A journey of two halves and a lot of lanterns.
Wednesday came and our boat wasn’t till 9 so we leisurely got our stuff together, dropped the key off and went down to the pier. Liam had decided to stay on at the island and meet us in Bangkok later in the week.
We picked up our new favourite breakfast, toasties from 7/11 Leia with ham and cheese, me with egg, hotdog, and cheese. Got on our boat across, another small junk but without masses of stuff this time.
Enjoying the views from the ferry we soon arrived at Ban Phe pier, the bus was just around the corner. It was not going to be a good journey, the bus was cramped full of people and luggage with just enough room for the two of us with our bags stuffed in front of me and on Leia’s knees. It was warn and stuffy and the relief when we stopped for a break was palpable. Everyone got off and I got an iced coffee and some macarons! They were just what I needed, we got back on,managing to rearrange our bags so they weren’t so constrictive and the rest of the journey wasn’t so bad.
We reached Bangkok in 2 hours or so, figured out where we were (Victory Monument) and asked the best way to Khao San Rd where we could get another bus out to our destination. A £1.50 taxi journey and 200baht bus ticket later we had an hour to kill on khao san before our bus so obviously we got pad thai from a steet vendor and tucked in. Wandering up and down the street it was suddenly 3pm and we got on our minibus, only to drive for less than ten minutes and get told to get off. We were sent over to another bus which waited for 10 minutes or so hefute embarking on it’s journey. This bus was much better, more room and cooler we listened to music and I read while the driver picked up and dropped off various locals all the way. This is the norm for SE Asia and it doesn’t bother me, it’s funny to see all the different people jumping on and off.
Three hours later and the minibus man dropped us right outside our hotel for the next 3 nights, Sam’s House. We got our own little hut with a bed, tv and bathroom, everything we need. It was very cheap and seems lovely so far.
We headed out to a nearby bridge as we had heard the lantern festival was on properly tonight, walking down a dark road there were some kids letting off a paper lantern and not much else on the river so we walked down and got some food. We asked where the festivities were happening and once finished, were in a tuk tuk speeding down towards a lot of lights and music.
It was huge, a hundred times bigger than Koh Samet’s version. There were people everywhere selling flower arrangements with incense and a candle which you light and send down the river. We bought one each and a few cans of chang strolling past various food, drink and dessert carts. I wish we hadn’t eaten as there was so much that looked good, and there were chinese lanterns lighting up the sky like hundreds of fireflies.
It was so much fun as we walked down to the river to make our offerings and pray. The downside to the festival was a lot of fish and tiny turtles being kept in small buckets or bags for people to buy and then release them into the river. They just looked a bit sad as they were prodded and poked. We avoided these and went down steps to give our offerings. We prayed and the gifts were launched, a few baht in there for extra luck.
As we leisurely paced along the river we noticed some kids in the water, ripping up the offerings and taking the money that was held inside! Luckily ours got away but it’s a shame to see that even in Thailand you have people who try to ruin it, although no one seemed that bothered so maybe it’s normal! We watched hundreds of these lights float down stream and carried on wandering around taking everything in. I bought some weird marshmallow cream and shredded sweet potato taco type things that were amazing and we bought green popcorn for snacking on tomorrow.
Once we had seen everything a lovely lady tuk tuk driver took us back and we found a bar with connect 4 where it was a bit more even, but I still one. Little did I know Leia would have her revenge tomorrow night. After being talked at by a very dunk swiss expat who thought I was Turkish we decided to head home. Tomorrow we’re up early for elephants! Very excited.