14.15 Saturday morning.
I looked out of the airplane window, while I saw the green polders and Dutch houses slowly getting smaller and smaller. I realized this was my 15th flight this year, what a year! Damn, was I lucky. I took Michelle’s hand and squeezed. Our adventure had finally begun!
Since then SO much has happened, actually too much has happened. I wrote a huge blog post, which somehow got lost (It was kinda devastating, but I got over it lol). However, we spent our days all across Thailand, I could write pages long about it. But don’t worry, I won’t. However, since I lost the first blog post and I don’t want it to be too long anyway, I decided to split the past 2 weeks up in 3 blog posts. So here is ya first one:
We started our trip ‘abroad’ in Düsseldorf, Germany and went from there on to Bangkok. We flew with an Ukraine airline, which was apart from the cheap spaghetti and a stunning view of Kiev, the capital which was covered in snow, not that great. Apparently, we got the ‘Sardine-style-coach-class’, aka my legs were not able to move for 12 hours. Mich and I were both seated in the middle, which means we were squeezed in between other people. And not just other people… we both had a lovey dovey honeymoon couple next to us, who were obviously both going to live in a villa in Phuket for 2 weeks. Very honeymoon style. And even better…in front of us we had about 30 Ukraine guys who were getting ready for their Bachelor party in Thailand. And you bet… they’re pre party started up in the air. Our airplane basically changed into a loud pub with yelling men. Having no screens and lots of turbulence didn’t make things better, but hey we got across the world, about 10 000 km for €250, so I’m not complaining hehe. Besides, it was a good prep for our backpacker budget adventure, right?!
Once we arrived in Bangkok, we had to get our Thai Sim card and our Thai Bahts out of an ATM, things were all quite an hassle and once we finally arrived at our hostel, we slept for hours. By the time we woke up, it was basically night time. We went to get our first Thai meal called Pad Thai, which is prob my fav Thai food already, it’s so so good. We walked around and enjoyed the street view. The streets were decorated with lanterns, food stalls and tanned, handsome backpackers. The atmosphere was good and soon the overwhelmed feeling of the mega city I felt before faded away. We went to bed around 11, but didn’t sleep before 3 am. Yep, the jetlag officially hit us.
The next day was our first full day in Bangkok, which we decided to kick off with a glorious, beautiful temple. And glorious and beautiful it was! Wat Arun, as the temple is called, was apart from the million Chinese tourists perfect! I could describe it all in detail, but the photos do the better job. Btw, I’m aware that in some of the photos there are no tourists at all, so ‘a million Chinese tourists’ might seem a little exaggerated, but it’s not. Don’t let me fool you, I might have waited forever for the perfect photo moment… and I might have edited some people out.
Visiting our first tourist attraction made us really hungry, so we decided it was about time for another Thai meal. As an ‘experienced’ traveller, I thought I’d be a good idea to skip the food stalls close to the temple, those food stalls would basically charge you double for the same food. And you read all over Google that Bangkok is filled with thousands of food stalls anyway. I guess that wasn’t completely true, at least not in this neighborhood. We walked for half an hour, under the hot, burning sun with no food stalls in sight. However, in the end patience is key, eventually we found a restaurant that served cheap noodle soup and even provided us with an ac, something which was much needed since the sweat was dripping down our butts.
We visited ‘Wat Pho’ after our late lunch, the green temple looked great but was in my opinion not comparable to the stunning Wat Arun. After our temple visits we felt in desperate need of a cold shower so we decided to get back to our hostel. This was easier said than done because figuring out how the local bus system in Bangkok works is appearantly very hard for 2 Dutch town girls. (Yes, we know rickshaws are super easy, but we’re stubborn and doing it the cheap way. We aint paying €2 when we can pay €0,15, righttt?!) Anyway, we got back to our hostel about 1.5 hours later and prepared ourselves for a night out at the busiest street in Bangkok: Khao San Road. The night was good, we stuffed ourselves with mozzarella bread and coconut ice cream, walked around for a bit, enjoyed the view of drunk backpackers and then went to bed early. It was a good, but tiring first day.
