02.11.2009 - 03.11.2009
Bankgkok Miles traveled 732.
Well, originally, we were not going to Thailand, however, it turns out it is much cheaper to fly into there than Vietnam or Laos. So, we made the decision based on economics to spend several days in Thailand and then several more in Cambodia. This plan nixed our trip to Laos and Vietnam......we will have them as an excuse to return to Southeast Asia someday!
So, we had one glorious night in Bangkok. We arrived, unbeknownst to us on the Festival of Lights. It can be somewhat compared to a combination of our celebrations of Valentine’s Day and All Saints Day, however, it is much more festive in Thailand. Traditionally, people buy flower baskets to send down the river in memory of a loved one who has passed or in honor of a loved one in our lives. When we arrived, the streets were already full of people, vendors, balloons, and lights. We got there just in time to enjoy traditional dances, fire jugglers, and a fireworks display. Along the riverside, boats festooned in lights were traveling in a procession down the river and under their beautifully lit suspension bridge. On the stage at the riverside temple, traditional dance and song were being performed.
After watching some of the festivities, which, we headed down Khao San Street to grab a bite to eat and take in all the shops.
We ate some delicious Pad Thai for 2 bucks and some fun drinks to go to enjoy while shopping. Sara scored two cute tops to take with to Ko Chang. We also got a smoking deal on 9 patches of countries flags for our back pack. We were lucky to land a hostel in the middle of the festival action, which left us with a great feeling about Bangkok and Thai culture.
The ten foot wide street was filled with two rows of street vendors, a taxi, motor-scooters, and foot traffic all going in every direction. On the wires above the street hung paper lanterns for the festival. Above the lanterns hung the branches of the enormous tropical trees. It was frantic and serene all at the same time. We even witnessed on family launching a small hot air balloon made of a rice paper frame heated with a small candle in thebottom. We all watched in awe as their little ship joined the lights in the sky! The people were very friendly and a helpful tour guide arranged our bus transport to the coast. The main street at the end of the corner was a continuous streem of push carts, taxis, motor taxis, trucks, cars, and buses, that was merely frantic. We arranged a wake up call and went to bed exhausted and tried to catch a few zzzs.
The next day, we awoke early to catch our bus. Two nice Thai ladies guided us to our bus, which had rather frightening company. A short time later we jumped on the bus for a 5 hour trip south to the island of Ko Chang in the Gulf of Thailand.