We have arrived in Bangkok and it is mad! The bus journey was pretty bad though, we got in at 5.30am with not a wink of sleep, think the bus driver was aiming for every pot hole on the road!!!
We are staying near to the famous Koh San Road, the original backpacker joint. It's pretty mad, by day its full of taxis and motorbikes and people and by night it becomes pubs, nightclubs and stalls selling anything you want, including tasers which James aptly demonstated on himself and shot across the road!! There are also plenty of food stalls which sell anything edible including cockroaches, crickets and worms!!!!
the first day we wandered around, all be it abit bleary eyed, a couple of shopping malls. We managed to negotiate the water taxis and went down one of the canals that bisects the city. They call it the 2nd venice, we dont think so, its dirty and it smells so bad that even we as seasoned travellers still had to hold our nose!!! Anyway it was still fun!
Yesterday we went on a mini tour by tuk tuk. After speaking to some locals they pointed us in the right direction for points of interest including the massive reclining bhudda, and the standing bhudda, where a local showed us how to pray/meditate infront of it! That was after he told us off for wearing our shoes in the temple, oopppsss!
Today has been awesome. We got a tour and went to a region about 3hrs out of Bangkok, called Karabacci (or sommat like that!) We visited a coconut farm where the extract the oil from the coconut. that was pretty cool, then we went to the floating market. Its a market on the canal, every stall is floating on a little wooden canoe and you have to hire a paddle boat to go round and see the produce, the locals even have hooks so they can hook your boat and pull you over to their stall!! It was jam packed on the canal, boats everywhere, stalls everywhere and even some stalls floating down the middle! The boat was decidedly unstable aswell and the 7 of us in the boat were threatened with capsization quite a few times!
After the market we went to a snake farm where they showed cobras in all their glory. we got to see them milking the poison, then a couple of mad fools diced with their lives and aggrevated the cobras into striking for them and finally we got to see a cobra and a mongoose fight. In the wild the mongoose is immune to the cobras venom and the poor cobra is top of its favourite food list! A cobra was dropped into the tank with the mongoose and all hell broke loose. The cobra was easily overpowered by the mongoose and after only 10secs the cobra was mongoose food! preety amazing to watch, obviously the handlers got the snake out before it was eaten, they dont want to loose all their snakes this way!
next we went to the bridge over the river kwai. We went into the death museum which painted the sad and horrific tale of the 100's of thousands of priosners of war who died while the Japanese built a railway into Burma. It was an eye opener to say the least and a very sombering experiance. We also walked over the bridge and even got to see somebody towing their floating house down the river! They obviously wanted a better river view!!!!
For the last, and definalty the best experiance of the day we went to the tiger temple. This is a monastry whose abbots have been taking in orphaned tiger cubs since the 90's. They are hand reared and are tame enough for the public to stroke them!!! Oh my God it was the best thing ever!! There were about 8 tigers milling around (on chains of course) and it was pretty well organised. Only one person was taken in at a time to each tiger and you could walk around and pose and stroke the tigers while the staff took your photo! Wow some of them, especially the older ones were huge, absolutly massive!! It was a fantastic experiance just to be so close and to touch and stroke them, well what more can I say, words cannot describe it!!! They dont feel as furry as we expected though, more like a dog than a fluffy cat! They did roll around and lick their paws though, just like cats, so cute! One of them put on a show and got a bit restless with his keeper, it did a loud growl and prowled around kind of stalking the crowd, you could definaltly imagine the raw power each cat has in it! Some of the tigers have had cubs and the abbots are trying to rehabilitate them into the wild, we saw alot of deer and goats and things around th park, oh I wonder whats for dinner!!!