View of starting point of canoeing expedition
Some sort of Crustacean trying to get into the boat.
What is it with animals trying to get into my boat???
Follow the guys in front .
Exit straight ahead!
Stalagtites overlooking my escape route
Odd looking formation
I made sure to wear A LOT of sun screen on that day!
The other exit!
Actually, Now, that I see the pics, this trip does not seem too bad! Rowing through the cave is an experience.
The picture says it all
If you walk up these steps in sandles , make sure not to stub your toe like.....em.....somebody did.
Looks like I am just going from cave to cave!
Apparently , this scrawl was drawn a couple of thousand years ago...
To me, all I can think of is ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEIjXU7baSc
The exit - (We got to this place by using the boat.)
It would take some time to leave through this route. My tree swinging skills are not up to scratch...yet
At the end of the tour, I was expecting some lunch but the guide said that it wasn't included. When I got back to the hostel, they gave me some free grub which picked up the energy a bit in preparation for the long bus journey ahead. A minibus came to drop us from the hostel to the main bus terminal in Krabi (which I had visited a week earlier.) I started talking to a girl on the minibus. She was saying that she was on her way to Bangkok too...cool! At the bus terminal,
Bus terminal at Krabi.
Open air bus terminals are the way forward (unless you live in a cold country!)
we had to wait 90 minutes before the bus arrived. One of the ticket inspectors recognised me from the previous week. This was quite a feat as many people go in and out of this bus terminus. The girl from the bus (Candy) had been travelling for a couple of months and had been doing some volunteer work in Cambodia. This seemed cool to me. It was nice to hear stories of people giving up their time to help out.
Eventually, the bus came along and we were on our way... I remember at one point we had to change buses but I was a bit sleepy at that point. I was in that place where you are not really asleep but you are not really awake (kind of linke a zombie!!) Anyway, I was able to grab a couple of hours sleep on the journey (I still haven't perfected the art of a good sleep on a bus yet. dang!)
The next morning, we reached our detination- the Khao San road. We thought it might be a good idea to save a bit of cash and share a twin room so Candy and I found one at the Sawadee Smile just off the Khao San road for 400 a night....well, when i say it was that , it was initally something like 520 but Candy was able to barter down to Thai prices.I REALLY need to learn this bartering business!!!
The room itself was pretty cool, 2 beds and a t.v! I had not seen a t.v in a room that I have slept in for quite a while!
I decided to head off and explore town and I told Candy I'd meet back with her around 2.30.... I walked in a random direction where some Tuk Tuk drivers decided to ask me about my whole life story before telling me it was my lucky day as this was the queens birthday and the journey would only cost 10 Baht. I told the first guy that I did not want the tuk Tuk and he told me I was stupid before walking away in a huff. I decided to say 'yes' to the next guy. Initially, he brought me to a temple.At the temple, a guy came out of nowhere and told me that there are really cheap Italian suits to be found close to here. I told him 'thanks for the tip' and went back to the driver who brought me DIRECTLY to that clothes shop that the 'random' guy had just been talking about! I went inside and told the tailor that I had no interest in buying a suit. He proceeded to ignore what I was saying and started quoting me values out of the sky. I kept reiterating that I had no interest but he was persistent. He asked if I would buy a shirt and pants only. I told him that even if I wanted to buy some clothes, I would have no room for them. After 20 minutes of talking shop, the tailor gave up and walked out , completely ignoring me. My job there was done!!!
I walked back to the driver where he proceeded to drive me to the tourist office. I assumed this was a dodgy tourist office so I just asked some perfunctory questions for a few minutes and went back to the driver.....who proceeded to drive me to a jewelry shop. Now, anyone that knows me knows that I have zero interest in anything shiney and sparkly....So, after 3 hours of traveling all over Bangkok, it was time to get back to the Khao San road and see if Candy had waited the extra half hour....Luckily she had ( I am not sure if I had waited that extra half hour but thanks for waiting Candy!) We decided to walk back along the Khao San road where I was accosted by more guys willing to sell suits....Bangkok just seems to be one suit district! The good thing about this road was the amount of cool, cheap food on offer. I think I became addicted to Pat Thai as the p.t that you can buy here is something else! and you can see it being cooked in front of you also!
