After an eight hour bus ride, I arrived in Bangkok. The bus ride was easy but the borders are really different. The Vietnam - Cambodia border was a lot quicker than the process at the Cambodia - Thailand border. Both companies I used had an employee fill out my departure and arrival card but the Cambodia - Thailand border was definitely a lot more chaotic. Many buses are about $10-$18 USD from Siem Reap to Bangkok but I decided to splurge on a VIP Van for $28 USD. I'm really happy I did this because the line for arrival into Thailand was absolutely mental. The wait for foreigners was three hours long but since we paid more for the VIP, we were able to use the express lane, which took about 15 minutes. Crazy stuff but in the end, I'm happy I paid a bit extra.
My first official whole day in Thailand has been the highlight of my trip so far. My friend, Susan, spent a whole week at an Elephant Haven in North Thailand back in March and to my luck, there was one located two hours outside of Bangkok. This Elephant Haven rescues elephants and spoils them in the best way. A lot of these elephants used to be in shows or danger but now are living the absolute dream. The haven has volunteers prepare their food, walk with them, and bathe them too. All they do is eat, play in the mud, and swim in the river everyday. One of the head employees Kahn was telling us that they get absolutely spoiled with all the food that they eat. However, he did say that they used to do elephant rides but once they saw how cruel it was they immediately stopped. Their slogan is "No rides, no shows, just love" which is very appropriate. It's obvious that the staff really care about these elephants and want the word to spread for more volunteers to meet these gentle giants. Hands down the best experience of my life.
On Sunday, I didn't realize that many shops close so I spent my day doing touristy things. I first went to the Wat Pho and saw the Reclining Buddha. The Wat Pho was so colorful while the Reclining Buddha was extremely massive. In the Wat Pho, there is so much going on and I really enjoyed the atmosphere inside the grounds. Afterwards, I decided to go down to the river and see the Wat Arun from across the harbor. It's gorgeous as it sits right on the water but I noticed it was nearing 5 and I really wanted to head to the Wat Saket or The Golden Mount. The Wat Saket sits upon a man-made hill in the center of Bangkok. Once you go up the 300 steps, you get an amazing panoramic view of Bangkok. It's one of the newer Wats and definitely worth seeing. It's also only 20 baht!
Like Cambodia, Thailand has a lot of cheap massage places. Not as cheap but for $5 USD an hour, you can't really complain. I spent my last day getting a massage and walking around Lumphini Park, a huge park just 10 minutes away from my Airbnb. Since I have a bus to catch at 8 PM, I didn't want to overdo the day so I just spent the day getting a massage, walking around the park, and "window shopping" at the various malls and markets in Bangkok. As some may know, the traffic is truly terrible in Bangkok so Nigel's friend suggested I take the boat up the river to my bus station. I'm so happy I decided to do this because I followed the traffic reports and the traffic was extra hectic today.
Bangkok is a lot like Hong Kong. I really enjoyed the city but the metro system could use some work. It should expand more to the touristy locations. But then again, the taxis are really cheap to use as well. Now onto the next location! I'm taking a bus and ferry to one of the southern islands called Koh Phanghan. My journey all together is estimated to be 17 and a half hours so wish me luck!
Just traveling the world and sharing my adventures and experiences.
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