the golden buddas

What to See in Bangkok and the Remarkable North?

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My first adventure in Thailand was starting in Bangkok and travelling North. The second part was exploring the Islands in the South of Thailand. The north is different from the south. Well… for one we didn’t see a beach. However, it was still so beautiful.

Exploring Bangkok By Day and Night

Once refreshed from the flight we started the next adventure with a cruise on down the river. now, we were hitting the heat in Asia whereas India was slightly cooler. I didn’t mind I loved the heat. Also, here you can wear shorts!

A building at The Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand
The Grand Palace

Our first stop was the grand palace and with all our hast for adventure, we forgot appropriate clothing. Luckily here they have spares that you can borrow. Looking like I was in a school uniform we explored the grounds. Looking like a schoolgirl didn’t stop people from wanting our pictures, just like in India. We happily obliged. It did us no harm. Yet, made them so happy.

The Grand Palace was home to the Emerald Buddha. The architecture was insane. Every bit was covered in coloured tiles or stones. The time and patience that has gone into making the temple were astounding. This place left an impression. My first Asian temple. And what a treat it was.

Walking Along the Bangkok Riverbank…

The Gold Reclining Buddha  at the  Wat Po Temple in Bangkok, Thailand
The Reclining Buddha, Wat Po

We came across a massive flower market in Bangkok. The flowers smelt amazing as we made our way past. Also, a fish market… the smell did not the same effect as the flowers! And a normal market. I had never really been to markets before Asia. Let’s say I miss them. The bartering of the price. The wonderful colours and smells throughout.

Finally, we made it to our next Bangkok temple. Wat Po. The home of the only reclining Buddha. All gold and laying across a whopping 42 metres and 15 metres in height. This was cool to see. To learn about their history and religion from both temples was a great start.

What night entertainment is there in Bangkok?

You have the famous Bangkok road; Koh Son Road. Famous for partying and buckets of alcohol. Cheap street food is just like everywhere. This was my first experience with Thai food. I had been really missing out on amazing flavours. Everything was tasty. No complaints. Pad Thai is still my favourite to this day. Also, I love using chopsticks.

The other must-do when speaking with people is the famous ‘Ping Pong Show’ when in Bangkok. So, diving into the culture we did that. However, I would say if you want to experience this, pick a mid-range priced show. Ours cost us 150, a beer. It was okay. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I found it disgusting. Never again. Once is enough just to say you ticked it off.

Heading up to the North of Thailand

Riding the Death Railway train along the River in North Thailand
The View From the Train Carriage, Death Railway

As we caught buses North our first stop was Nom Tok Train Station. We only got here after our taxi driver took us to the wrong place. He took us to a train station instead of the river. For, Nom Tok station we needed to cross the river. It was early before 6 am. I was tired. Luckily, we left a lot of time and didn’t miss the boat. As well as driving us to where we didn’t want to go. He tried to say I gave him the wrong money. We agreed on a price upfront. I gave him that. Another scam. This time it didn’t work. I just left the taxi.

A Ride Along The Death Railway

Me playing Dobble with local school children on the Death Railway train in Thailand
Playing with Local Children

I really wanted to ride this train there and back. Just because. It was built in World War 2 and at the time we rode it. No work had ever been carried out. Hence its name. The Death Railway (Burma Railway).

Also, it runs alongside a cliff with only sleepers drilled into the cliff with no vertical support at one point. It was meant to take 5 hours but took 8. 5 on the way back. The scenery was beautiful. On the way back a group of school children were on the train. My friend and I were playing ‘dobble’… a snap game.

The school kids joined in. This is why I wanted to travel to mix with people from all over the world. Experience what they experience. This is one of my favourite times. Irrigating with the locals.

Next on Our Adventure North…

We visited a less popular touristy place. Erawan National Park. this beautiful bit of nature was incredible. A seven-level waterfall. Truly amazing at each level. We set off slowly climbing making our way past each stage. Barefoot. I love being barefoot and as it was mainly mud underfoot it was possible. It was a tough hike in the heat. We pushed on to level seven. A place we ate lunch and had a swim.

One of the seven waterfalls at Eaewan National Park just north of Bangkok in Thailand
A Waterfall Stage at Erawan

You did have to keep moving as those fish that eat your skin call this level home. After some time relaxing and recovering, we then made our way back. Stopping by a couple more levels for a swim. Level 4 was fun. One of the rocks covered in algae acts as a natural slide and with the water deep enough we slid in. it was quick but so much fun!

This place was truly magnificent and picturesque, I would recommend stopping by.

Exploring Ancient Ruins in Sukhothai

Sukhothai Ruins Historical Park in the North of Bangkok, Thailand
Free Sukhothai Ruins

This town broke up the bus journeys. We spent a day exploring the ruins. We rented our first scooter and drove around to find the ruins that weren’t in the historical park. There are plenty you can find for free. Our first time on scooters was going great until we stopped. I was still sitting on the bike after about 5 minutes I fancied some water. Yep. You guessed it. The bike fell on my ankle. Luckily, I got away with a cut. Remember to be careful and take it easy on the roads. All in all, a fun day exploring.

The Popular Chaing Mai

Arranging late at night with nowhere booked never had been a problem until we hit Chaing Mai. The only place in Thailand not to have 24-hour reception. We wandered the streets for hours. Yes. All our belongings. Then we found a place that would take us. ‘The White Horse’. We had planned to arrive in light, however, like every it of transport in Asia, we were delayed for whatever reason. You just roll with it.

Me and a random waterfall in Pai in the north of Thailand
A Stop by a Waterfall

After, minimal sleep, my friend set off to find a cheaper place. We were lucky to get the last bed in a place closer to everything. This is one town where booking accommodation in advance is a must. Perfect. All moved in we explored.

The markets here were insane. They were massive. New flip-flops check. Bartered to the correct exchange. Oooo… very nice rings. We bartered. The woman was happy. We were thinking… why they cost us £5 for two. Turns out were worked out the cost on the wrong exchange. We switched back to the Indian currency rate. Silly mistake. I guess a few travellers may be able to relate to this. Still cheaper than home though.

Choosing the Right Elephants…

We didn’t. we made a mistake. So, when doing a very popular tourist attraction make sure you research the company more. Something we failed to do. Pick a good place. A good place will not let you ride them along with other things. Please, learn from my mistake and many others before me. I wish I knew what I know no back then.  

The Last Stop in Thailand…

The Pai Canyon rim surrounded by trees in North Thailand
A View in Pai

Pai. A relaxing, chilled place. We stayed at a hippie hostel. These were bamboo huts in a field with a restaurant and a swimming pool. A great place with night entertainment. Our second scooter of the trip. Again, please be careful as we drove around visiting sites, we noticed our brakes weren’t as sharp as they should be. We took it easy and slowed on our approach.

It is worth getting a scooter to see the spread-out sites. The first stop is a Pom Bok waterfall. Beautiful. Another stop was a canyon. I had to hold my breath as I approached the thin strip joining two mountain tops together. My fear of heights got the better of me. Plus, it is so thin it was dangerous too.

A fun day exploring! Pai, I would definitely recommend it.

People travel to Thailand for the Islands but sometimes forget the North. I liked both as they were both so different from one another.

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