Monday – Bangkok

So, not sure I’ve explained the reason for my trip to Bangkok. Way way back when this trip was a small acorn on the horizon I was thinking about what to do while I was away, thoughts passed through learning massage and on to meditation and while browsing the interweb for places to do this I found a retreat in southern Thailand that caught my eye and not long after came across a blog from Be My Travelmuse that recounted her time there, thoughts, feeling etc and I knew this is where I wanted to be, and at the same time of the year too. Also, her blog is very inspirational and I am not ashamed to say I’ve now read every post!

http://www.suanmokkh-idh.org/index.html

http://www.bemytravelmuse.com/suan-mokkh/

To participate in the retreat I needed to be there for 31st December, preferably 30th to be in plenty of time and to get a good job.

So I arrived at the northern bus station at 6am, Kay had told me I could catch the sky train into the city – true enough but there were no signs from the bus station to there, after fighting off hordes of taxi drivers, finding an ATM and asking at the info desk I headed in the direction I was pointed, told to go straight for 2km….. Before long I reached a T junction… Tricky to go straight on, so took a guess, came across a petrol station and pointed onwards, came to a park where a lovely guy v confidently pointed through the park to an unseen spot where he assured me there was a BTS station. It was early dawn as I passed through the park, a few joggers, oddly music playing from trees (reminded me a little bit of the magic tree at the PP killing fields)

Eventually could see what I hoped was a column, with a bridge, and there was a BTS…. Not the one I was aiming for, but Chatachuk – where the infamous weekend market is held – was good to be somewhere even vaguely familiar – the last time I was here was about 10 years ago when Kay and Ant got married!!

Thankfully the train went straight through to the train station and was air conditioned – ideal as I was a tad hot and sweaty 24 hours post shower…..

The journey to the station was fine, good to sit in the cool and work out what I needed – a ticket to Surat Thani. Sadly when I got there they were almost sold out of all tickets there. I’d hoped to catch the 8:05am train that morning, but all sold out. I could get one at 7:30pm, 12 hours, 3rd class – not sleeper, just a bench – it was under £4 so I bought one and went away to think.

I knew my old housemates from Finsbury Park were in Bangkok that day, so as I wasn’t getting the early train, I went off in search of wifi to see if we could meet up. I got the train to Sukumhvit as it was central and at an intersection between lines. I went to Starbucks as they generally have free WiFi, but not today, so had to drink my coffee, hope Matt and Guilia hadn’t started getting up early before then going to Jenny’s where they do have free WiFi and contacting both Guilia and Matt and then replying to other messages including one from Nicola (or Sarah as I still like to think of her as).

I messaged Nicola, who was heading to Krabi for New Year, saying I was in Bangkok but wished she was there to visit. One exciting message later and it turns out she is here!!!

Dilemma as to 3rd class train journey vs doing something else solved.

New plan for the day, see Matt and Guilia, go to Nicola’s who’s also close by and spend new year there!!

I met Matt and Guilia at the flat they’re renting and dropped my stuff there before heading to a v cool coffee shop that Matt had spotted. Matt is uber cool, he works for Lyle and Scott and writes a coffee blog (which I can’t remember the name of or Google….) Have been terrible at keeping in touch with them since they moved away, but was lovely to see them both, they’re off to Cambodia next so passed on my sim card and some tips for that amazing country.

They were off to be touristy, see temples and stuff, but first headed back to theirs so I could get my bags and head to Nicola’s. Turns out she really is only a few streets away on Sukhumvit 11. Got a taxi there for 71 bhat (gave the man 100/£2 – we’d had a fun journey together!!)

Was so lovely to see her, so random as ideally neither of us would have been in Bangkok, but we were and seemed a nice idea to spend time together.

We lazed by the pool in her apartment complex for a while – also a gym, sauna and squash courts there! Before I treated myself to my first shower in over 24 hours and we headed to MBK, a massive shopping complex to look for a bag N’s friend had requested. We found it, but so funny as N hates it there!! N had a hair appointment booked so she stuck me on a train back to hers while she headed onwards.

I got back, chilled and had a bit of a snooze before meeting N and heading to get some Lebanese food. We got it to take away, picked up a bottle of wine and returned to the flat to eat and watch Up.

The food was delicious but I only manged to stay awake until around 10pm before feeling super tired and took myself to bed.

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