So I'm back! Hey Remember me? Sorry I dropped off the face of the earth on here, I did have stuff scheduled to post but it felt weird not being able to keep track of it all. I decided to keep those posts for later in the month! I'm sure a lot of you all excited to here about my trip and I obviously cant wait to share! Sitting down to look at the photos I've taken (over 3000) has made a little emotional. I'm not quite sure how long these series of posts are going to be as some days we did a lot and some days we didn't do too much. I didn't want to bore those who aren't that interested so I'll try not to ramble on!
Travelling didn't really start as smoothly as I hoped. I didn't realise my flight was booked for Saturday and actually thought I was supposed to be leaving on Monday. I woke up to a text on Saturday asking if I was ready to fly... Uhhh no. After re booking my flight and madly packing I finally left the UK at 9pm for an overnight to Bangkok. This was the first time I'd flown alone and I didn't find it all that bad. I was in a bit of a daze from crying about Aerys going missing (she ran away the night before but came back the day after I left) and the blur of packing and leaving my house two days before I thought I was! None the less, I soldiered on and just slept most of the way there!
Arriving in Bangkok at my hotel I met with my Contiki group. We were a mixed bunch of Aussies, Americans, Brits and a Scot. I had my own room as I was the odd person on tour (I joined so last min!) but normally you're paired up with someone else to be your roomie for the trip. While I did like having the room to myself all the time I would have liked to have a buddy! I guess it's just a little reassuring having someone else in the room with you!
Heading down to meet everyone for dinner I felt relaxed and eased in perfectly. I'm a pretty confident person and can talk to anyone but it helps that everyone is is the same boat as you. We had a group of 5 who knew each other and a few others who were paired but I'd say over 3/4's of our group were solo travellers. Instantly we relaxed into being buddies and headed out to experience some Bangkok nightlife. A Pad Thai and a few Singah's later we retired to bed awaiting the first day of tour.
Bangkok is an experience. It's packed full of night markets, massage places and street food. People are peddling their wares constantly and you're never far from a mango smoothie or a piece of meat on a stick. You'll be hounded by ping pong shows and lady boys. But it's all part of the fun! A real Thai massage was about 120 Baht and a real life changing experience. Nothing like any of the massages I've had here! I was twisted and pulled into positions I've never been in before. My back was clicked and chopped and I actually felt like I'd been roughed up after it! None the less it was awesome and I felt soooo much better.
On our first day we headed The Grand Palace and to see the Temple of the Emerald Buddha was hands down one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited. The detail and intricacy of the highly decorated temple blew me away. It'd hard to even capture just how detailed it was. So many stunning colours mixed with gold detailing. We also visited the Emerald Buddha Temple which is one of the holiest sites in the country. It's filled with epic murals, breathtaking architecture and absolutely mind blowing colours. Photos just don't do it justice as it's absolutely incredible.
I wore my temple pants that I bought the night before in a night market. It's funny because Zoe said to me "you've been in Asia for one day and you're already wearing travelling pants, !" I normally wouldn't wear anything like that but a lot of the temples and palaces have a dress code because of the Monks. Eventually I did learn to love elephant pants though and ended buying two more pairs as well as three pairs of shorts. When in Rome!
We went on a boat cruise around the rivers of the city and fed some Koi and see Bangkok from the rivers. Bangkok is often called the Venice of the East due to it's "klongs". It was cool seeing Bangkok from the rivers rather than the streets. You get to really observe how they live rather than in the crazy area just off Koh San Road!
In that same first day we travelled to Chang Mai on an overnight sleeper train. The idea of spending 14 hours on a train did not amuse me but surprisingly it flew past quicker than I'd imagined. It's funny how close you get to people on tour in such a short amount of time. Within 48 hours of meeting these people we were all huddled up on our sleeper train playing snap and Uno.
Sleeping wasn't actually that hard on the train. I did have night terrors which wasn't fun, but I get them quite a lot anyway. I think the stress of flying and meeting all these new people got the better of me. If you are travelling around Thailand then I'd totally suggest going on a sleeper train - I actually quite enjoyed the experience!