Elephant safari on bicycles

15. July, 11th day of traveling

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We slept until 9 and then had a slow start with breakfast and later packing our bags. In the pretty restaurant above the river we enjoyed the agreeable breeze for the last time here at VN Guesthouse. Kanchanaburi was a good place to visit!
I asked the owner whether I could watch when she makes the Thai tea. It’s actually quite simple. I’ll buy a bag of tea leaves and hopefully it will taste the same at home! Here is the recipe:
-Two big spoons of Thai tea mix, put it in a filter and pour ca. 2 dl hot water over it. Let it brew for about 3min.
– add 3 big spoons of condensed and one spoon (or as much as you like) of sugar
– add some normal milk
– stir
– pour into a big cup filled with ice cubes (they melt right away and the tea becomes cold and thinner)
– add more milk or cream

Enjoy πŸ™‚

She also explained how she makes iced coffee of which the recipe was rather obvious to me but I’ve actually never made one for myself at home although I prefer iced coffee to hot one..So, I have a mission for when I get back:)

At breakfast, we met a family from the Netherlands who was traveling now but they lived in Thailand for 2 years (2009-11). The woman was a teacher too and said that it was pretty easy for her to find a job at an international school.
After breakfast and having packed my bags I went for a 10min walk to buy some post cards. The sun didn’t hide behind any clouds and so I was feeling way too hot when I got back. Would be better once we were in the taxi or bus with the breeze.
Probably, it’s not an extreme rain season now because the waterfalls on the post cards have more water than when we were there…

The stay at our hostel was so cheap I could hardly believe it! For 3 nights we paid 840 Bht a bungalow. But with breakfast it probably was about $7 a night per person. Good price for such a nice place!

We told the taxi to bring us to the big bus station but then I was a bit irritated when it didn’t make the turn where I thought the street to the bus station was. The taxi then stopped at a random bus stop right in front of the right bus we had to take to Suphanburi. We paid the driver the 100Bht and quickly switched over into the bus. Again, we were the only people with a different hair color. For 50 Bht we were on a about 2 hour ride.

You must think that it gets boring riding on buses all the time. But looking out the window at all the kids in school uniforms, gardens, fields, road signs, commercials, markets and colorful houses doesn’t get tiring yet. Plus, you can always listen to music, study for uour upcoming physics exam ;), read a book, practice writing post cards on bumpy roads, or talk to locals (for example today I was sitting next to a young man in army uniform and I tried to explain to him that my brother now had to do his military service too but I don’t think he understood what I was saying :)).
We passed some kind of army camp when we went to the waterfall and I wonder how the military service works here.

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In Suphanburi, I saw a sparkling palace and a huge dragon. This place would probably also be worth staying a day.
At the bus station we were basically ripped out of the bus by some woman who wanted to usher us to the next bus which was leaving in 2min. She would be perfect for horse races or something like that! She said that the distance was only one hour and so we bought the tickets although they were 80 Bht! They probably were so expensive because we had to climb into a normal air-con van. There most definitely would have been a cheaper normal bus as well but why argue about $1 if you have airconditioning instead. Moreover, there were other Asian people on the van.
We pracrically flew along the roads and even jumped once we drove over a bump. By then I had guessed that the lovely business lady from before was driving. However, the best part was when we were speeding along with about 130 km/h and she suddenly braked very briskly. I clenched my fingers into the front seat and hoped we wouldn’t crash (I didn’t see out the front window). We came to a complete stop and drove back in reversed gear because she apparently missed a bus stop. A whole group of school girls came on the bus and about 4 of them had to squeeze onto the front seat next to the driver. I thought ok, when these girls trust that woman, we will be ok..But I was glad that I didn’t exactly see how or where she was driving.
We got off at a street with a few buses in it and took a tuktuk for 80 Bht to Ayutthaya train station, where we stored our bags for 10 Bht a day.
First, we had lunch at the market on the opposite side of the street and afterwards Myri and I rented a bicycle for 30 Bht until 9pm. Again, only one gear and this time it was a lot more effort to pedal and in addition, we had to ride uphill sometimes. We wanted to go to the floating market but ended up in an elephant park first. I LOVE elephants! But ooops, wrong turn and I’m not sure if we were allowed to ride there.