Later that day we ventured to another tourist area where we got some ideas about sights and sounds of Bangkok. Well, you can pick up the sounds from just listening to the tuk tuk drivers imitating the sound of a ping pong ball OR making the sound you make to get a cats attention (to get a tourists attention) and then making the ping pong sound. Wow, Is Bangkok known for anything else?? well, yep - the calypso show....As far as I could gather , this show consisted of men dressed as women , women dressed as men and ladyboys dressed to impress... so, we decided to book a couple of tickets.
We decided to visit a couple of shrines. Within the temples we found a few words of wisdom which I will share with you here!
I wish I had more faith
Never a truer word written!
Be careful of the bad people
But then you will never know their age!
I am confused
Mind your own business!
Looks like a birdman in a goalkeeper stance!
Ignore the reflection and read the words!
I think an umbrella is needed Candy!
I think a nice t-shirt is needed John
Don't you hate it when people refer to themselves in the third person!
(yeah, me too.....D'oh!)
That was one rainy and sunny day combined!
Trying not to ruin the cool scenery
I like the way the tips of the temples all have a piece of metal that looks like a horn sticking out of it.
It really adds to the building (in my humble opinion)
It's sunny , no wait...t's rainy... no wait.. I don't know what it is...
this is rainy season - Asian style!
As you can see from the pics, the shrines were a real sight to behold. It was nice to just take an afternoon/evening and chill out while walking around these temples. It was very peaceful (while the sun was out. When the sun disappeared, the rainfall was unreal but what can you do! This is Asia during Rainy season and I will definately not complain as I have seen on TV how bad things can get (Have a look at rainfall in Manila - scary stuff. To be honest, I had never thought about rainy season before (as there is no such thing back home) but I guess people are used to it over here (to a point) and nature can be really cruel at times) )
Pic of Rizal Park (Manila) during the floods.
I visited this place just 2 months earlier
I will never complain about the rain in Ireland again!!
Where all the cool photographs are taking place!
Close up of one of the temples just to show the detail that's involved in these temples
Scary looking monsters
I would not like seeing this creature in a dark alley in the early hours of the morning!
Wise man with , what appears t be a snake like ccreature by his left leg
Bangkok , just off the Khao san road at night
The road parallel to the Khao San Road which is adorned woth Thai lags all the time.
Scariest looking kids toys that have evver seen!
Noodles with (I think) beef balls in a soup formation
Getting into this museum is akin to entering Fort Knox
We reied to go here at least 3 times but every time seemed to be the queens birthday.
Elephants play a big part in the decoration of Bangkok
They come in all shapes and colours
(well, they usually come in the one shape but they do come in all colours)
Woman strutting her stuff at one of the local eateries by the side of the road. These places are pure gold!
Somebody told me once, if you drink too much, you'll end up seeing the pink elephants.
I was not drinking today and I saw these...So , that's what that phrase means!
Pink seems to be a favoured colour around these parts.
At one point during the week, we realised that there must be some truthto the story of the queen of Thailand celebrating her birthday! Loads of civil servants appeared on the streets of Bangkok dressed in their formal attire. Some of them were marching, some were just mingling with the skivvies and the tourists. The atmosphere was very jovial! It did appear that the whole of Thailand descnded to Bangkok for this day though but it was good craic.
I think you are blocking the view of the town hall Candy!
There is hardly anywhere to walk with the amount of people congregating around the various temples/palaces
If you want to buy a huge glass of green stuff, come to this stall (leaves not included)
Here are a few civil servants hanging out.
Maybe , i can get my photo taken with a couple of them
A couple of bemused army nurses posing for a pic with an odd lookinf foreigner.
note: I was wearing a sweater because I thought that I might not be able to get into some of the temples if I wore a vest...I was wrong (and quite sweaty..note to self: throw out that sweater)
Temple # 6,000,001
I wonder what the opening hours for this place is.
Ah....It's open from...hmmmmmmmmm to eemmmmmm
Never mind, Here come the marcing bands to save the day!
