Bangkok Travel Blog› entry 2 of 4 › view all entries
May 10th, 2006 – by: sheena_marie
I don't know what it is with me and international airports, but I got lost in this one as well. I was trying to find the baggage claim and just couldn't find it. I finally figured out that I had to go through customs BEFORE I picked up my bag. Once I picked up my bag I changed my money (Thailand's money is really confusing. It's different colours, but they're really pale so they all look the same in most lights. I was constantly giving people 500Baht notes instead of 100Baht notes). After that I went outside and found the airport bus. 100Baht got me right near where i wanted to go for my hostel.
Of course, I got off one stop too late didn't I. I, ummm..., realised after the stop that it was mine. Got off at the next stop and walked back.
I shouldn't've worried about there not being enough beds at the hostel, there were heaps of beds free! I nearly ended up with a 6 bed dorm all to myself (a girl came in at about 2amish and woke me up). I slept well enough, though I've decided that I don't like sleeping at hostels. Every time I was almost asleep somebody'd come into the room so I didn't get much sleep while I was there.
It was a nice hostel though, I got to have an Aussie beer (VB), something I hadn't had in about 10-11 months. I think the night check in guy, Rudy, was a sweetheart. He kept doing things for me that he didn't have to. I think he was flirting with me.
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May 10th, 2006 – by: sheena_marie
5am and it was time for me to get up. I didn't feel bad about my alarm clock going off 'cause those girls had woken me up quite a lot the previous night. It didn't take me long to get everything packed up and hauled down the stairs (steep stairs I might add).
I got some breakfast while I was at the hostel, cornflakes, and Rudy put on some banana's for me as well (which he didn't have to do). By about 6:30 I was out of the hostel and heading for the sky train station. I was going to get the skytrain to the end of hte line and then get a ferry across ot the Thonburi trainstation... in theory, that's what I was going ot do.
In practice I got on the skytrain no problems at all. It was when I tried to catch the ferry that I hit problems.I hopped on what I thought was the ferry and got very confused when it went straight back to the same terminal it had just left. I spent ten minutes trying to find the right ferry and gave up. I was going to get a taxi to the station instead.
It wasn't that hard to get a taxi and he actually spoke quite good english. He decided (after he'd figured out what Thonburi train station was... Bangkok Noi) that it was his role in life to drill me on how to say Bangkok Noi and Kanchanaburi the Thai way. I felt really bad lying to him (He asked me if I was travelling alone. I lied and said I was meeting friends at the trainstation), but I didn't think it was a good idea to broadcast to the world that I was travelling alone.
As we got to the station and he was pulling my port out for me He goes to me "Now, you say to them KanchanaBURI and they will give you a ticket to there".He was rather sweet.
I had to wait half an hour for the train (it was leaving later than the lonely planet said it was) and this old thai lady must've taken pity on the confused looking foreigner. She took my ticket out of my hands, looked at it, and then dragged me towards the right train. Put me on it and then waved goodbye.
She wasn't even catching my train.
The train trip was long and boring. there isn't really much to report about it, except that it was another 3rd class train... enough said.
Kanchanaburi was not what I was expecting. It reminded me of, of all places, redcliffe, except there was no seaside. I managed to find my guesthouse no worries at all (though I did get stalked by this pedicab driver who was trying to tell me this sob story to get me on his contraption).
They'd got my email reservation the night before and they had a room ready for me. The bed was HUGE!!! and the bathroom was a normal bathroom.. it was just missing this one wall. In the wall's place was a garden I could've walked naked out into (and nearly did the next evening during a storm).
They gave me a brochure on the tour group that was attached to their guesthouse listing all the tours that they had going. I wanted to do a little shopping around before I decided which ones I wanted to do so, out I went into the midday heat. First thing I did was grab a brochure for every tour agency on the main drag and head back ot my room. In airconditioned comfort I checked out what was on offer. I picked out the twilight elephant trek for that evening from the tourgroup being used by my guesthouse, and an Erawan falls, Hellfire pass, Krasae cave, and Death railway tour for the next day.
next step was to change some money. I grabbed my money and headed down to one of the tour groups (the one I wanted to go through the next day) to ask where the nearest exchange was. She told me and the called over a taxi for me to take me there and back for 40 baht.
Oh, it was a motorbike taxi.
I like motorbike taxi's I've decided. They're fun!
Money changed I headed back to pay for the tour that night. THEN I went and paid for the tour for the next morning. I still had some time to kill so I went for some lunch at a little Thai restaurant across from my guesthouse. The food was amazing and cheap too. Then I wandered for a while and walked into the Death Railway mueseum ot have a look around.
By the time I'd finished there it was time for me to head bakc and get ready for my elephant trek. I got back, changed clothes to togs, boardies and a tshirt over it and then went to wait outside for the minivan to pick me up.
As per normal for traveling long distances in Thailand with me I fell asleep in the van and didn't wake up until we got to the elephant sanctury.
While the rest of my group went and did god knows what (they took forever) I got a 20baht bunch of bananas and fed the elephants. I was kind of terrified 'cause they're a lot bigger in real life and up close like that.
I was the first person on the elephants and they gave me the biggest one with massive tusks. I also had an elephant to myself which was kind of cool. Those seats they have you on do not feel in any way secure. I was hanging on for dear life 'cause it felt like it was going to continuously slip off either side of the elephant.
About ten minutes or so into the treck the driver gets up, wanders down the elephants back, sits down next to me, undoes my seat belt, and says "You drive now". He then sho's me to the elephants head. I spent the rest of the trek in the drivers position. Elephant skin feels like 100 year old boot leather and elephant hair ('cause they have a lot of hair behind their ears) is really coarse and scratches. I was the only one of my group that got to 'drive' the elephant.
We went past this small village on our way to the river and my driver calls out to these two small children eating their dinner. The little girl pushes this cloth bag that's hanging from the roof next to her. There was a tiny little baby in there. They were my driver's kids. He was quite proud of that fact that he was 25 years old and had 3 children.
Getting off the elephant was fun. They had this platform 3 to 4 metres off the ground that you stepped off onto. One of the people at the park puts out his hand and bodily drags you onto the platform. He had fun with me 'cause I had to try and get my leg around. I was literally dragged of the elephant.
My legs ached for days afterwards but I'd had a ball. Then we got swarmed by this bunch of kids (I had two grab me by the hand. A little boy, and this tiny little girl reached out and gave me puppy eyes so I took her hand as well) who dragged us down to the river.
We were going to was the elephants. They'd taken all the seats and harnesses off so we were sitting bare back on them walking out to the middle of the river (driver in front). My tour group was a bunch of chickens, they sent me out first LOL.
Washing was a lot of fun. My elephant kept rolling underwater so when he'd come up I kept nearly falling into the river. The only thing that saved me from falling into the river was mine and the driver's reflexes. After I'd given the elephant's head a shampoo he decided (with a small command from the driver I think) to give me a bit of a shower. I have pictures ot prove it.
Once I was back on land I let myself drip dry.
Last event of the evening was a buffet dinner on the river bank. The food was great. Then we were piled back into the minivan and driven back to our guesthouses.
Thursday evening I went and had a massage. I Thai massage. They're really good. Sort of a cross between massage and chiropractics. They use their entire bodies to massage. The lady who was massaging me had herself twisted into a pretzel and was doing weird things that were making my back make cracking noises. Felt really good afterwards, but I had the giggles a couple of times at some of the things she did. I mean she was STANDING on me at one point.
Well, after writing the postcards I fell asleep on the bed. Literally sprawled out across it with the pen still in my hands.