A must-see place in Bangkok!
Bangkok is not the most attractive city in the world, but you must stay at least a couple of days for a few reasons: Two of them being the nightlife and the other is to visit The Grand Palace! (Maybe that’s unfair, there is plenty to do in Bangkok!)
Travellers beware! On your way to this magnificent place, you will be stopped by many “tour guides”, claiming that the palace is closed for several reasons, and offer you trips to see a smiling Buddha or other things that don’t exist. Unless a trusted website says that the palace is closed, do not believe anyone in the street! Just ignore anyone who tries to offer you anything other than to point you towards the entrance to the palace!
Bangkok is a very hot place, but when visiting it, make sure that you are not wearing shorts. Your knees and calves must be covered at all times (don’t forget, it is a sacred place!) and normal t-shirt (no tank top or sleeveless t-shirts!). This will save you a lot of time at the entrance, they are quite strict about this!
Another rule of thumb: When entering temples to adore Buddha, sit with your feet pointing AWAY from Buddha. It is considered offensive to point your feet towards his image. One of my friends who was travelling with me almost got kicked out of Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) because of it!
An amazing place! Just don’t be fooled by con artists and get caught in cultural differences!
In order to go from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai, I decided to take the fast route… Speed-boat style! There are no road (up-to-date) linking that part of Laos to the Thai border. It was a gruelling experience, sitting down in a fetal position for about 7 hours… well, it was painful! It just made it worse going from a couple of hours after sunrise, through the midday sun into early/mid afternoon! Time was of the essence, so that was the most efficient way to get to Chiang Mai. I am not sure how much sunblock I used on my knees, but however much was not enough! Burnt knee skin… difficult to walk afterwards! Bit it was a great experience, on that really fast boat along the Mekong River, not many people can say they did that! Having a massage on arrival in Chiang Mai was not my wisest decision up to date! Trip not recommended for the fair skinned! Even though it is a difficult, it was worth the experience!
Back entrance to Angkor Wat… the columns of the overpass
The first place that when I saw, I cried! It was always my dream to visit Angkor and it did not disappoint! A very intense day, starting before sunrise and finishing a few hours after sunset (Yeah, that long, but make sure you get there to see both!). This city, by population, competed with contemporary Paris and London, but was years ahead in many aspects, such as sanitation and agriculture. Angkor Wat is the most impressive structure of the entire complex… well, that’s the general opinion! Angkor Thom is much more impressione… in my opinion!
Tiger Temple! Amazing! People say that the tigers are drugged etc, well, I couldn’t see anything else apart from very well treated animals! A bit vicious, but very beautiful and well cared for!
After going elephant riding, I had some time to take a few pictures around the place. I came across this beautiful elephant, the oldest of the park. He was 73 years old and its carer about 78. They both grew up together and his carer started caring for him when he (the elephant) was 5 years old. It is a beautiful friendship story!
Erawan National Park was an amazing day trip… in my Bucket List, elephant riding was probably a top priority for this trip. Once that was done, it was time to go for a dip in the local amazing waterfalls! Several of them in fact! It is just a pity I had to choose between photos or swimming… I took a couple and swam for the rest of the time! Worth it!