Day 305, Mon 9th Dec
We had a highly efficient day ourselves; picked up the new passport (15 mins), got the Thai visit transferred from the old passport (took hours!), left the passports at the Vietnamese embassy to get the visas & I got measured up for 3 new suits… lovely jubbly.
We even wasted a couple of hours in the evening trying to find a non-existent train station to get to the bridge over the River Kwai on the morrow.
Hooray, my passport is back! Nipped to collect it and then spent 3.5 hours starving in Thai immigration waiting for them to transfer my visa – not impressed by THAT ridiculous bureaucracy, the woman was actually trying to ring Chiang Mai immigration to find out which individual had signed my visa extension; FFS. It is not like the border official is going to mind! Fortunately the Vietnamese embassy trip was far more efficient, albeit rather expensive…
We celebrated with some extremely late lunch, then showered and went out for G&T
Day 306, Tue 10th Dec
A very cheap (60p!) and old-fashioned train ride to Ayutthaya today, where we met and then promptly failed to meet for dinner a nice Scottish/English couple, we felt bad, but believe me, not going back to the hotel to drop the bikes off before complete darkness was not a favourable option… me riding a bicycle in full daylight is hazardous enough; for everyone!
The ruins were beautiful; recommended. Our guesthouse – The Old Palace Resort – is also surprisingly wonderful, and they have a cute puppy too.
Day 307, Wed 11th Dec
A last cycle in Ayuttahaya, fortunately incident free, then back to Bangkok on the less interesting and slightly pricier bus.
Day 308, Thu 12th Dec
An evening spent at another night market – T was in 7th heaven again – & a quick scurry around to find some Xmas pressies for T. Not sure I’d want to see her face if she didn’t have something to open on Xmas morning… perish the thought!
Queued for an hour to hand in our passports at the Myanmar embassy – so busy in comparison to Vietnamese one – then off on the ferry to see Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn – beautiful), the giant golden Buddha and Royal Palace.
We didn’t quite make the latter, sadly, after a 15 minute queue to borrow additional clothing – my shawl was insufficient to cover my shoulders, it seems – then walked to the entrance to find we didn’t have enough money, oops! Didn’t realise this one was 10 times the price of all the other sites… Just made it back to pick up our Burmese visa before embassy closing time.
We decided (well, I did), that it would be fun to take the ferry to the Night Market for the evening – I have to buy Keir a Christmas present somewhere – it was really pretty with hundreds of cool arty stalls, I wanted to browse some more, if only one of the girls was here, Keir has a very low tolerance for markets… Great food options too, I had been craving an Indian for about a week!
Day 309, Fri 13th Dec
The suits are ready & look good. We packaged them up with some of our winter clothes & diving books & sent them back to the UK by the slow boat. Then an afternoon visiting the Golden Mount with views across the city – farewell Bangkok. We are now Laos bound on the overnight train to the Border by Vientiane. Fairly impressed with the sleeper – seats that convert to beds; just like the train on 28 hr train ride I did with Elaine through India.
Very bad tempered today as Keir made me wait until after 2pm for breakfast, and then we didn’t have time to go back to the Royal Palace :-(, I cheered up eventually, of course (Food + Tracey = Happines!).
Our second class sleeper train was great, better than the Chinese trains, especially the toilet – believe me, you never want to use the toilet on a Chinese train unless you are 100% desperate – we even had the option to order breakfast!