Tigers…

Today I visited a floating market, which is exactly what it sounds like. Lots and lots of boats which act as market stalls and you have to boat around to buy stuff. Hugely impractical.

I also walked over the bridge over the river Kwai. See: history, for reference.

But mainly I went to a tiger temple and played with tigers. I don’t actually have too much to say right now, but it was requested that I post the pictures, so here they are.

I am aware that in the second photo it looks like I am touching that tiger cub very inappropriately and that s/he’s enjoying it an awful lot, but I can assure you I was just stroking its back.

Advertisements

Temples, an’ stuff…

Yeah, that’s the title.

Had no idea what to do the first full day I had in Bangkok, so following my tried and tested tradition of “walking around for a while”, off I went.

I love these overhead cables, and I’ve no idea why. They go everywhere. Also, bus. I took a route from my hostel around and down to a river that, on the map, looked like it had some interesting things to see on the way. First thing was a huge fort I came across.

Couldn’t go inside or anything, but I had a walk around the outside. After that I ended up going slightly off track and walking through road after road of street markets selling little amulets and charms, and then pretty much everything else. So many unidentifiable foodstuffs that might’ve been delicious, they certainly looked it, but I wasn’t going to risk it.

I ended up coming to a temple called Wat Po (or Pho, depending on where you look). Had really no idea what it was, but since the entry fee was 100 baht, I wasn’t too bothered about having a look. Suddenly, a face.

SOON

SOON

The temple actually turned out to house a pretty famous statue, the Reclining Buddha. Here’re a couple of proper pictures as well. For a size frame of reference, that fence is shoulder height.

The temple complex, all 20 aches of it, was incredible pretty and a joy to walk around. Somehow I managed to enter through the non-main entrance (har har, children) so the first while I was walking around the place was seemingly deserted. Then I hit crowds, which was a shame, but I was pretty much done by then. Oh, and Thai statues sometimes wear top hats. Because classy.

After the temple I started walking back to the hostel, as I’d been walking for six hours in the sun so I figured a rest was due. On the way I came across a large alleyway / small street with some more awesome wires, and a huge temple in the background, which I felt kinda felt summed up Bangkok for me completely. Even has the obligatory tuk-tuk.

Bangkok…

 

So I’m away again. I landed in Bangkok a couple of days ago. It’s very, very warm. Thank FSM for air-con.

Bangkok airport is awesome. Well, no, it’s just a regular airport, but it does have some awesome things in it. Firstly, please observe not only escalators that’re stairs, not only escalators that’re conveyor belts, not only escalators that’re sloping, but ALL OF THE ABOVE AT ONCE.

I took a train from the airport to, well, a train station somewhere. Apparently this was the closest place to where I was staying to then get a taxi from. Waving down a taxi driver who spoke and read enough English to understand the address I was going to was a challenge in the middle of rush hour traffic, but I got one in the end.

The next thing that struck me about Bangkok’s dealing with traffic was the incredible traffic lights. They have timers on them to tell you how long the red light has left until it changes, and the same for the green. I’m sure this isn’t exclusive to Bangkok, but it’s the first time I’ve noticed it anywhere. It also really reduces the frustration of sitting waiting at a red light if you know when it’s gonna change, even if that is in three minutes.

I arrived at my hostel and checked in, made my way up to my room and crashed out on the bed after something like 20 hours of travelling. The plane journeys were not conducive to sleeping, so that didn’t really happen.

Since my body now had no idea what time it was, it being about 8pm local time and 2pm English time, it was kinda hungry. It’d been many hour since I last ate on the first plane journey, so kinda understandable. Now, see, I’m not a huge fan of eating food if I don’t know what it is. This made getting food here somewhat of a challenge. I wandered the streets for a while until I found something that resembled something I recognised and got a dish of that. Turned out to be delicious.

So, that was my first day in Bangkok. Onwards (and a fight with jet lag)!

