There’s something about Thailand which keeps drawing me back. Usually once I’ve visited a country return visits are generally a low priority as I’d rather go somewhere new as there’s just so much more of the world to see. Thailand is different, I am already looking at options for a 5th visit as there are still plenty of places I haven’t been to.
As my visits have taken place over the last 10 + years, I can’t necessarily remember the finer details and some of the places such as Bangkok we passed through many times so rather than try and talk about the trips chronologically I’m going to focus on the parts which I found most memorable.
I’ve got much more confident with trying foods since my very first visit. I’ve learned that some of the best food can be on the streets or in the restaurants off the beaten track. Anytime we’ve eaten in places in the main tourist streets we’ve been left feeling underwhelmed. There are of course many exceptions but some of the best food we’ve had has been from the places you probably wouldn’t consider eating in at home.
After sampling a few successful food tours in other countries we decided to take the Bangkok China Town food tour.
It wouldn’t be Bangkok without a visit to the insect stall……
On most visits we’ve ended up in ‘Saxophone’ this is an excellent venue for cocktails, food and good quality live music. highly recommended (near victory monument if you’re in the area).
Our first expedition out of Bangkok was to Kanchanaburi. We’d decided we wanted a train journey somewhere and chose this destination after looking on the train travel website http://www.seat61.com. History is a subject which is not my strong point, I have always struggled to take in and retain the information so apart from knowing it was a title of a film I had no idea about ‘The Bridge Over The River Kwai.’ and the history. The journey to Kanchanaburi involved finding the old Bangkok train station Thonburi Railway and making our way in a 3rd Class carriage for a couple of hours West to Kanchanaburi.
Behind the station was a run down market selling a bizarre range of random things, it was sparsely populated (unless you count the rats and pigeons who were having a great time).
On arrival at Kanchanaburi the pace was very different to Bangkok. We stayed in a raft house on the river.
Most evenings we’d sit for a while at the edge of the raft house before going out for the evening and at dusk a ‘Party Karaoke Boat’ would pass by and break the tranquillity. The people on it were always dancing and the music was pumping, they looked to be having such a great time that we may have been tempted to give it a go ourselves but we never did find the origin of this boat and when we asked people we were just met with puzzled looks. It all just seemed quite surreal and out of place with the rest of the atmosphere.
The first evening we walked along some quiet country roads past small groups of people sat outside their wooden houses, some gently playing a few notes on guitar whilst chatting with their families and friends over food and drinks. There were still stretches of silence with the exception of the hum of noise from insects in the background
We then crossed a road and ended up in an open square where there was a food based night market aimed at the local people. The food was excellent and we had some great spicy vegetable noodles.
The next morning we discovered one of the main streets with a great selection of food and some interesting menus. One tip, if you’re on a budget …get out of Bangkok! The food prices were ridiculously cheap and the quality of food was much better in any of the smaller towns we visited…but i guess that’s probably the same in most countries.
Part 2: Chiang Mai & Krabi coming soon……