The flight from Sydney to Bangkok went as planned – fortunately our kamikaze Russian minibus driver wasn’t at the controls. As we learnt afterwards, our flight over the sea between Malaysia and Vietnam was around six hours after the Malaysian Airways flight to Beijing went missing in the same area – not a nice thought. Bangkok airport was bathed in bright smog/haze but the temperature was still a cosy 34o with humidity right up there.
After the rural peace and quiet of New Zealand the Bangkok experience comes as a bit of shock – noisy, not a little bit smelly, crowded as hell and you take your life in your hands whenever you atempt to cross the road. The moped riders are the worst and the safest thing is to expect them to attack you from any direction at any time.
Our itinerary (how to squeeze a quart into a pint pot):
Day Two. Jim Thompson’s House, the MBK and Pantip Malls (dodgy software), Wat Pho, sat on the riverbank to get an evening photo of Wat Arun and then walked down past the Flower Market to get a street meal in Chinatown.
Day Three. Made our way to the central railway station and took the train to Ayutthaya (about 70km north, former capital of Siam until sacked by the Burmese in 1787) and toured the temple ruins by tuk-tuk. Rode an elephant! Excellent day only marred slightly by my new lens deciding to fall apart for no particular reason. The railway system is fascinating – on the way there we went by 2nd Class train (they have different classes of train , not carriages) which cost the princely sum of 345 bhat each (around £7), coming back we travelled 3rd Class (no aircon, but with the windows wide open it was fine) at a cost of 20 bhat (40p) each. Wonderful!
Day Four. Washout – I succumbed to a case of Bangkok Belly and was laid low for much of the day. We managed a short shopping expedition around midday and an evening meal in a Japanese restaurant but for much of the day my attention was elsewhere.