Anna and I left Koh Samui early on Saturday (16-5-2009) morning to fly to Bangkok. The day started well with another ridiculous downpour followed by blistering heat and a gentle flight. Koh Samui airport delivered yet again with free drinks and cake provided at the gate.
We were met in Bangkok airport by Anthony, one of mum’s cousins. He’s been living in Thailand for around 16 years, doing various things but currently retired with his wife and 5 year old daughter. After a spot of lunch we saw Anna off to Kuala Lumpur (and eventually Brisbane) and then headed back to his Condo. We had a quick dip in the rooftop pool/jacuzzi and then headed in to town to have a look at the nightmarket on Pat Pong (which also houses quite a few go go bars) followed by a meal in an “English Pub”. Obviously I had the German sausages with Sauerkraut and mash.
I was woken at 7.30am by Ming jumping on me in bed. I’d forgotten how annoying little kids can be, although in fairness she’s very cute and not exactly a handfull. After a spot of breakfast and a dodgy Pop Idol rip off (Thai people really can’t sing) Anthony drove me over to Khao San road, the touristy part of Bangkok, so that I could check in to the D&D Inn and wait for the other guys to turn up. Once we’d all checked in we headed off to the Golden Mount, yet another temple situated on top of a hill. Quite a nice one in fairness and made all the more bearable by a brilliant view and the clash of thunder and lightning on the horizon. We were also taught a valuable lesson by a “teacher” who, bless him, was near his school despite having the day off. He kindly told us that the temple was shut but that another one was open and he’d gladly get us a tuk tuk for it. Not only that, but he also knew a great place for Thai boxing and a lovely fish restaurant. Having listened to his teaching for a while (I say a while: we knew from the start but the chat was interesting) we decided he was talking bollocks and said no thanks. At which point he practically exploded and called us stupid. I felt it necessary to tell him that “calling people stupid is not nice” to which he then called me a “stupid buffalo”. Fair play.
The night passed fairly uneventfully and we begin the second day with a trip to the grand palace and reclining Buddha. Yet again, we were acosted by various people telling us that these places were shut and that they could take us elsewhere. A particularly amusing girl even kicked pigeons towards us before then trying to sell us seeds to feed them with. Anyway, after a lot of abuse we got in to the grand palace where we were able to rent trousers for free so that we were suitably dressed. I won’t really describe it, suffice to say I took enough photos.
At 6pm we headed over to the Hotel Royal to meet up with our tour group for the Indochina Encompassed trip. A brief meet and greet followed by dinner and drinks began our trip.