First the blueshirts
Followed by the sailors
Followed by the mid afternoon rainstorms that frequent Asia during rainy season
Boy, does it get dark very quickly when the rain comes from the skies!
Candy didn't seem to mind too much
as for myself.....
Once I got my ice lolly, I was content!!
Look, that's a contented pic of me!
At one point, we happened to find the pier. In Bangkok, there are a few ways of getting around town. The public buses are really easy to use and cheap as are public boats. The locals will help you out once you have a destination in mind.
The river looks a bit on the dirty side.
This entrance must be a throw back to colonial times as it looks like The guards of the palace in London!
More street food. Those meat ball thingies are very popular over here!
Nice pic of a temple at sunset
Some congee ()rice with veg. and meat
This can be eaten as a breakfast and is very filling
In China , this can be called (amongst other things) Porridge
This was part of the 'congee'.
Can you guess what it is?
answer after the next pic.
One of the main bridges in Bangkok
That piece of meat is in fact a cows tongue
It tastes very rough\tough but it's edible...just
One of the buildings just off the Khao San road
Don't worry. It's not on fire!
The Calypso Experience:
To be honest, I had never heard of 'the calypso' before but when we were gaving a look at hings to do in Bangkok, it kind of stood out. Dudes dressing as women, women sometimes dressing as dudes and the Ladyboys getting in on the action also (I think). So, a trip to the theatre was called for! The compare of the show must have said 'ladies and gentlemen' 20 imes during the show. It grated a small bit but there seemed to be a lot of movement going on behind him , all the time!! It was a bit like the Glasnevin musical society show but mimed (for the most part) and more 'rocky horror picture show'. Here are a few of the highlights.
looks a bit like a scene from west side story
well, except the man is now a woman
Wait a minute!!
This is pole dancing!!
I hope the guys on the bottom don't decide to jump on the pole or the others will be caught in 'no mans land' so to speak!
Most of the audience seemed to know all the songs so I felt like a bit of an outside here , especially when the artists started miming to that famous korean song by the wonder girls - 'nobody like you'
At the end of the show, all the actors lined up beside the stage and we were able to meet a few of them. Some of them were as tall as me!
Some of the lads
The scene of 'The Calypso'
Candy with one of the stars of the show
I wonder if I put enough gel in my hair, maybe I could get a perm like that
I reckon it's time for a true story (of course, no names can be given here - primarily because I don't remember her second name and secondarily It's bad kharma..) I should write about a girl that happened to be staying near out hotel. She had decided to get herself clean from her problem by going to Thailand for a 3 week vacation. She was trying to get off some pretty serious drugs and I guess she was in remission as she seemed a bit twitchy....(Although , to be fair, I can be a bit twitchy at times also!) She was saying that the police caught her a couple of times while trying to sell some drugs such that she could buy more drugs so she could get high. This was a bit of a problem as she is a teacher. It seemed like like she was succeeding in breaking her habit although she did say that she had started drinking again (for the first time in 12 years) just to get to sleep.. I hope she gets better (If that sounds patronising, I don't mean it that way.).
Again, Let me emphasize this...I am not judging anyone. You really do meet people from all walks of life over here.
Anyway, enough chat -- back to the photos and possible happy stories..
View from the main road in Bangkok
More Elephants carved out of trees
(No elephants were harmed during the making of the elephants, a couple of trees might have died though)
The main road in Bangkok is full of symbolic characters
and here is jut on more monument
It always looks sunny in most of the pics.
This is rainty season so rain is never too far away!
Lots of vantage points ar used when it comes to setting up markets in any place, even across a bridge
This part of Bangkok is just like Venice
But without the Italian accents
and the pizza
wait a minute, it's nothing like Venice ,although it does have some nice waterways
Lovely view of Bangkok from one of the bridges
Croissants and ice tea straight from Tescos!
One day when I had nothing better to do I headed in the direction of the national stadium. When I arrived there, the stadium seemed to be nothing special so I ventured to two of the malls nearby. As with a lot of Bangkok , there seemed to be quite a few ornaments adorning the streets. The place has a great market there as well as a Madam Tussauds (with an ice skating rink above it.) There is an aquarium centre around here and you can get a discounts if you buy a madam tussauds/aquarium ticket at the same time (you know that whole waxwork - fish connection?) Anyway, I had the camera on me and I was able to take some radom pics of all the colourful objets that were seen around this area.
