinner fare. A little bit of this and a little bit of that = dinner and dessert for two for $2.


Day 4: ERAWAN National Park
The reason for coming out to Kanchanaburi is to make it to the gorgeous waterfalls. After standing on the side of the road to flag down the public bus (yes, again!) we catch it for the 2 hr ride into the mountains.


There are 7 different tiers of the falls and each one is quite unique and lovely.

Tier #2: and this, my friends, IS THAILAND!!!!!


We make it all the way up to tier #7 with a few hard falls.

If you can climb it, why not? The limestone made for easy gripping.


Back to tier #5 for swimming. Ahhh paradise! Well, only after these two old sketch Thai guys stopped staring at us and left and we could've done without the snappy fish, but who is to complain?

It's THAILAND!


Day 5: In and out of Bangkok with a quick sneak at a Thai house
We spend 3 hours coming back in on a bus with ridiculously loud Thai karaoke music. We spend the afternoon at Jim Thompson's house, a guy from Deleware, who ended up in Thailand during the war and help start up the silk trade again.

Beautiful traditaional (albeit fancy) thai house and lovely gardens.


We take the overnight bus to Chiang Mai (10 hours long). We had to abort our train plans because of the terrible flooding in Northern Thailand.

The seats reclined pretty far back! We rode VIP baby! (Thanks for the travel pillow Mom!)


NOW... off to Northern Thailand for more adventures!!!

1 comment:

caroline said...

Those waterfalls are gorgeous! Great photos!