Birthday in Bangkok

Trip Start Aug 14, 2012
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15
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Trip End Ongoing

Flag of Thailand  , Trat,
Saturday, October 6, 2012

After a seven hour door to door journey from Koh Chang via taxi, ferry and minibus, we checked in to a clean, quiet guesthouse adjacent to Khao San Road. On our first evening we went for dinner and then had a reconnoiter down Khao San Road. It was hectic, busy, bright, smelly, but we liked it all the same probably because we had seen and smelt a million times worse in India!

The next day we went sightseeing to Chinatown where there is a temple (Wat Traimit) which contains a 3 metre tall, 5.5 tonne solid gold Buddha. It was an impressive sight, even in the land of a million Buddhas!  We headed to the main pier and had a mooch around the very expensive but half empty shopping mall (the air con was amazing). We then caught the express ferry up to Wat Arun, which we climbed. The views were awesome but Shane's fear of heights got the better of him! Our last Wat for the day was Wat Pho: the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok. Having read the guide book, Shane thought the reclining Buddha (46 metres long and 15 metres high) would be a cheap and nasty mechanical device that literally sat up and down! He was wrong.

Our third day was our Christmas shopping day, which was quite a feat. The next day Shane turned old (according to Kate) at 29 years - Happy Birthday! He was fortunate enough to do his favourite pastime and finish his Christmas shopping and then get it posted off. After this his brilliant girlfriend bought him a couple of cocktails before his birthday surprise, which was an evening dinner river cruise up the Nam Chao Phraya in Bangkok. It was an excellent and imaginative birthday present, and the city high rise and temples looked even better lit up at night.

The next day we walked around to kill some time until 6:30pm when we left to catch our night train to Laos. Although the train left an hour late, we felt like we were travelling in luxury (compared to India anyway - if you hadn't guessed already, Kate was not a fan of India!).  We had our own seats, the train attendant made up our beds with clean sheets, a blanket, a curtain and even a pillow. There was also soap in the train sinks! We woke up and got off the train an hour later. We shared a tuk-tuk from the station to the Thai - Laos border, where we got stamped out of Thailand and got on a bus for the ten minute ride over the Thai - Laos Friendship bridge. We got off the bus and paid $35 each for our visas and got an uncomfortable shared tuk-tuk for the forty minute ride to Vientiane, Laos.
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