So, THIS is a Siamese cat.
Looks like the cat that got the cream to me
These statues stand in the middle of the path and are quite large (Note the size of the people in the background)
em, I am not sure whatt this represents ,but it looks like she is giving a speech that she wrote on her hands but she forgot to put her clothes on. d'oh!
Look at all the colourful lights in the mall!
Nice change of colour!
A waxwork (I think) of Naomi Cambell outside Madam Tussauds
Picture taken from level 4 of one of the malls.
wow, I hope I don't drop my camera!
I had never seen a purple leopard before
Maybe, this leopard can go against the trend and actually change his own spots
Wait a minute, This is getting rediculous.A green and blue zebra
what next? A multi coloured deer?
That's it. These colours aree too crazy for me!
I am out of here!
Hold on a minute - This deer has some cool antlers!
At this point, I decided to find that Jim Thompson museum.To be honest, I was fit to fall asleep on the pavement but I just walked into the building without paying for it...Mind you, all I saw there were fish and turtles, Those fish that go mad for food were here!!!
One fish said 'Everyone get in line and we will ll have some food'
All the other fish ate him
Different odd shaped fish
Tortoise making a break for it...
Come on, one more step and then you have another 50,000 to go!
The Floating Market:
I always wondered what a floating market would look like. Would any of the goods be damagd fue to accidentally falling into the river? would the sellers be a pushy bunch of so an so's who would grab your boat and shove it to their shop? Would the boat that you are in capsize and if so, would there be a free for all to get out of the water?
The reality was calm mixed with chaos.... All of the goods were safee and sound! There mostly trinkets and random carved wood and varrious other brick a brack on sale. I managed to get some tiger balm that I had been looking to buy for the last 3 months. Candy was eyeing up some bags but decided not to buy them. I looked at a straw shoe at one point, Thee seller saw me and offered me a price of 600 to buy them. I really had no interest in them as I didn't really want those starw burns that you get but the guy ws very prsistent and went down to 250 Baht before I told him to stop as I was about to jump ointo the boat.
Anyone for a boatride?
Wow, that boat looks like it's about to collapse with the amount of stuff in it
The straw shoe. It actually looks nice but my hobby of buying shoes every week has to terminate at some point!
There was a lot of spices that could bee bought here!
Not much room to move in this market!!
Woman selling her wares by the edge of the river
The trip on the boat lasted around an hour so we had a bit of spr time to grab a quick meal and then head back to the bus.
A traditonal floating village meal
We had some spare time and as I was so impressed by the malls bfore, we headed down to the discovery mall to check out a few hings on offer (and look at some bright shiny things (a.k.a : Lights))
Back in the mall again .This is a dancing man surrounded by flashing lights
The colours have changed!
I mentioned to Candy that I wouldn't mind giving the ice skating a go as I had never tried it before. I am not sure exactly why I had never tried it before but I though it might be good fun to see if my ice skating skilled 'matched' my skiing 'skills' that I had acquired a few years ago...(note: have to brush up\attain some skiing skills at some point). Most of the 45 minutes on the rink consisted of me holding on to the outer rail and stopping myself from falling which is actually a bad thing as the only way to learn is too fall! At the end , I was nearly ble to skate for about 10 seconds without falling over and slicing somebody in 2 with the skates. There was a kid who was pracrising with her teacher in the middle of the ice and I was scared sh1tless that I would run into her but thankfully nobody was hurt during my time on the ice. This is one sport I would like to try again!
Scene of the crime, this rink can be found at level 7 of the Siam Discovery building
If you have time and are visiting Bangkok, come here bewteen 7.30 nd 9pm as there are hardly any patrons here and it's good fun once you (and by you, I mean me!) stop hugging the rails.
I really don't know where to start with this picture!
There is a design in this picture but the flash kind of ruined one side of it. Dang
Flower, Flowr on the wall.
Tell me , is that an eye amongst your buds?
Either Candy has shrunk herself to a teeny size or that's an outsized Chair.
The formr story sounds cooler so I'll stick with that one!
