Dejavoo… Our alarms went off in unison and we struggled out of bed. It was 4am local time and our chauffeur was to pick us up in half an hour. Blurry eyed and bushy haired we dragged ourselves down to the lobby in time to meet Tong, our driver for the day. As the sun wasn't going to rise till 6 or so we had planned to sleep on the way but the sights were too interesting. Almost every third property seemed to have a shrine of some sort lit up in their front yard! One thing that stood out for me apart from all the stray dogs was how messy everything was. There might be a brand new looking building with a new tractor outside but the shed would have all manner of crap strewn around inside and outside in no particular order.
After a couple hours of driving we rolled up to the Bridge over the River Kwai and were given an explanation of how the Japanese had had the railway built so they could get their supplies into India and back up their invasion. In reality it should have taken 5 years to build this railway but the Japanese made it happen in 1 year by sacrificing so many lives that they estimate every sleeper laid signifies a life lost in the creation of the railway. The rectangular sections in the middle of the bridge show the section that was rebuilt after the allies blew it sky high. You can wander out onto the bridge however if a train comes you must move behind the red line on one of the out boxes shown here otherwise they take no responsibility to what happens to you.
We set off again through the country side in search of the tiger temple. We were looking forward to playing with some tiger cubs however we soon learned that the tiger cubs were already one-year-old… a little too big to play with and cuddle!
After feeding the “cubs” bottles of milk we had breakfast which consisted of curries, tom yum soup, sweet bread etc…. how else do you start a hot muggy day in Thailand?!
We then went on to walk and wash the tigers before being let loose in a cage with 8 unleashed (huge) tigers most of whom were wanting to play… much like a big kittens!
Occasionally they would get a little close for comfort as they played with one another or chased a bag on the stick we were holding. After 3 hours of tiger activities under the hot morning Thai sun we had both developed a headache from lack of water and were dying for a drink so we cleaned up and hit the road again.
The next port of call was to bathe with the elephants and go for a bare back ride through the jungle. We arrived at the elephant sanctuary and, after getting changed into our swimmers, climbed on our elephants. Mine was called Dummy and Louise’s was called Tookie Boogie or something similar… lol. Sitting on the neck of an elephant feels so high up and as my elephant, Dummy, moved down to the riverbank I felt like I was going to topple off at any moment. We rode into the river and climbed onto the elphants heads so we could jump into the river. We jumped off the elephants into the mirky water and were scooped straight back up by their trunks. Our elephants reared onto their hind legs before slamming us into the water. They would also suck up water and raise their trunks and we would grab the trunk and direct it at the other drenching them in a torrent of water. After a lot of fun playing with the elephants Louise boarded Dumbo and joined me for a bareback ride around the “Jungle”.
We haggled price over a few souvenirs before hitting the road in search of a Thai restaurant for lunch. We had chicken broth soup for entrée followed by sweet and sour chicken, chicken cashew, Thai egg omelette and stir fried vegies which were washed down with a bottle of Chiang Thai beer. We finished lunch quickly as we were needing to head back to Bangkok to beat the peak hour traffic.
We arrived back to our hostel feeling wasted but with so little time left to explore Bangkok we headed for a quick wander of the Siam Paragon mall which has all the high end shops and a level which includes Lamborghini’s, Porsche, BMW’s and a couple of Ducati’s on display. We grabbed a couple of sausages and a bucket of deep-fried chicken as a snack and soon were hoping that we don’t get food poisoning as some of the deep fried chicken was hot and some was cold… time will tell!
Not wanting to leave anything undone we caught a taxi to the sky bar where we lay on a couch gazing out over the view of Bangkok at night marvelling at how even the uglier areas look beautiful once the sun has gone down and the lights begin to twinkle. We bumped into a magician from South Africa who was on honeymoon and he performed a few magical acts including changing the time of my watch whilst it was wrapped in my hand and picking up my wedding ring without fingers.
On our way back to the hotel we dropped by a night market which we gave up on pretty quickly when we kept being shown menus for strip joints etc. We hailed a Tuk Tuk and headed back to our room for a final night of sleep before heading off to Dubai.