This is the beginning of an epic set of blog posts about my incredible Spring Festival trip to Thailand. The week before I left I was super busy packing and marking exams so I’m behind on my planned posts for what life is like in the Shiz but Thailand is a much more exciting thing to write about!
And so begins my 20 hour journey from Shijiazhuang to Bangkok via Beijing and Ningbo (which I’m still not entirely sure where it is other than somewhere in China). The actual flight time was less than 7 hours, but being a last minute cheapskate I had many hours waiting in airports and getting sleeper trains to Beijing. Thankfully I had an e reader full of books, iPod full of music and plenty of people watching opportunities to entertain me, and once I got to Bangkok and finally found the (amazing) hostel, I was greeted by Elijah and Charlotte and a very nice shower!!
After a quick feast of Mexican food and a lovely long sleep, we set out in the morning to explore the Grand Palace, a top sight in Bangkok and where the King chills. Getting there via sky train and ferry, it was soon midday and roasting hot compared to the cold snap I’d experienced in China (a result of which being that I carted my coat all over Thailand). Thailand is a very Buddhist country, and there are dress codes in place when visiting temples and other important sites. With this in mind I wore a high necked dress that went down to my toes and I brought a scarf to cover my shoulders if it was needed. The Grand Palace helpfully has staff stopping you at the entrance and directing you to a place where you can rent clothing to cover up inappropriate areas. After waiting forever for Elijah to rent long trousers, me and Charlotte got stopped at the actual entrance to the palace because if you lifted up the scarf you could see my shoulders. As a result, Charlotte and I rented fabulous shirts to look presentable!
Exploring the palace gave me the chance to experiment with my selfie stick for the first time which was fun. Hanging out in the sun meant my forehead became a lovely shade of red, but on the whole it was a great place to spend a few hours, there’s plenty to see and do and it was a great introduction to Thai culture.
After a much needed ice cream and pad thai, we wandered down to Khao San road and explored the market stalls around there, sticking up on the essentials for our upcoming trip to Koh Lanta. Swim shorts, flip flops and baggy trousers!
That evening me and Charlotte had a girls night involving good food and massages. Turns out im not a huge fan of massages, especially those focused on the back! It was a lot of fun though!
The next day, after a bit of discussion we decided to venture to one of the floating markets. Most are quite a trek away so we went to the nearest one, and with Charlotte’s insane researching skills we headed for a local bus recommended by a random blog. After waiting for roughly an hour and seeing buses go in the opposite direction we started to suspect that something was amiss. Then a helpful man interceded and informed us that the buses did a loop around the building and we needed to cross the road! Now at the right bus stop, it wasn’t long until we were heading off!!
Taling Chan floating market isn’t the biggest, but it has some amazing food! I tried scallops and pork neck for the first time – I’m a huge fan. It was here that I learnt that Thai salad is very different to Western salads, and Thai salad is very spicy! I didn’t make that mistake again! It was really nice to sit on floating platforms eating food that was fresh as could be and cooked by people right next to us or on little boats. Since it took so long for us to figure out the bus we seemed to have missed the main rush of people, and while it was still busy, it wasn’t uncomfortabley rammed.
For our last night in Bangkok we decided to have a few drinks and ended up eating pad Thai on the street and people watching. While it was fun at the time, what was not fun was the amount of bug bites I got, which made my legs look hideous on Koh Lanta!