The perennial favourite, a group of fish who are willing to eat the skin off your toes
I had never seen cats looking for money before.
Those Siamese cats really are special creatures!
The cats should have visited this aquarium situated in the middle of the mall. Then they could eat all the fish they could pick up and eat!
These aree the finest handbags in the world apparently.
Personally, I think Tesco's make some might bags!
In fairness, they do have a cool design
They were designed by this dude
At first nothing seems to be happening here...then (wait for it!)
Whoosh! Water coming out from the ground!
By The Way , In case you are wondering , I am NOT sponsored by red bull
Argh! The figurine is trying to eat me!
The River Kwai Tour:
I am assuming most of you guys know about the bridge on the river Kwai. During world war 2. The Japanese got a load of p.o.w's to build a bridge over the river kwai (in Kanchanaburi) to access Burma. Thousands of people died while creating the bridge. The original wooden bridge is long gone but another bride was build 100 meters from the original bridge and thats what you see in Kanchanaburi. As you enter the town, there is a cemetary in which many of the accounted for soldiers are buried.
Rows arn rows of dead P.O.Ws from world war 2.
one of the soldiers layed to rest here
A train used at the time (with a used car in one of the carriages)
Not sure what the significance of having a Tiger near the river is... Maybe to guard the bridge
I wonder why there is a 'Clean ' toilet.
I thought all toilets were meant to be clean!
The next thing you know, they'll have a picture of a man peeing
Sounds like a superhero to me!
Toilet man saves the day from dirty toilets!!!
Destination , in front of us...
well, in front of the sign
The bridge itself (with a big buddha in the background)
View from inside the bridge
Better view of the Buddha beside the bridge
Starting point of the Death Journey
There is not much here , only vegetation and the train tracks
View from the train
The fields around Kanchanaburi contain all sorts of crops
Not a 1/8th of an acre wasted
Wow, you can't see the ground with all he crops!
Mickeal from Quebec
cool view from the train
wonder if there's a mosquito problem here
I had forgotten the big deal about getting on that train. The journey itself took 5 stops to complete and when we jumped on , the tour guide seemed to run off in another direction . Chaos ensued on the train for a while until normality reigned again! Candy and I started chatting away to Mickael (A Quebecois who we had met at the first train stop. He was on the last leg of his travels having been to quite a few places.) After all the photos had been taken , everybody jumped off the train at the one stop. When I mean everybody, I think everybody jumped off but I could not be sure as there were some confused looking people there. It looked like we were left stranded in the middle of nowhere!
Standing on a window seat , putting the camera as far out the window as possible to get a good view of the river below... (Of course, that's not true - I took the shot from a comfortable seat on the train)
This is a picture of a hand surrounded by trees
Looks a bit like of pic of those Vietnam vet films that were popular in the late 80's
After the train journey has ended. The train pulls away leaving us at (what seems to be) a forest
Saiyok Nai waterfall:
The trip around the river Kwai (as you can see from the photos) was pretty special. In its own way, the trip to the waterfall afterwards was 'special' too. I have been to quite a few waterfalls over the past 3 months and this was probably the worst of them as it just seemed a bit man made and there wasn't really an area where you could swim....In saying that, if you walked behind the waterfall , you could see a few Buddhas in a cave and then more rich agricutural land. These sights were miles better than the actual waterfall!
Saiyok Nai Waterfall
out behind the waterfall
Buddhas hidden away in a cave close to the waterfall
There must be an unbelievable amount of Buddhas to be found in Thailand
Some people say the road leading to a mountain is paved with gold
I never tested this theory out
nice pic (look, I didn't know what to write here!)
Good contrast in colours here
Back to corn again
Red Bull did not give me wings
even if it looks like I am hiding them in this pic
The influence of the Quebecqois!
After exploring the watrfall and its surrounding visage, Candy and I headed back to the bus. We bumped into Mickael and he mentioned some local place in Bangkok which served traditional queec Poutine...Nice, As you can probably guess, I wanted to ty this out so we all met up later that evening for a spot of food. (Once we were able to get back to Bangkok. The bus broke down on the way home so an emergency bus had to be called for! This happened with the few methods of transport that I used in Thailand. It was fine though as I was in no rush but it sdoes look like any vehicle hat is used in Thailand is used to its limit and then some before it goes for a service!)
