Rouen & Micah's tour:
(0km - 23days)
13-14 March Pattaya
I had exactly one day to do laundry and repack bags as I was planning on heading to Bangkok where I was going to meet Rouen and Micah for a three-week holiday in Thailand. The easiest way of getting to Bangkok, for me, was to get a bus to the airport, and from there a bus direct to Khao San road, leaving me with a short walk to the Riverline Guesthouse.
15 March Bangkok
Rouen and Micah arrived around 3.30 pm and we wasted no time at all to explore the nearby area. They must have been dead tired after their long flight but never indicated that they wanted to stay put. As Rouen’s bag did not arrive on the same plane, we hoped that it would reappear the following day. We, however, still took a walk to look for clothing, just in case nothing materialised the next day. Then, it was on the ferry to its final destination and back again to see the sunset on the Chao Phraya River.
On our return, everyone felt somewhat nibblish, and we popped into the famous Gecko Bar for a beer and a plate of food. That night, Rouen and I sat on the terrace of the Riverline Guesthouse reminiscing about old times. After a few beers, we concluded that the world was in a right mess at that time, after which we stumbled off to bed.
16 March Bangkok
After a delicious plate of noodle soup, we roamed the streets of old Bangkok. We popped into the bizarre amulet market en route to Wat Pho, eventually landing up at our guesthouse again. That evening, we strolled along the famous Khao San road, ate a few bugs and drank smoothies from the stall around the corner. We also discovered that it was election day and, therefore, no beer was sold. Fortunately, Rouen brought two bottles of red wine from home. We sat on the roof terrace looking out over the Chao Praya River.
17 March - Bangkok
A slight misunderstanding made us miss our train to Samut Songkhram where we wanted to visit the train market. We still managed to catch the 10.30 one but had a lengthy wait for the connecting train. We opted for a minivan taxi instead of waiting for the train, giving us the opportunity to watch the train coming through the legendary Maeklong Market. Then it was onto the Amphawa floating market in Songthaew. Eventually, we took a minivan back to Bangkok where we, once again, opted for beer on the roof terrace.
18 March - Bangkok
We were lazy and slept in. After a late breakfast at the Gecko Bar, we headed for the train station for information on the train to Ayutthaya the following day. Micah wanted a tattoo done, and we enquired at Divine Ink about time and prices. It was incredibly hot, and after we had our fill of dim sum, we made our way back to the relative coolness of our guesthouse where we relaxed until sunset.
19 March Bangkok – Ayutthaya by train
We packed up and headed for the train station where we boarded a train to Ayutthaya. The train was hot and the seats hard but it came at a very reasonable price. We arrived in Ayutthaya in the heat of the day and flagged down a tuk-tuk for the short ride to Baan Lotus Guesthouse. We settled for an aircon room in this lovely old building and then took a walk to the UNESCO World Heritage Park. It was far too hot to take pictures, but we snapped a few anyhow after which we headed back to our aircon room, only venturing out after sunset.
20 March Ayutthaya – Kanchanaburi – by Mini Van
The previous night we arranged for a minivan ride to Kanchanaburi and were picked up right at our accommodation. Less than three hours later, we were dropped at Tamarind Guesthouse where we booked a room on a barge on the River Kwai. Again, it was brutally hot, and we stayed indoors until around 5 o’clock before wandering off the bridge over the famous River Kwai.
The bridge is a major tourist attraction in Kanchanaburi, and hundreds of people were milling about taking pictures and strolling across the bridge to the other side. We followed suit and then it was time to find a roadside eatery and beer.
21-22 March - Kanchanaburi – Hua Hin
It was time to head for the coast and, after breakfast, we took a ride to the bus terminal where we located a minivan heading in the direction of Hua Hin. Again, it was a 3-hour ride and, fortunately, they dropped us within easy walking distance to our guesthouse. We found a room in an old, rickety guesthouse situated on stilts right over the water. We wasted no time at all to head for the beach and spent the rest of the afternoon there. In fact, it was so lovely that we decided to stay one more day.
23 March - Hua Hin – Koh Phangan
We checked out at midday although our bus to Surat Thani was only at 22h00. Once on the bus, it was impossible to sleep, and Micah and I did not sleep at all. We arrived in Surat Thani at around 8h00 and were then transported by bus to Don Sak pier for our ferry ride to Koh Phangan. By the time we arrived at the Tropicana Resort, we were dead tired but headed straight for the ocean.
24–29 March Koh Phangan
The days slipped by without us doing very much. We swam in the lukewarm water of the Gulf of Thailand, drank cold beers and ate numerous plates of Thai food. Rouen and I made a half-hearted attempt of running in the morning but did not cover any distance of note. Eventually, Rouen rented a motorbike and him and Micah went exploring the island.
30 March Koh Phangan – Bangkok
We checked out of our comfortable accommodation and strolled down to the ferry port where we had enough time to grab a bite to eat before leaving. The ferry to Surat Thani takes about 2 – 2.5 hours and, once there, we were ushered into a bus to the city centre. From the bus stop, we were then taken by tuk-tuk to another bus station where we had an hour’s wait for the bus to Bangkok. It gave us enough time to walk around the night market where we could sample an array of tasty dishes. Eventually, we boarded the bus for a long and uncomfortable ride into Bangkok. Neither Micah nor myself could sleep at all, and we were shifting and twisting but never could get very comfortable.
31 March – Bangkok
We spent the day in Bangkok as Micah had an appointment at the tattoo studio. We did some last-minute shopping and then headed to Pattaya where we spent a few days.
We lazed around the swimming pool and walked along the beach front, nibbling food from the night market while drinking copious amounts of smoothies and iced coffees but most of all, the local Chang beer. We did not do half of what we wanted to do, but it was time for Micah and Rouen to head back to Cape Town.
It was a pleasure to have them, and I hope it will not be another 12 years before they visit again.