Thursday, January 29, 2009

Week One

Wat at Grand Palace                Reclining Buddha

After One week

Brenda and I have been learning the ropes for the last week, finding out how the people react to travelers. We have discovered scammers and honest folks, with the most congenial folks in rural areas and outside Bangkok.

Bangkok is a fantastic city, jammed and unplanned, with massive traffic jams and miles of streets lined with street sellers selling EVERYTHING!
Found the skytrain and the river ferry to be the best way to get around, so we took them several times to explore the complex of temples along the river. Can't describe it except to say that the wats (temples) are one of the most astounding things we have ever seen. The forty metere long reclining Buddha in one temple, and the one metre high Emerald Buddha in another, were truly moving. The grounds around the temples are astounding.

Finally out of Bangkok, we took a bus for $4 to Pak Chong and stayed in a nice place with a swimming pool. Next day to Khoa Yai National Park and took a guided walk in the jungle looking for animals. Missed seeing elephants, but saw hornbills, monkeys and gibbons.

Then after a nine hour bus ride, landed in a historic town of Sukhothais and rode bikes (rent $1 a day) through the complex of 800 year old temples, the site of the first Siam empire. 
Buddha is everywhere!

Today we took a guided bike ride through rice, chile, and tobacco fields, and small villages. Great guide and pleasant trip. Also visited the market, with an opportunity to eat BBQ rat. The Brenda refused. The people eat just about everything from pig heads to bugs.

So, everything is cheap. We have been in a place for the last 3 nights for 400 baht or 10 dollars private bath and shower. We have been having meals of about 30 to 60 baht.
35 baht=1$

Weather really warm and toasty, but the fanned rooms keep it comfortable at night.
Off to Chaing Mei and some trekking to hill villages.