2 days before ThaiIntro was due to start we stayed at the Wild Orchid Villa, which was where our tour began. On the day everyone began to arrive we met two people due to start our tour – Abi and Kyle. At first, Kyle came across really shy, however as soon as he had a few drinks down him that evening he was partying the night away! We headed to a sky bar which was the tallest one in Bangkok. When we had finally gone up the 83 levels in the elevator, we walked up a few more steps to a revolving platform which circled the tower, giving 360 degree views of Bangkok. It was the most breathtaking skyline I had ever seen, with the lights from the buildings, cars and streetlights below reflected up onto the clouds. I don’t think I’ll ever see Bangkok look more beautiful than that!
On the first full day of ThaiIntro we headed to Songkran Temple, where we were handed a Lotus flower, incense sticks and a candle. We were taken to do an offering to the gods where we could make a wish; you first lit the candle and placed it on a metal bar, then lit the incense sticks and held them between your hands with the lotus flower while you prayed. After you had made your wish, you placed the lotus flower in some water, the incense sticks in some sand, and then stuck the gold leaf we wore on our foreheads into a elegantly decorated metal trough. We were then blessed by a monk – he basically hit us over the head with incense sticks covered in water, and pretty hard as well! He seemed to find it pretty funny watching us trying to recite his prayers, and ended up smirking the whole way through!
After that we got into a boat to take us to Wat Pho, one of the most famous temples in Bangkok. They have the Reclining Buddha – a monument which mean a lot to Thai Culture and people travel far and wide just to pray beneath it. Apparently if you are married and unable to conceive, and pray underneath the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho for children, you conceive straight away!
On the way to Wat Pho on the boat, we also spotted Komodo dragons swimming in the river, which are apparently eaten often by the people that live along the riverside – not sure it’s something I’d like to try soon… Our tour guide for the day was called Son Pon, he was a small, rounded Thai man who looked in his 50’s, wore an old cap back to front vet his long black pony tail and had a handlebar moustache. He may have looked crazy, but he was the funniest, sweetest Thai man we have met yet! He loved us all so much that he bought us all a little key ring which looked like him, and bought us some bread so we could feed the carp in the river underneath one of the temples. We also had ice cream from his family shop – so yummy!
That evening we headed for a night out in Bangkok, which consisted of eating scorpions, consuming many buckets of cocktails, and trying to teach our tour guide Louis how to dance. He’s 26 and from England and has been a tour guide for about 6 months now. He thinks he is very cool but his dance moves definitely let him down!
The morning after the night our we headed to Mays cooking class, where she taught us all how to make Pad Thai and Tom Yam soup, both of which were delicious and I cannot wait to make again as soon as we’re back. We then had a competition to see who could make the best curry, and we ended up coming second purely for presentation, it did end up a little burnt by the end! Aggie even got to make her own gluten free Thai dishes without Soy Sauce, which tasted just as good as ours!
That evening we got a night train to Khao Sok national park, which was identical to our one from Chiang Mai to Bangkok. We played cards on my little bunk bed with Louis, and Chloe did rollie pollies down the isle to get to the toilet once everyone had got to sleep. These train rides definitely make us a little bit delirious!