Dentist appointments in Thailand meant that an unknown quality was entering our holiday plans. We didn’t know how often I would need to return or in how much pain I would be so we planned to stay fairly close to Bangkok. This ended up being a good plan because yes, I was in a lot of pain and we needed to return after a week to have more work done. This however was not the highlight of my journey but I am indeed impressed with my new smile and the quality of the work that was provided. Such a professional organisation.
Once I had my initial appointment we headed north to Khao Yai National Park to the north-east of Bangkok. We were hoping to see wild elephants and maybe a tiger. Unfortunately, neither eventuated but that didn’t take away from the anticipation. We hired a car and stayed just outside the park at a place called, Jungle House. This was a huge establishment with their own elephants. The place was empty because of the season. Things obviously got a bit tough for the locals during these times.
The second night we went into the park where we could line up different hikes and drive around looking at waterfalls. The only accommodation on offer was a small inexpensive cabin. It was fine except for some rowdy neighbours. The park itself was quite dry due to the lack of rain for the wet season so the waterfalls were a bit on the sorry side. We saw plenty of deer and huge monitors – lizards sleeking through the jungle. Food was a bit of a challenge in the park as Thomas had thought the park information lady had said that the restaurant opened at 6pm but in actual fact it closed then. Thomas was able to get some meaty left-overs from the stalls outside and I ended up with a yoghurt for dinner. Not so bad with a mouth full of hurt still from the dentist.
The following day we’d lined up a hike to one of the distant waterfalls. Our guide spoke no English other than saying ‘bear’, ‘elephant’, ‘hornbill’. It was a quiet trip. We saw evidence of where bears and elephants had rubbed or clawed the trees and we saw three hornbills fly over us at a distance. It was a nice walk and this particular waterfall was quite nice and was one of the few where you could actually swim. Our guide had to arrange a ride for us back to the information centre and couldn’t help showing off his pride and joy – his gun for a snap shot on the way. Not sure what he thought he would ever have to use it for though.
After we left the park we headed through a beautiful valley towards Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam. Leaning with the burdens of time, the ancient ruins were plentiful and were just urging us to explore. However, the scorching heat of the day kept us at bay and we could only have an early morning stroll and we planned an afternoon excursion. In the morning we visited the temples that surrounded the old palace. In the afternoon we took a boat trip that gave us a different perspective of this island city and we were taken to different temples – some currently in use. This ended up being an enjoyable and leisurely option. The dusty heat of the day had given over to cool river breezes and the long shadows provided ample respite from the heat.
We returned to Bangkok for the second part of my treatment and we headed into Chinatown but didn’t find much action. A tuk tuk driver offered to take us to a large shopping mall that Thomas was keen to see. The mall was cool and lively with plenty of great shops and eating areas. It was like an indoor market rather than a shopping mall and we made some good purchases.
After another hour in the chair, Thomas caught up with me and we headed to the bus station just in time to catch the last ferry-connecting bus to Koh Chang, ‘Elephant Island’. Our accommodation was a basic hut but we did have air conditioning as we thought the extra eight dollars a night was money well spent. The sounds of elephants echoed through the air as the sanctuary was just across the road. I popped in to see them and negotiate a price for a ride. Being low season – they were happy to make offers before I asked. The following day it rained so we just lay around and got a bit of work done on our websites. Considering that we were meant to be in the wet season, we were counting our blessings with the weather. The following day we got to have our elephant ride and I found it incredibly relaxing. We then went for a wander down to the beach and saw a young lady taking up the opportunity of swimming with the baby elephants. The elephant was having so much fun rolling around in the surf that we were roaring with laughter as it got swamped and was diving down under the water. Thomas suggested I try this and I am so glad he talked me into it. It was a most memorable experience.
The following day we hired a scooter for the incredibly low cost of $8 for the day. We found beautiful spots along the coast line then we explored up in the jungle. We hiked to a sequence of cascades through a property. We had stopped for a swim at one of the lower pools when we saw a young couple scouting upstream with purpose so decided to follow them. We were treated to plenty of waterfalls and challenging rock climbing – just the type of hike that we enjoy. The young couple on the other hand was geocaching. They were having a good time of it.
We also moved to a more up-class hotel for Thomas’ birthday. Up-class to us doesn’t mean hotel lobbies or in-house entertainment, it means views and beautiful scenery. We were gratified with a room up on the cliff at the Koh Chang Cliff Beach resort. We made the most of the infinity pool and enjoying the fantastic view.
We returned to Bangkok for our final night in Thailand and resumed our goal of enjoying an evening in Chinatown. We took off on the sky train and made the swap to the subway to get close to the centre of Chinatown. Here we found a bustle of visiting Chinese tourists eating in the street market amongst the neon lights. We weren’t tempted as the odour of seafood was so strong that we just wanted to escape. We ended uptowards familiar territory where our first hotel was and found a nice quiet Thai restaurant far enough away from the rowdy Aussies at a rustic corner bar. We had a peaceful evening before our flight to Germany. More pics below.