Late February Blog Post

Outside the Temple of Dawn

For the last two weeks we have been excitedly preparing for our adventure through SE Asia. The weekend of the 16 & 17 we spent in Pua with our friends to say goodbye. We spent Saturday afternoon at our favorite waterfall and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning making plans to see each other when we’re back in the States. The rest of the week we spent deciding what we would bring with us on our trip and what we would leave behind in storage in Bangkok. Neither of us did much teaching that week because the teachers were preparing the students for their final exams. It was nice to be able to take our time cleaning out our room and to be able think about the things we would leave in Bangkok. Ethan also had plenty of time to research some of the places we will be traveling to. :]

Friday afternoon we left Thawangpha and headed to Bangkok. It was yet another highly uncomfortable 10 hour bus ride. The person across the aisle was coughing obnoxiously for the first 5 hours and then the person behind him snored for the 2nd 5 hrs. Fortunately, we were both able to fall asleep for a few hours. We arrived at Bankok’s northern bus terminal around 5am and took the public bus into downtown. We told the bus attendant where we needed to go, but she didn’t communicate to us that we needed to take a different bus to get dropped off exactly where we needed to. So we got to a stop that wasn’t really near where we wanted to go and she told us to get off and kept saying 1-3. So we figured that she meant we needed to get on another bus, but were confused as to why she didn’t tell us this in the first place. Anyway, Ethan looked up how far our accommodation was from where we were and it didn’t seem too far away so we decided to just walk. Our walk took us through Lumphini Park, which is Bankok’s Central Park. We had been there before when we were in Bangkok for orientation, but never this early in the morning. There were tons of people out exercising and it was highly entertaining to watch all the people doing aerobics and jogging in huge groups. One group of older men announced their presence with the constant honk of a bicycle horn –  it was highly unnecessary. 
Tuk-tukin in Bangkok.

We finally made it to the place we were staying around 7:30, but the room wouldn’t be available until 8. So I fell asleep on the couch on the porch while Ethan got breakfast from 7/11. Once the room was ready we went up and slept for a while, then got ready to take on Thailand’s ‘City of Angels’ once more. We are big fans of public transportation especially in big cities since taxi rides can be costly. So we braved another one of Bangkok’s transport options, the subway. It was actually really nice and clean and easy to use – who knew?! We visited Bangkok’s largest market – the Chatuchuck weekend market – to check out the souvenir scene. We didn’t buy much, but we’ll be stopping there before we head back to the USA for some things to remind us of our time in Thailand.

Bangkok train station.

After the market we went back to our place for a shower – much needed since Bangkok is hot hot hot and the humidity is 110% – and then headed out to one of Bangkok’s several famous sky bar’s. A sky bar is quite simply a bar on the roof of a very tall building. Like I said there are several of them, but we chose the one closest to us. We were nervous about how much the drinks would be and if we would even be allowed up there. In the end, the drinks were expensive (E- my small beer was $9 and Skye’s tropical drink was around $13 so not too bad by American standards considering we were 61 floors above Bangkok. And then the service charge and VAT was added, which was a bit of a surprise. It was called Moon Bar at Banyan Tree Bangkok.) , but we chatted with a French couple and enjoyed a really awesome view of the city, which was well worth it. We got dinner at a much more reasonably priced establishment and called it a night.

Ruins in Lop Buri

The next day we took our giant duffel bag to a storage facility near where we were staying. It ending up costing us a little less than $30 to store the bag for 8 weeks. Quite the deal if you ask me! Anyway, after that we headed out to some of the sights we didn’t get the chance to see back in October including a huge golden temple, the democracy monument, a really neat art gallery, and the famous Khao San road. Khao San is the backpacker hub of Bangkok and the street is filled with shops and venders selling all sorts of crap – you can even buy fake college diplomas there! It’s also full of bars and places to eat sub-par western food. After our visit to Khao San we headed over to two other temples, but you had to pay to get into both of them so we opted out – I know it’s lame, but we’ve seen plenty of giant Buddhas… trust me! After our little tour we headed back and went to bed early so we could prepare to collect little miss Emily from her taxi at 8am! :]

Monkeying around.
Popping wheelies.
Chasing waterfalls.

I slept horribly that night, so 7:30am came a bit too quickly for my liking. Luckily, Emily’s flight was on time and the cab found our hotel without any problems. Once we had gotten our stuff out of the room we took Emily on a very very short tour of Bangkok. She saw one of the mega-malls, Khao San road, the Grand Palace from the seat of a tuk-tuk and the train station. From there we took a train to Lopburi which is a few hours north of Bangkok. Lopburi has a very large monkey population as well as some ruins so we wanted to check it out. It didn’t take us very long to tour the ruins there, but we bought our train tickets for 10:30pm thinking that it would be better to get into Den Chai (the nearest town to Nan on the train line) at 7am rather than 3am (which is what would have happened if we took an earlier train). So we saw the ruins and the monkeys – they were totally nuts by the way – and had dinner in a matter of 2 hours and had to sit in the blazing heat for 6 hours to wait for our train (it was an hour late too!). It was not the best trip planning we’ve ever done, but we lived through it. Once back in Nan city, Ethan drove Emily around the town on the motorbike, while I took the truck back with her bag. It was a very long trip back to the North, but it was successful and that’s really all that mattered. Now the only things left to do were packing and saying farewell to our Thai colleagues!

View atop Banyan Tree Bangkok at Moon Bar.

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