Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lazy in Thailand---7/6--15

After my 1 1/2 hour flight from HCMC to the old Bangkok airport--Don Muang---I quickly got a cheap bus----6 Baht--about 15 cents---to the Mo Chit sky train and rode it to my hotel for just 42 Baht--about $1.35.

Even with the skytrain the street traffic is terribly congested. When traveling throughout Bangkok I usually use the skytrain or the river ferryboats because I know where it's going and it is relatively inexpensive. Plus, the Sky Train is air-conditioned and that works out really well for the hot humid conditions here.

 

After settling in, I then headed to my favorite food court on Soi 6 only to see that it had recently been bulldozed over. Despite the current coup by the military, business and building construction continues an amazing pace. There seems to be as much construction going on here as I saw in China.

I then went to the other streetside restaurant that I frequented that specializes in pad Thai with very cheap prices----just 60 Baht for seafood pad Thai---under $2. It was as delicious as I remembered.

It seems that every year when I return to,Thailand the prices in Bangkok for hotels continue to climb. When I was here just last year, The Dynasty Inn charged me a 1000 Baht per night and this time it's 1250----the most expensive hotel stay so far this trip.

After enjoying the sights and entertainment of Bangkok I decided that I just wanted to go to some beach and relax for a week or so.

My favorite island is about 3 to 4 hour bus and ferry boat ride from Bangkok to Ko Samet, where most of the island is a National Park. The dock and ferry boats that take us look old and very rickety. I noticed that this time they had all of the lifevests hanging over the railings rather than stode away as before. Maybe this was an added safety measure following other ferryboat accidents in Asia. Here are two boats headed out before me loaded with school children heading to summer camp. Notice they are all wearing lifejackets.

 

 

 

They have recently built a new dock complete with mermaid and terminal to handle the increased visitor traffic.

After a short and sometimes bumpy ride I arrived at the Pudsa Bungalows. When I first stayed here about 10 years ago, these cottages by the water's edge cost 400 Baht per night during the high season, and now it cost 800 Baht per night. The improvements now include a western flush toilet with hot showers instead of a hole in the ground and a five gallon bucket of water with a ladle to shower with. Although they still have no A/C, the fan works well enough along with the ocean breezes. Like almost all hotels, restaurants, and bars, they now have WiFi---no more Internet cafes down the road.
 
They now have a blue and white fence that replaced the picket fence
Between my cabin in the water there is now a vertical Rock garden with impossibly high rocks balanced one on top of each other. Even with the huge rain, thunder and lightning storm last night these rocks remained balanced. It has also been quite a draw for the tourists.

Every morning the same monks come wandering by and receive offerings from the owners of this hotel and restaurant. In turn, the monks give them blessings.

 

On the 11th and 12th with the full moon, instead of a big full moon party, this place was filled with Thais since they had two religious holidays back to back. The first was called Asarhna Bucha which celebrates Buddha's first speech where he described the four truths---I will have to check them out but most likely about suffering---and the following day it is called Buddha Lent which is cause for more celebrations as monks supposedly return to their original temple, get new garbs, new monks are initiated as it is the beginning of the rainy season---I was told that originally it was to prevent the monks from accidentally stepping on living things hidden under the water.

For foreigners this mean that no alcohol is sold nor are the entertainment places are open, it is an official government holiday so all banks, schools and government buildings are closed all the way through the 13th since the Lent fell on a Sunday.


What this meant at Ko Samet is that over the weekend, this place was filled with Thais mostly from the Bangkok area for the three day holiday weekend. I think they brought their own alcohol though based on the party atmosphere. We never saw the full moon though because of the rain clouds that kept blowing through.

I plan to stay here a few more days rather than going to Koh Chang as I had originally planned.

 

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