25 November 2013

Travel Travel Travel: Chiang Mai to Bangkok to Koh Phangan

We left Chiang Mai bright and early to get back to Bangkok where we then had to wait until 9:00 to start our 12 hour bus-ferry trip to get to Koh Phangan for the Half Moon Party. A mistake we made when planning this trip is we booked all of our accommodations first and then booked our transportation around the country; not knowing that it would sometimes take a full day to get places. Live and learn.

We decided to make the most of our almost full day in Bangkok. We went to the Siam Paragon shopping mall where they will watch your luggage for free, presumably so you are free to shop as you please but as soon as it was safe, we were out of there. We headed to the Jim Thompson House. When we had first been planning our time in Bangkok, we had originally ruled out the Jim Thompson House but after reading a bit more about it, we were both really interested and excited.

Eating in Bangkok

It was only 100 baht to get in but because we were both under 25, it was half price. We headed in and were told we had to wait a half hour for the next English tour which we were fine with. We decided to head to the restaurant, and I would definitely advise against this. While the admission price to Jim Thompson is cheap, the restaurant was so expensive! 300 baht ($10 CAD) later (for only TWO drinks), accompanied by rude and slow service, and we were on our tour. Now that I am reading this, I think living and travelling in Taiwan has made stingy...

The house was beautiful and the story of Jim Thompson was interesting. I am glad we changed our minds and ended up going here. If you are ever in Bangkok, I would highly recommend making a stop here. There are two souvenir shops here and they are very different. The one outside of the actual exhibit is ridiculously expensive for all different kinds of silk, purses, Christmas ornaments; not really worth it unless you are very into silk. However, the store inside is definitely worth a visit. They sell reprints of the original paintings that Jim Thompson collected for very reasonable prices.

After our souvenir buying, we were off to explore a bit more. We ended up just walking the streets for a bit before heading to where we were taking the bus to Koh Phangan. We decided to go there early to check in and eat some dinner. We booked our combination bus and ferry ticket through Lomprayah. After booking this but before the trip, I had read some horrible reviews online about Lomprayah and I was actually terrified for this trip. I insisted we buy a lock for our suitcase and was scared to fall asleep for the fear that someone would mug me. But this was not the case, it really is true that more people take the time to write reviews if they had a bad experience. Our experience with Lomprayah was not perfect (how could it be with an overnight bus ride and a ferry ride at 5AM?), but it was nothing even near the horrors I had read online and subsequently scared myself with.

Exploring Bangkok

Carrying around luggage made Rick crazy

Waiting for our bus

Finally on the bus

Sketchy rest stop

Long lines

13 hours later.. we were in Koh Phangan.

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