We have got to Heathrow with no major issues, ahead of time, and very excited. I am always surprised at how organised the airport is, and we were wondering if Asia will be more chaotic.
The flight was fun, had some funky Asian style airplane dinner and breakfast. We are not huge fans of flying, so slept basically all of the way there, only woke up to eat.
After immigration and a quick stop to buy a local sim card, it was about 6pm by the time we left the airport. Dear God, the heat was immense! I don’t remember ever feeling such heat, except in a sauna, I think it’s because of the high humidity levels. We took the city train to Makkasan, where we got on to the local metro going to the train station.
We had to purchase our tickets for the overnight train to Surat Thani, it was a good idea not to do it online, it was half price compared to 12go! First class tickets to the #85 train were 1200 baht each.
Straight after, we decided to take a walk to our hostel, which was certainly a challenge with our backpacks and the heat, also still wearing our jeans… I know, not so clever, right. I sweat so much, I thought I will just evaporate. It was very easy to navigate the city though, and I was surprised by how clean and organised everything is.
We found the hotel OK, and gladly welcomed the cool room, had a much needed cold shower and got ready to go out for the evening.
We decided to go to a late night shopping market, Asiatique. There are so many shops here, decent quality products as well! We grabbed some food at a place called Well Done… places have funny names here. The food was amazing, the morning glory, an Asian flower, in garlicky Soy sauce was out of this world.
After a little wonder around the shops we decided to try the fish spa, it was amazing! Evie almost peed herself, it was so ticklish, but once you get used to it, it’s great. Not to mention our feet have never felt smoother, ever!
Back to the hotel, and straight back to sleep!
Slept reasonably well, but we still need time getting used to the jet lag and the heat. I went for a walk in the morning, saw people worshipping in the Vishnu temple, the girls at the local school having a muay Thai session as morning exercise, very different to a morning walk in Bristol!
We checked out of the hotel and left our rucksacks in the lobby.
Started walking and caught a tuk tuk to the Royal Palace. We started talking to a local who told us to check out some other places, we went along with it, and saw a local Buddhist temple standing Buddha, which is over 30m tall. They probably tried to con us in the end, taking us to a tailors offering armani suits etc, with a story that you can only buy this once a year blablabla. We just walked out, they didn’t seem to mind. Later we learned this is a common con in Thailand, they tried to sell us suits in Phuket as well… Umm, no thanks.
At the Palace, before entering you have to change and cover your legs and shoulders, tights are not acceptable for women, which we didn’t know, so had to go and buy a skirt for Evie. I got hungry, so stopped at a small place nearby and had an awesome local dish called Tom Yum, its a fish soup, lot of ginger, tasted amazing.
The entry to the Palace is 500 baht each, so quite pricey, but you can’t visit Bangkok and not see the Emerald Buddha. The heat was almost unbearable, it didn’t help that we had to wear trousers… We got however free English tour guide, at 12.30, so we learnt a lot. King Rama the 10th has had his coronation recently. His birthday falls on a Monday, therefore the whole country has the color yellow displayed everywhere. In Buddhism, every day has its color, so when you go and pray, you take the color you were born on to pray for good luck. Also, most of the Palace was off limits, and only open for the public once a year, such as the crypt with all the Buddha relics.
Seeing the Emerald Buddha was great, it was dressed in its summer clothes, there are 3 seasons in Thailand, so Buddha has 3 different sets of outfits. Not allowed to take pictures of it though, some people tried, they took their phones and cameras away and deleted the pictures straight away!
After the Palace, we wanted to check out the reclining Buddha in Wat Pho, just next door. Took a walk, managed to change out to my jeans, so felt much better. The reclining Buddha is quite cool, it is about 46 metres long and in the famous sleeping position, showing the passing of Buddha into final Nirvana after death.
Eventually, we decided not to see Wat Arun, had enough of temples for the day, haha. Instead, we went to the local market, but the smell of fish was so strong I almost threw up, so we quickly left. I got over it quickly though and had some street food, Thai pancake with eggs and bananas, delicious.
It was time to catch our train to Surat Thani, from Hua Lamphong. We arrived just in time, and was positively surprised at the sleeping cabin, it was clean and cleverly designed, AC on full blast too. We could have ordered dinner and breakfast but went shopping before and had some drinks and food prepared so ended up just having our snacks. The train journey was 12 hours and it was a lot of fun, slept about 8 hours as well. We met a family who was travelling with 2 small kids in one of these cabins with loads of luggage, looked like a lot of work!