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We went back and turned into what looked like an amusement park village. Unfortunately, all the stores were about to close and it was dark in the pavilion with the boats. It looked so idyllic in this setting that I thought that this was only a “pretend floating market” for tourists.

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We then rode back again and had to go around a huge roundabout. At least 3 lanes from every direction. For once, it was us who could pass through all the cars and then wait in the front line at the traffic light. Again, it was red for several minutes and until it turned green we had at least 40 motorcycles around us. The light turned green and we pedaled like crazy!! We then realized that we should have used the lane most to the center to get to the second exit. We were cut off by all the cars that went straight. After a while a car stopped for us and we could cross over to the right exit πŸ™‚

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We went back to the place we rented the bikes and asked the lady which was the nicest temple. She told us Wat si Sanpet and because I didn’t want to go back to the big bridge with all the cars, we took a small boat for 6 Bht (two more because of the bikes).

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I was grateful that the captain at one river bank and two slim women on the other helped lifting my bike with the heavy bag in the basket. We rode straight for a while, reached one Wat but weren’t that impressed by it after having been to Siem Reap. We rode around a pretty lake and park and then thought that we should head back because it looked like it was going to rain.

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There was another wat at the end of the park and perhaps it was the one we were looking for but unfortunately it wasn’t lit up and it was already dark by that point. Therefore, we decided to cycle back and to our luck we came by a fair and an antique market. We just wanted to have a look at it for a few minutes and therefore didn’t want to pay 10 Bht each to park our bikes. Therefore, we just locked them to a pole on the other side of the street. We walked around the whole thing once. It wasn’t so big but rather interesting what they were selling. Weapons, cup noodle soup, t-shirts and belts. There were the usual shooting booths, a walk through haunted house and rides for the kids. Ah yes, and there was something that looked like alcohol roulette…I didn’t figure out how it worked but I think you could win bottles of alcohol.

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We went back to the bikes and by asking a few people and with a lot of sign language we found back to the railway station. The people here didn’t understand the word train…I now know the Thai word for it (Rot Fai πŸ™‚ )
We rode over the bridge and took a left turn into a one way street. The cars were so kind to all flash their lights at us that we notice that we are driving into the wrong direction. Thanks, we wouldn’t have noticed it otherwise…But there was enough space and we saw motorcycles riding the same way as us.
We finally reached the train station and handed back our bikes. When we walked to 7/11 to get something to drink, I noticed once again how many stray dogs and cats there are. I’ve never seen so many of these animals in another country. We ran into Hedi and Moritz at the train station before our appointed time and looked for a place to eat. We sat down at white plastic tables. The food tasted good (papaya salad for me again), the lady there was extremely friendly and they even had free wifi πŸ™‚
We played card games until 10.30pm (just so much fun with this group!!) and then went to buy breakfast at 7/11 because it would be much more expensive on the train.
Afterwards we went to get our bags and since they already knew that the train was 20min late, we had some time to kill. My Ipod was dead and so I asked the staff if they had a charger. One man had exactly the plug I needed and he let me charge my ipod for half an hour:) (I need to finish my recount of the day on the train..)

Myri bought her return ticket from Chiang Mai at the station. I then just wanted to know how many seats there were available on the dates I wanted to travel and he said none…not on any of the 3 following days, which are almost a week away. I’ll check again tomorrow in Chiang Mai but if there aren’t, it will be a long bus ride to Bangkok..I just hope I get to Koh Tao by train and bus!!

Our train finally arrived at 11.50pm and now I’m trying to get comfortable in my slightly too short berth. But otherwise our “beds” are quite ok.

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Shhh, everybody is sleeping now

Shhh, everybody is sleeping now

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