Bangkok and on to Khao Sok National Park
Mar 28, 2016
|Hoorah! We slept a bit longer than 2 hours before waking up. The "babies" are getting a bit closer to sleeping through the night!
We got up at 6:30 am, took a shower and packed our stuff. We had to sort through what we need for today, tonight on the train and tomorrow and make a small backpack for these days because we will not have access to our big backpacks.
For breakfast we went to a small outdoor cafe - a lot cheaper than the breakfast at the hotel! Brian had scrambled eggs, sausage, ham and bacon with coffe - almost like being at home in a breakfast joint! The home fries were the only thing that was missing. Eke had a big bowl with fresh fruit, muesli and yoghurt - also just like home. Even the green tea tasted like home!
The weather was overcast and we had a few drops of rain. Again the heat is oppressive even at 8 am. At 8:45 am we all walk to the river harbour and embark a long-tail boat - a traditional Thai boat that is very long and narrow and sits very low in the water. We "motor" up the river Chao Phraya, feed a hungry school of big carp fish and then are brought to the temple Wat Pho where we visit the reclining Buddha statue, several very ornate pagodas (where the ashes of several of the very early kings - Ramas - are being kept. It is a beautiful complex of temples and pagodas.
We enter a temple where several monks are teaching in front of a magnificant statue of Buddha. People are sitting on the floor listening to the teachings and the chanting while it is being recorded for tv. Many of the people are dressed in white. Tourists keep walking in (no shoes and shorts allowed and cover the shoulders). They walk along the back of the temple. Many sit down and listen for a while which we did also. It was so peaceful.
By then it was almost noon and we were given a free afternoon. We decided to go back to the hotel, get a bite to eat and rest. We returned to the hotel in a taxi with our tour leader. Others decided to visit the Grand Palace or the the golden Buddha statue. We had lunch at a very small nook; a fresh fruit smoothie and a very western egg, cheese and bacon sandwich for Brian and a bagel with cheese for Eke.
Back at the hotel we laid down on the bed and promptly fell asleep - heat and time difference of 11 hours does that to us! At about 4pm Eke got up and went out to buy some fruit and snacks for the train ride tonight.
At 5:45 we all were ready to be taken by mini van to the train station. It took about 20 minutes. Traffic was very heavy. Bangkok has a population of about 13 million and traffic is creating a big problem. At the train staion people are waiting either sitting on chairs or on the floor. At 7:00 pm we loaded our backpacks onto our shoulders and followed Tony to platform 4 where our train was ready. We left exactly at 7:30 pm - we will spend 12 hours on the train to Surat Tani. The train is divided in open compartments with an aisle through the middle. Each "compartment" exists of two single seats facing each other on either side of the path. The seats are made into bunk beds later. Our group sits close together.
We order some supper that is delivered to our seats. The big backpacks and suitcases are stored in spaces along the path; smaller onesi n a rack above. After our dinner is done, a steward came to make the beds . He has done this many times and does it very efficiently and fast! We also get some curtains so we can make it cozy and private. Eke goes on the top bunk. Then the ritual of brushing teeth, going to the bathroom, sorting what goes up with Eke and what stays down with Brian. Up is where this journal is written right now, sitting crouched because her head is against the ceiling. it is not an easy night. The overhead bright lights stay one all night and shine into Eke's eyes, the blanket is not enough and she is very cold and the diesel fumes are really difficult to deal with. The steward is very nice and gives Eke a second blanket; the only thing that helps with the fumes is to put the blanket over her nose and face. Both of us do not get much sleep and we are very glad that we had our nap in the afternoon.
The first full day of the tour is "in the books".