I have never been to south East Asia before so I was very excited about being able to tick three countries off the list in one go. My time in Thailand was a bit whistle-stop, only stopping in Bangkok and Chiang Rai. From what I saw I definitely think a trip back to Explore Thailand in more depth is needed!
Staying in the Old Town of Bangkok meant that I got to experience the more laid back part of the city. I felt so relaxed walking through the narrow winding streets, everyone was very laid back, there was none of that harassment you get in other Asian cities, people trying to sell you things and a constant thought about whether your bag is closed! I felt very at easy just wandering around, taking advantage of the cities many coffee shops and bars. I do think its one of those cities that you perhaps need to know someone in if you are going to venture further afield than the Koh San road and the backpackers.
The old town allows easy access to the river and its canals. No visit to the city would be complete without a trip on the canals. A trip on the river allows you to experience a way of life that has been unchanged for centuries. People are still building their houses right up to the waters edge, their lives completely connected with the water. In the distance the sky is filled with metal and steel towers highlighting how life in Bangkok is changing.
Like any capital city, Bangkok has a host of sites to visit, from the Grand Palace to its hundreds of temples.
People watching, a great pleasure of mine, is definitely on the cards in this city. Pitch up at a cafe or bar, take your book and watch the afternoon pass by in relaxation. The slow pace of the old town is definitely one to take advantage of. Of course at night, that all changes as Happy Hours flow freely, cheap beer and live music fill the streets around the Khao San road – this is definitely a great place to hang out for a few days.
When ready to leave Bangkok you can do it in a variety of transport, for my itinerary it was a plan up to Chiang Rai, and a visit to the Golden Triangle.
This was a whistle-stop tour of Northern Thailand as a way to pass the time before heading to the Lao border. I didn’t get the impression that this was somewhere to stay for too long, and stay long we didn’t. We spent the night in a town called Chiang Kong, conveniently opposite an outdoor bar. For a town that was one of the main routes into Loa I expected it to be busier, instead we sat in a bar entertained by an elderly man dressed like a cowboy singing Elvis. The only other patrons were a couple of Thai’s and a couple and their Thai guide, where everyone else was I have no idea. However, it was an entertaining night, with us being ‘serenaded’ by Elvis and a woman I presumed to be his wife.
The next morning, with bags in tow we walked down to the river, passing through Thai immigration very quickly, a long queue of back-packers forming behind us. Then it was onto the boats to cross the river into Lao, and a long 2 hours in their immigration queue. Bureaucracy at its best!!