Back to Thailand

 January 2011
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We traveled through the countryside on our way back into Thailand passing motorcycles loaded down with bags of ice, baskets of pigs and just plain baskets.  We said goodby to Cambodia as our luggage was loaded into wooden carts and smuggled across the border so we wouldn't have to go through any customs checks and we just walked across.  When the Thailand immigration officer spotted our blue American passports he shouted "Americans, come on over, we love Americans" and waved our group through without a glance.  Of course most of the group wasn't American.

The official GAP tour would end today so a good by dinner was planned at Cabbages and Condoms downtown.  We rode the subway together and had a great dinner at what is still to me a weird idea for a restaurant, but makes for some interesting photos.  There are a few other locations and we had previously stopped at one in Chiang Rai that was not as fancy as this one in Bangkok.

 

      

Since Kate, Wiebke, Doerte, Bill and I would all be staying another day in Bangkok, Lek offered to put together a day trip to Kanchanaburi area in western Thailand.  This would include the Kwai River Bridge, the death railway, the Maeklong train market and Damnoen Saduak floating market.  Sounded great to us.  It would be a full day with some of the nicest people we met.

We stopped and veiwed some salt fields, visited a coconut farm, tried not to get run over by trains at both the fascinating train market and the the Bridge over the River Kwai.  We floated down the river in a canoe through the elaborate floating markets crowded with tourists and locals alike.  We even stopped at the Saiyok Elephant Park so Wiebke and Doerte could experience an elephant ride.  We had coconut juice, coconut candy, dried fish, rice cookies, all different kinds of fruit and candies.  Lek wanted us to try everything.

We got back to Bangkok at sunset and had to say good-bye to Kate as she had a late night flight.

 

         

With one more day in Bangkok we finally got to see the Grand Palace.  At least the grounds and a few of the buildings.  Seems many of the buildings are being remodeled or updated and are not open to the public.  Our ticket to the grand palace included admission to Vinammek the teak palace so we took a cab and a tour.  It was quite a nice tour and a nice surprise as it wasn't on our agenda.  We also meandered over to Chinatown to see the Wat Traimit said to have the largest solid gold Buddha.

Lek treated us and Wiebke and Doerte to dinner at a local restaurant that last night.  It was so nice and everyone was so comfortable that we didn't even think of taking photos.  Back at the hotel Lek pulled a big package of Durian out of her purse and we sat out on the planters in front of the hotel for a bit of durian tasting.  Wiebke's face pretty much sums up the taste of durian...though both Bill and Lek seemed to like it.

We grabbed our luggage from the hotel storage and Lek escorted us to the airport, even staying with us until everyone got through security.

 

          

The trip was amazing and the amount of things we saw and experienced in that one month is mind boggling.  It was a fast paced trip with lots to see and do and totally worth it. 

I hope you found something in long winded write up to encourage you to visit some part of SE Asia.  Don't forget to check out the photo album below for more photos from Thailand.