Yes, you read that correctly. Somehow, sat in the shade under the Golden Mount, I made a friend. He is from New Zealand, so I have been unashamedly peppering him with questions ranging from things to see to will I need to declare my walking boots if I haven’t been to a farm (I’m going to declare them just in case). And that’s the story of how I acquired a travel buddy!
I was initially planning to go to Ayutthaya on Monday, weather irrelevant. It turned out to be a hot, humid and painfully sunny day for the most part, not the rain that was promised. Anyway, by the time I had gotten to Victory Monument in search of the mini-bus, been told I had to get another bus to a different bus station to catch the mini-bus and a whole other hullabaloo, I decided to just go and enjoy my day and try again tomorrow.
So I went to Jim Thompson’s House. Jim Thomson was an American who fell in love with Thailand and moved to Bangkok after the war. At the time, Thai handwoven silks were not as successful, and Jim Thompson took samples of the handwoven cloths to America to show fashion houses etc. Thai silk, and Jim Thompson, became internationally famous after the movie The King And I. In Bangkok, Jim Thompson sought to build a house in the traditional Thai style by combining other houses from different parts of Thailand. It’s a charming house with a little jungle and some fish. Photos weren’t allowed inside, but I did enjoy the short tour and wandering around the gardens after.
Then I got hustled onto a tourist boat. I know, I know; I could have gotten onto one of the water taxis but British politeness prevailed and then I had an all day ticket for the Bangkok canal…. oh well, it stills works out as less than a fiver in UK money. And I got to see a lizard!
At the recommendation of a friend, I went to the Golden Mount – a man made hill with gold decorations on top and lots and lots of bells on the way up! the view from the top was fab, but doesn’t translate well into photos, alas. That is beyond my skill as a photographer.
Once I was back at the bottom of the mount, I ended up sitting next to a kiwi and we started chatting and then we decided to be travel buddies for the rest of the trip. That evening, we went walking in search of some night markets and let me tell you – Bangkok transforms at night! It stops feeling quite so busy and loud and chaotic – it is still all these things – but if feels more like the city bustles. It’s the best word I can think of to describe it. Totally different atmosphere. I had been avoiding walking around after dark, and I am really glad I got the opportunity to take a gander round some of the markets near my hostel!
I don’t usually like changing plans – but in this case, I’m glad things went wrong because I ended up making a friend and gaining a travel buddy – and it’s been way more fun with two people! On Tuesday we went to Ayutthaya, but my enthusiasm for this part of Thailand deserves its own post.
I’m also uploading all my photos to the Bangkok gallery, which will be posted shortly!