After we all got our barings in Bangkok, we headed off to 'Bruno Blanchets' famous Poutine shop in Bangkok. Mr Blanchet was a 40-50 something famous Quebecois comedian on one of the local stations before he decided to pack his bags and move lock, stock and a few smoking ovens to Bangkok to run a restaurant with his wife. Now, I could not tell who the guy was from Adam but Mickael was excited to see if he could meet Bruno.... Unfortunately, Bruno made a no show this evening but his wife was there working away.
Oh Yeah, By the way, Poutine is chips and cheese mixed with gravy (and you pay extra for bacon bits and other brick a brac)
Not sure what Souvlaki is though
When in Thailand , do as the Thai's do
Eat traditional french Canadian food!
It's good stuff on a warm day
I'd say it's really nice on a cold winters day in Montreal!
The poutine was nice but Mickael mentioned that they served toasted bread with butter with sugar on the streets. I had to find this place as I had not tried bread in quite a while. So, I bumped into Mickael the next day (Candy had moved to pastures new. Cambodia was her destination of choice. I must go there myself at some stage.) and we headed off to find Lumpini park (with a uick stop in China town on the way.)
They cut it into little slices and you eat it with a toothpic.
doesn't sound tempting but in reality, it's good stuff!
A view of Chinatown within Bangkok
I badly need to buy some shoes from here.
mine are not so freshy at the moment
Chinatown was cool but I wanted to see how chilled out Lupini park was. Normally, in chilled out areas, you always seem to see a water feature wth fish and this place was no different.
An Alligator saw us and wanted to greet us personally.
(or he wanted to eat us.I am not sure)
I told one joke and this was his reaction
(Damn Alligators, You can never please them!)
Of course, there are always sculptures to be found in parks. This next onewas quite unique.
sculpture of man and woman posing
clothes not included (presumeably ,it costs to much money to sculp clothes on the sculpture)
This is the 'We are the winners' sculpture
Bangkok on a busy day
Trafficmoving as quickly as usual.
(This was a Friday)
These are eggs wrapped and fried (nice)
But these wrapped sausages are nicer.
I have got to stop going to the markets for food!
This is a pic of the two tiered train system here
It was nice to hang around Bangkok with some cool people....but it was time to move on... During my stay here , we ended up watching some of the olympics (We saw a Thai boxer lose in his final to a chinese guy followed byJohn Joe Nevins fight.)
I got my jeans fixed up as the...ahem....crotch of the jeans was worn out. I am glad the woman fixed them as I think I would struggle to find jeans in my size over here!
I will not forgot the tuktuk drivers and their ability to make up anything on the spot (queens birthday, cheap tuktuk,tour of big temple (before taking you to a clothes shop and a jewelry shop)) .
I will not forgot my 'attempt' at skating. If you are reading this Candy, I'd b grateful if you could stop laughing now!
The trips to the River Kwai memorial and just hanging out around Siam paragon and Siam Discovery was nice. I went to the cinema here also (something I had not done for quite a while). They have a IMAX here.
Actually, they have a deal where you caan go to Madam Tussauds and The aquarium for a cheaper price than the 2 places seperately but Ihad already seen enough aquariums.
As regards going to Chiang Mai, I left it pretty late to get a bus .I went to the travel agent on the morning of the departure and he told me that there was no way that I could ordera bus ticket to c.m at that late stage so he recommended getting the night train (which took 12 hours). I thought 'why not' so at 9pm, I grabbed a taxi to get to the station and I was on my way.
To be honest, I am looking forward to Chiang Mai as I hear it's fairly different to Bangkok and in general , the smalller towns in every country tend to have more heart and soul in them than the big cities.
At 9.45 I jumped on the train .For some unknown reason , all The seats were ointing in the wrong direction, so everybody had to swivel tehm to point 180 degrees from their starting point! Once that was sorted , we were on our way...slowly.
People patiently awaiting their trains
(The floors are cleaner than the floors at Heuston station )
My home for the next 20 hours