We arrived in Bangkok at a time where the protests were at their all time low. I was very reluctant to come altogether, seeing as two children had died in bombing the previous day and it felt very unsafe to venture in. Fortunately, we had this map made by Richard Barrow depicting the main rally sites and areas to avoid and this, along with his Twitter account, allowed us to find a safe place to stay and to somewhat enjoy a slice of the city, albeit a very limited one. Our guesthouse was in Hua Lamphong and these photos were all taken in Chinatown. Hopefully tensions will have cooled down and we will be able to visit about more freely when we return in a few months.
We packed it up after our very brief pit stop in Bangkok and left for Kanchanaburi where we had a date with elephants at the Elephant World sanctuary. Potentially the highlight of our trip so far? After seeing a lot of tourists trekking on the back of elephants elsewhere in Thailand, it felt good to find this place and see that other people like us had done their research and were willing to pay a significant amount of money in order to donate a day of their life ‘working’ for the elephants, harvesting, preparing and giving them food. I really felt like everything revolved around the elephants wellbeing and they truly looked like a pack of happy puppies!
The rest of Kanchanaburi was good! We stayed at the V.N. guesthouse and I have nothing bad to say, it was clean and spacious and their restaurant had crack cocaine infused coffee. The city has got a few great markets and the WW2 Thai-Burma railway is definitely worth a look, although I found the set up very strange. The Thais are funny… I do understand that they generally like to “defuse” conflicts, having a giggle at each other’s misfortune and so forth, but this was simply weird. To make a very terrible analogy, it felt a bit like if there was a McDonald inside Anne Frank’s house. You know. I don’t know. Girls pouting at their smartphones doing selfies with the obligatory peace sign, shops selling tacky t-shirts, violinist playing “We will rock you”….! If you walk over the bridge and gather yourself a bit at the temple by the river and observe the bridge from there, it’s a much more meaningful experience.
I nearly forgot to mention that I had the best durian to date in Kanchanaburi! No idea where it was from, probably Malaysia… So ripe. So sweet. OMG.