 

Well… I wanted to know…

I had the following conversation with a friend and fellow traveller who’s spent the last few months in South East Asia.

THESE THINGS ARE OF IMPORTANT CONCERN, ALL RIGHT?

Me: I have a very pressing question for you.

Friend: yep?

Me: What’re the toilets like in Thailand? Are they those weird things you just have to squat over on the floor? And do they have TP?

Friend: 50% are squat toilets and rarely toilet paper

Me: ‘The fuck do you clean up with?

Friend: you carry your own in your bag
they have a hose too
hose yourself down
it’s fun!

Me: This seems woefully impractical.

Friend: i actually prefer them
you get used to it :)

Me: But, like… how do you not soak all your clothing while you’re cleaning?

Friend: you do sometimes
LOL
but not often
the water comes out in a very thin straight line LOL

Me: See above RE woefully impractical. -_-

Friend: a lot of places will have a toilet but no flush
so you have to fill up a bucket of water

Me: Well, that I’m fine with.

Friend: and hold it over your head
and chuck it in
there was one in phi phi that took 20 mins to flush everytime!
You had to have so much force or it just filled up and overflowed
this is a fun conversation to have over breakfast! :D

Me: Haha, sorry ’bout that.

Friend: but really, the toilets are fine
barely even an issue, and after the first couple of times yo get used to it

Me: Thanks for the info. I was perplexed.

Friend: not anywhere near as bad as china where you didnt even have cubicles and everyone would poo into a giant trough looking at each other
LOL

Me: …

Friend: seriously
it was horrific
my british reservedness did not cope well

Me: I imagine not!

Stage two, oh yeahhh…

After an unexpectedly lengthened stay at home, today I booked my flight to Thailand. I fly out from London on May 8th, stop over briefly in Delhi, and then finally touch down in Bangkok the day after. Woo.

I anticipate this part of the trip being more difficult for a variety of reasons.

For a start, I wasn’t too intimidated by Europe or (obviously) America and the potential language barriers because English is pretty prevalent in Europe wherever you go, and somewhat prevalent depending on where you go in the US… Anyway. This is not the case in SE Asia so much. I can point and, you know, speak loudly and stuff, but that’ll only get you so far.

Secondly, this is a much more alien and less developed part of the world than Europe and the US, for the most part. Now that doesn’t really bother me, as such, but it adds to the intimidation when being thrown into that alone. I actually knew an acquaintance who’s been out there for a little while who I was going to meet up with for a day or two to act as a buffer, kinda, but that’s fallen through as they have to move on elsewhere. A friend from school who I previously travelled the US with was gonna be coming out on holiday and meeting up for a brief amount of time too, but other commitments have led that to fall through also. Neither of these were remotely solid plans, outlines and sketches of ideas at best, and I wasn’t relying on them, so it looks like I’ll be travelling alone again. Cool.

And C, I actually have people (other than family) at home that I’m going to be sad to leave behind and miss an awful lot this time.

I repacked my backpack today, and managed to cut out a whole load of stuff from the packing list that I took last time. The benefit of experience and being able to confidently say “I never used that!” while throwing a roll of duct tape over my shoulder (though I’m actually still taking that because, well, you never know.) My pack can now be comfortably lifted with one arm, rather than being the two-hand-requiring monstrosity that it was before. I am aiming to get it down to airport carry-on luggage size if I can, but I reckon I’m aiming a bit off the mark with that, sadly.

There are no solid plans other than “land in Bangkok” so far. There are lots of interesting little counties sprinkled around Thailand in easy reach, so I’m going to try and add to my collection of one-for-each-country bracelets (left to right: Croatia, Italy, Greece, Bosnia, Tunisia, France, Slovenia, and America).

And on that note, I’m going to head to bed. Expect more updates soon. Oh, and I’ll still be keeping up with my duties over at Two Photos a Day, so do keep checking for awesome pictures every day!