Thailand (part one)

Thailand (2)

Somewhere over the Arabian desert, February 2013.

When I was thinking about going to Thailand, all I was thinking about was the food. I really like thai food and one of the best things about going to Asia is the culinary adventure it is going to be. But what am I talking about. Like every journey, our journey started at an airport. In our case the Frankfurt International Airport. We boarded without further mentionable problems and flew straight to Abu Dhabi, our stop between Germany and Thailand. The view (as seen in the image above) was stunning. There is a certain serenity (‘the castle’) in the desert which has to do with the colors, I guess.

A couple of films and a few uncomfortable sleeping hours later, we landed in Bangkok. As much as I was looking forward to our travel, getting into a different culture and into a different climate is – at first – often a disturbing experience. Although I imagined how Bangkok would be many times before and previsualized how it would be to roam the streets of china town or along the Chaya Praya River, of course it was all unexpectably different.

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Chinatown, Bangkok.

We came into Bangkok at night time, still it was (at least for us) unbearable hot and humid. The streets smelled like dirt and people were lying all over the place, trying to recover from the daytime heat.

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Flower market, Thanon Mara Rat.

Our goal for the first night was to find a (famous?) flower market which we eventually succeed to find.

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It was noisy, busy and it felt very foreign. On every corner, we smelled different food, different herbs, different ingredients. Our poor european nose was overstrained with strange smells and aromas. Street kitchen would literally pop out out of nowhere, some thai would chuck some meat on a small barbecue and offer us strange looking meatballs or whole chickens.

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Because we weren’t that much into these and it was already quite late (the long flight came back at us) we decided to jump into our comfy hotel beds. We called for one of the many many Tuk Tuks (three-wheel-taxis all over Bangkok).

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After a bit of bargaining, we eventually were on our way back to the hotel. Taking a Tuk Tuk is definatly a must-do in Thailand. They’re cheap and handle the thick traffic much better than any other vehicle.

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The next day, we started out on a big tour through Bangkok. We saw many many markets, selling fresh fish, fruits and other food.

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You can find seafood in almost every meal in Thailand.

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Transport solutions are always a bit different in Asia.

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It is quite amazing how they sell meat this way.

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We visited the impressive temple of “Wat Pho“, most famous for his huge declining Buddha.

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Buddhism is always present in Thai culture. We saw many monks, many Buddhas and many signs of a very friendly and open religion.

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We decided not to go into the Great Palace as it was way to overcrowded and not really a bargain.

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For me, as I’d rather take pictures of people than sights, no big deal. Here, the Guards of the Palace.

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There were a hell lot of tourist at the Great Palace. From all over the world.

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We ran into this rather comfortable monk.

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In one of the many temples that we visited.

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Not really the place were we wanted to have lunch.

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Bangkok is a city of extremes. Some parts are modern and  western, whereas other parts are poor but more traditional.

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Still not found a place to eat. Although some places looked really interesting.

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Again one of the many street kitchens…

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We finally found a really nice place near the Khao San Road. After having a delicious Phat Thai, we went back by boat on the Chao Phraya River.

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After checking out, we boarded a long long long train to Chiang Mai in the North-West of Thailand.

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I find that travelling by train, is one of the best ways to get to know a country. You pass regions and places you otherwise would not have seen, you travel slower that by plane and you meet locals on the way.

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It was amazing light, when we started out…

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Passing another train at a station.

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The trainride was overnight and took about 16 hours. Not that the distance was that far, but thai trains tend to be a bit slower than the schedule suggests…. Luckily there was a party car just next to our sleeping car.

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I will split the trip into 3-4 posts. If you are interested where the train brought us, continue reading…

See Thailand (part one).

See Thailand (part two).

See Thailand (part three).

See Thailand (part four).

 

4 comments

  1. [...] is the second set of images. If you’ve missed the first part, please click here. It will tell you how we came to be on 16 hours night train to Chiang [...]

  2. [...] See Thailand (part one). [...]

  3. […] See Thailand (part one). […]

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