24.02.2013 - 24.02.2013 37 °C
We got up bright and early today as we wanted to get to Bangkok early in case we had trouble finding accommodation in the area we wanted. We wanted to stay more central than the backpacking haven of Khao San Road. We had seen a place online called the Train Inn which isn't exactly the Hilton but it is opposite the train station so we don't have to worry too much about getting to the airport on Tuesday and it is close enough to the big shopping area of Siam so we can do some shopping.
We walked around in Ayutthaya for a while trying to find somewhere nice to eat but in the end we decided to go to the same place we have been for the two days previous. The food is great no matter what we order so we can't go wrong. We had chicken and rice this morning which comes with a delicious chilli sauce and a bowl of broth as a palette cleanser.
After that we checked out of Chantana Guest house and made our way to the train station. We had read that the train fare was 15 baht each which seems ridiculously good to take you 80km or so to Bangkok. We managed to find the train station okay as it was in walking distance apart from the problem we had finding the 'ferry' crossing as the station is on the other side of the river. After a while Chelsea asked a nice lady and she directed us to a dilapidated old boat that travelled around 20 yards to take you to the other side for 4 baht.
The fare unbelievably was indeed 15 baht each for a third class ticket to Bangkok so we were both happy but the next problem we had was getting the right platform. The conductor was as typically helpful as ever telling us it was platform three, the only problem being the platforms didn't have any numbers on them. We huddled around more travellers and locals hoping we were in the right place until a bell rang to signal the train was near and all the locals moved somewhere else, so we shuffled towards them.
The train journey itself was good apart from a screaming child and the constant disturbance of vendors urging past you selling their goods. It was better than going by bus and the scenery was great. It was rural farmland and open countryside and we bought some lemon iced tea from a vendor and read our books. It only took around two hours until we pulled into Bangkok station.
We managed to find and check into The Train Inn straight away and although it has a shared bathroom, is a bit old fashioned, the air con only blows out hot air and it is quite expensive it serves our purpose for our two days in Bangkok.
The first thing we did once we had settled into our hotel was walk to Siam Square to find a drink stall that we visited on our first trip. It took us a while but was totally worth it. The guy does the best malt chocolate ice drinks that are made with cocoa powder, malt powder and copious amounts of sweet carnation milk. Served over ice it is worth visiting Siam just to try one.
The rest of the day we spent tackling errands and shopping for our trip to Myanmar. We walked to Siam Square, where all the big shopping malls are. We chose MBK which is the cheapest of the malls and spent a few hours browsing several floors. We ended up coming away with a lot of what we need, DEET, sunglasses, a belt for Liam and a new top for Chels. We will have to go back tomorrow though as Chelsea wants a few more clothes after some were ruined during our time at the safari.
We have been unable to buy malarials as the only one we are willing to take (malarone) they do not sell in Thailand and the side effects of the others outway the risk of malaria in our opinion. We will just have to be carfeful. We have stocked up on good quality, high DEET content insect repellent and will be wearing long sleeves and trousers during sunrise and sunset.
On our way back we called at an Internet cafe and printed off our boarding passes for our flight. The shopping took us way over budget and walking around and to and from the shopping centre was enough activity for one day so tonight we ate and had a couple of beers around the train station. There are a few cafes and street stalls set up on the street and we had a great meal of noodle soup (Liam) and duck and rice (Chelsea) washed down with a couple of beers.
This time in Bangkok is different from the last, it is only a couple of days but it feels like a completely different place away from the backpacker hive. It is a lot less fun but also more quiet and you don't get hassled by tuk-tuk drivers of suit sellers ever thirty seconds. Tomorrow will be more of the same, shopping and gettin ready for Myanmar.