Our North Thailand - First Impressions
So we started our travel adventure in Bangkok, Thailand. Which was very different to how we expected. We thought it would be quite laid back which a lot of interesting things to do and things to see. The city itself was really cool. Some of the buildings were absolutely massive and its home to our favourite thing ever… The Unicorn Cafe.
Something we found out for ourselves when we got there is that it really stinks. Sewage/food/pollution/fumes all mixed together. It's not the best. Also, Bangkok is very touristy as you can imagine so some of the Thais are quite pushy with you to buy stuff or to go to a ping pong show.
We had heard before that if you do want to see a show (just for the giggles) make sure you make it clear that you will buy one drink and then leave, or agree on a price before you enter. We went to a place called 'Queens II’ and agreed before entering that we will pay for 1 drink. Firstly the show wasn’t even a show. We barely stayed for 1 drink and went to leave. They actually stopped us from leaving and tried charging us 6000THB. They tried to charge us 1000THB for a drink each and 1000THB for the show. The Thai lady was getting soo angry at us and punched the side and basically searched us for money (luckily between us and our friend we only had 200THB so we gave them that and left rather swiftly.)
We didn’t let that experience ruin our time in Bangkok so made sure we made the most of our time there. Bangkok has some really cool temples and markets, so we made sure we went to a few of each. Patpong market was pretty good, full of fake stuff and other unique bits and bobs. We have been getting lost everywhere we have gone so far (the best way to explore). Sam helped some local soldiers cook which was amazing to watch. We went to the ‘Red Sky Bar’ which is the highest sky bar in Thailand & also the bar used for the filming of ’The Hangover 2' - the views were amazing, and we had the pleasure of going there with our friends sister, Natasha - who also showed us around Bangkok for the night which was awesome! There is a massive shopping mall in Bangkok called MBK which is huge and has literally anything and everything you could possibly want. We also had the pleasure of meeting up with a school friend who I hadn’t seen for 4 years, so that was lovely & we went for a Mexican in MBK which was just delish. There are animal cafès throughout Bangkok too where you can go for a coffee and play with fox’s and different types of cats etc, which was really sweet, some of the animals in there are just soo cute.
It's really easy to get around Bangkok, you have the BTS which is the sky train, water taxis which are cheap and cheerful, normal taxis that use a meter, motorbike taxis, and tuk-tuks (which will always try to rip you off so be clear with prices before you enter). At the end of our stay in Bangkok, we got the 14-hour sleeper train to Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai is basically a very chilled version of Bangkok. People don’t seem to hassle you as much and everything is just good vibes (defiantly up there in our favorite destinations). Here we did the Elephant sanctuary, Jungle trek, and drunk plenty of Chang in Zoeys (Zoey in Yellow). There are a few temples in Chiang Mai which are really cool. We hired mopeds and drove up a mountain to see one which was top-notch. (By this point though we had seen a lot of temples already, so we were pretty templed out, the peds were fun though). The Sunday market in Chiang Mai is the nuts! There is soo much there and is by far the best market we have been to. The Saturday market is wicked too and is probably as big as the Sunday market.
After staying in Chiang Mai for an accidental 7 nights, we got a minibus to Pai. The journey to Pai consisted of 762 bends in the road - so even if you don’t get travel sick, you are likely to feel a little bit funny after the 700th bend.
Pai was absolutely beautiful, our number 1 favourite place in northern Thailand. But annoyingly, Lozza had food poisoning for most of the time we were there. So doing things were limited. But we still managed to see Lodd Cave, which is a huge cave in the water and spent a few days at different waterfalls which were just spectacular to visit as well.
We took it upon ourselves to get a bamboo tattoo when we were there (which hurt, a lot). We both got Sak Yant tattoos, which is believed in Buddhism to give you magical strength, keep you safe and to keep you loved.
After 5 nights in Pai, we got the minibus back to Chiang Mai where we stayed for 1 night before getting the 3-hour bus to Chaing Rai.
In our opinion, Chiang Rai is good for one thing… The temples. It is home to the White Temple, the Black House, and the Blue temple. I can’t describe the beauty of these temples, so here are a few pics for you to see for yourselves…
They also have a tea plantation which we hadn't seen before so this was really interesting. (The tea wasn’t that tasty but it was really nice to have a drink whilst looking at the beautiful view of the tea fields.)
After 2 nights in Chiang Rai, we got a bus to Chiang Kong for a night and jumped on the slow boat to Laos.
There are a few things that no one told us about Thailand which really stuck out for us…
1 - The butterflies are soo beautiful. The most beautiful and biggest butterflies, we have ever seen.
2 - Bangkok smells really bad and is quite polluted.
3 - You can buy skin whitening products in most of the shops. (Apparently being whiter is a thing in Thailand)
4 - The police will fine you for absolutely anything and will keep the money for themselves. Literally anything.
5 - You can go to 7/11 which is like a Tesco in Thailand and buy a cheese sandwich and they will toast it for you at no extra cost!! LIFE=MADE.
6 - Temples are everywhere. They are beautiful but there is soo many of them you don’t really know what to do with yourself when you have seen 20+ already.
7 - There are only a few Lady Boys that you can actually tell are a Male. Most of them are soo stunning and tiny you can’t even tell.
8 - When you order food in a restaurant with someone else, the food never comes out at the same time. Even if you order a starter and a main, it's likely you’ll get one of the mains first then possibly a starter followed by the other person's food.
9 - Backpackers have given a lot of travellers a bad name, so some areas in Thailand you don’t feel as welcome as others.
10 - There are no bins anywhere! It's really hard to find a bin in Thailand. But also there isn’t that much litter around either. Where does it all go?
All in all, we have really enjoyed our first month travelling Thailand. It is full of beauty and quirkiness and we can’t wait to travel the south in December where we will be meeting up with 3 lots of friends.
Now on to Laos!
Thanks for reading!
Pair of Plodders