We spent our next day in China town, which basically existed of lots of clothing and food markets. We walked around, sipped on iced coffees and grabbed a bite. Our backpacks are already way too heavy, so no shopping for us. (Says a shopping addict! U proud mom?) We decided to end our last night in Bangkok on a good note, we got dressed, put makeup on and went for the very fancy look. All of the sudden we didn’t really fit in with the people in our hostel anymore, you know, the average backpacker with dreads. Anyways, we took the cheap, local bus and ferry in our fancy, black outfits and eventually walked into one of the most expensive hotels of Bangkok. We casually greeted the staff, walked into the elevator and went to level 56. We ordered the cheapest glass of wine on the menu and enjoyed the best view of Bangkok that you can possibly get. Pro tip: it’s free entrance to the rooftop bar, however you have to hold a drink. Do it the ‘Dutch’ way and sip for an hour on the same glass, take photos, enjoy the view and leave. We tested it out for you and it works. 😉
It was Wednesday morning when we decided it was time for something new: Ayutthaya, the old capital city which is known for its temples, was next on our destination list! However, getting there wasn’t easy. We were kicked out of multiple local busses by non-English speakers, multiple bus stops seemed to be vanished from the earth and we walked for kilometers with our overloaded backpacks. After about an hour or two my shoulders and back started to hurt and was ready to spend our entire budget of the day on a cab, the heat and heavy backpack were just too much. Mich walked up to the first cab she saw, the driver opened his window and smirked… from then on all I remember is Mich screaming and yelling. Apparently, the sick guy smirked for a reason, since he had his pants down. We were both disgusted, so we tried to get onto another bus. After about 2.5 hours we got to the big busstation (mind that this is just 4.6 km out of Bangkok and it took us this long. We suck.) Anyways, we got there so who cares. Next we had to get a minivan to Ayutthaya, easier said than done because it was a local bus station with not a single English sign. We decided to go to the local bus station since they would only charge you 60 baht, while a commercial tourist bus with ac would take you for 350 baht. However, finding the right minivan on a local bus station is anything but easy. Imagine about a 200 minivans, all with different Thai signs on it, going to 120 different destinations. Asking others didn’t work too well either. ‘Hi, we need to find the minivan to Ayutthaya, could you help us out?’ ‘To where’ ‘Uhh Ayutthaya, Ayutthaiaa, Ayuuuthaya. Fack Mich, you try.’ ‘Uh yeah, so we’re heading to Ayuthiya, Ayyuthaya?!’ We tried about 15 different pronunciations and nothing really worked out.
It took us about 6 tiring hours to get to a city only 80 km from Bangkok but that’s okay. We made it! As said before, Ayutthaya is known for all of its temples and we had 3 really beautiful ones on our list! We started with an insanely big and white temple that was located in the middle of nowhere. We sat in the back of a tuktuk truck while we enjoyed the wind in our hair. We saw rice fields, small villages and poor families. All of the sudden I realized I loved this, the rural parts of Thailand, already so much more than the big city. We got to the white temple and saw we had the impressive building all to ourselves. Wow! Such a big difference from the busy temple Wat Arun! We looked around, appreciated the beauty, climbed the stairs and yelled while being on top. There was no person in sight, except for our rushed tuktuk driver, who had to wait extra long, just because we had to take the perfect photo. We brought a quick visit to the other 2 temples, one which was well known for a Buddha head that grew in a tree, and one that was known for its tower. Both looked great, however they were flooded by tourists and therefore surrounded by tourist souvenir stalls and a ticket booth.
We rested a bit at a random hostel, the people there were kind enough to give us a shower, a locker for our backpacks and a place to chill for a couple of hours. We had to get our night train by 9 so we had a couple of hours left, something which ended up being a really good thing. All of the sudden, there was a huge Chinese New Years party going on in the main street and we got to join and celebrate! Imagine lots and lots of Chinese food stalls, Chinese music, Chinese artists on stages and a parade with Chinese dragons running around. It was all quite an experience, but we absolutely loved how we got to see a bit from the Chinese culture in Thailand.
That night we took the night train to Chiang Mai, our third destination that week! The night train was comfortable and fun since we got to share our travel stories with a Portugese and Brazilian guy who lived in Hawaii. Both of them had such interesting stories and time flew by, we were in no time on the other side of the country.
It was time to explore the North of Thailand!