Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Thailand - Day 21 - Bangkok

Day 21

Our last day in Thailand. We didn't get much of an opportunity to explore Bangkok so we decided we'd take the few hours this morning to have a look around and do some shopping. We found some cool graffiti.

An excellent example of Thai wiring. This is actually fairly tidy.

A minute after we took this last photo the security guard came over to talk to us. All of the guides and everything say not to let people come up to you and try to get you to go places and buy things. We didn't really follow that rule very well. He was telling us about what we thought was a market and he drew us a little map of how to get there, but then his wife, who doesn't speak English, came up to us and next thing we know we are follow this Thai lady through the streets of Bangkok. We were walking and weren't asked for any money so we followed but were a bit cautious. Before we knew it we were at this massive jewelry store. She left us out the front and it was only just down the street from our hotel. We went in and the took us on a little tour and we picked up a few souvenirs then headed back to our hotel. We may have mentioned this already, but our hotel is connected to the MBK centre. A massive shopping centre. We spent the next few hours bargaining. Then it was time to pack up and leave. We made our way to the airport for our long flight home.

We got in around 7.00 this morning and didn't sleep on the plane so today and yesterday are kinda the same day. We are both very tired, so I'm sorry if this post is a little off.

Stay tuned, we have one more post planned.

Night all,

- Kristen

Monday, 28 October 2013

Thailand - Day 19 + 20 - Bangkok

Day 19

So day 19 we had to get up at 6 for breakfast and to catch our bus to Ayutthaya.

We met up with our tour group and were on our way, first stop Bing Pa-In Palace. This place is huge, we didn't have enough time to see everything, but here are the things we did see.

Doll's Bridge
Phra Thinang Aisawan Thiphya-Art
Phra Thinang Warophat Phiman
Tevaraj-Kanalai Gate
Sakornprapaht Gate
Phra Thinang Uthayan Phumisthian
Ho Withun Thasana
Phra Thinanh Wehart Chamrun

Like I said before, this place is big! I think around 50 acres. It is the best maintained place we have seen in Thailand so far. Everything is immaculate!

Anyway, we left the summer palace and made our way to Wat Maha That. This temple is famous because its pagoda once contained a relic of the lord Buddha. This is the biggest temple we've seen so far, lots and lots of pagodas, however most of the images of Buddha were destroyed during a conflict with Burma (we think). This place is ancient, it is over 600 years old and Kristen was is awe of the ruins.

The Buddha Tree

Think we found 2 intact Buddhas, this is one of them. 

The main pagoda. Previously full of treasures!

2nd Buddha

Next we were off to yet another temple. Wat Na Phra Mane

This green stone buddha is more than 1000 years old.

Then back onto the bus to another temple, Wat Lokayasutharam, home of the 3rd largest reclining Buddha in Thailand (maybe world?).

The bus then dropped us off at a dock to board a boat back to Bangkok. Traveling down the filthiest river I have ever seen took a long time. We saw some cool stuff... a lot more boring stuff. We finally arrived back at our hotel and had a meeting with our Destination Asia rep to book activities for the next day. We bought up the subject of Muay Thai and before we knew it we were in car on our way to the boxing stadium, for what we though was going to be awesome kick boxing...

In reality, most of the fighters were kids or high school students. The 2 fights we found the most brutal were between kids that looked like they were about 8-12. Both of these fights had to be stopped due to 1 fighter being unable to continue.

After a few hours we got to the "Main Event" with a couple of fighters from France. We thought this fight was going to be great. It was over in the first round! You can see in the photos below, the fighter in red slips and cops a kick to the nose, breaking it. The fight was stopped.

Then we were back to more school yard fights.

The kids fighting below we think were about 9 years old.

After all of the fights were over, we left our ring side seats and headed back to the hotel. It was pretty late by then so we just wanted to crawl into bed.

Day 20

After being up late watching Muay Thai the night before we were once again up at 6 this time off to the River Kwai. 2 hours away...

Our first stop was the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. Bodies of POW's were moved from camp graveyards to this cemetery after the war.

Then to the railway museum next door (no photos allowed)

Then we were off to the river and the famous bridge.

The rounded metal sections are part of the original bridge from WWII. The squarish sections in the middle are repairs made after the bridge was damaged by Allied bombing. The bridge is still used, but that doesn't stop everyone from walking across the thing when the trains aren't around :P

A Japanese Truck converted to run on the tracks.

2 of the original trains that ran on the line.

After this we were supposed to catch the train to the point were the track ends, however the train had broken down in Bangkok, and wasn't expected for another 4 hours. So we drove to the next destination.

The museum only really has 1 exhibit which is the cutting itself.

Original sleepers from the rail line.

Hellfire Pass was the largest rock cutting along the railway line, and was made using very crude hand tools.

After Hellfire Pass we were taken to another part of the line. The cave below was used as a camp during the war, and due the massive loss of life the locals moved the image of Buddha here as a sign of respect.

View from the cave.

This was our last stop for the tour. So we jumped back into our van for what was supposed to be the 3 hour drive back to Bangkok. It probably would have been 3 hours, if our driver hadn't gotten lost in Bangkok for about an hour. 

Anyway, we've been keeping very busy our last few days in Thailand, hence the double blog update tonight. We fly home tomorrow, any last minute requests from MBK, make them now :P

Next update will be when were finally home :)