I held a Tiger Cub. I'm so HAPPY!!!!
I've had the best day of the trip the moment I got to hold a tiger cub. It was like a dream come true!
One for the girls... a must read... Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes. about a New York society girl, its very funny! Here's the Amazon link [url]www.amazon.co.uk/Bergdorf-Blondes-Plum-Sykes/dp/014101394X/ref=pd_bowtega_1/026-5885212-9962816?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1182604490&sr=1-1[/url]
Anyway, onto my travels....
Sunday 17th June
Went to the cinema in Siam to see Pirates of the Caribbean 3. The cinema was really posh and nice. We got in just as the film started and missed the traditional National Anthem which is played before every film performance and everyone has to stand up.
The film was good, although a little confusing in places as I still haven't seen the second one! But it was still good.
Monday 18th June
We got the Skytrain in the morning and then a taxi to Ko Ratanakosin. The first stop we made was at the Grand Palace. I grabbed a Greek Salad from the station, and ate it at the park opposite the Palace, it was divine to say the least.
It was 250B, but there was a big sign saying "Free for Thai"!! Can't you believe it?! We could never do that in England! Inside there were stunning buildings all around. We went inside Wat Pha Kaew (Wat means Temple), there were mosaics all over the outside, must have taken ages to do! Inside was the Emerald Buddha (which is actually made of Jade). The King comes and changes his outfit when the season changes, theres Hot Season, Rainy Season and Cool Season.
The Grand Palace is such a lovely building, all in white, expect for the roof which has gorgeous gold details. All around are guards surrounding it. In the grounds was a coin museum which we popped into, but as we thought, it was a little dull, so made a quick exit!!
On the outside of the Palace, on a roundabout, there is a big statue of 3 white elephants, which have some history there as they use to be real and live in the grounds, 2 died and the last lives in another palace.
After that we walked to the National Museum, but it was shut Mon and Tue... the Lonely Planet didn't say that!!! Rubbish! So we went for lunch in a cute cafe, I had my favourite, Green Curry... was having a craving for it! Well nice!
After lunch we went to Wat Pho and it was pretty amazing. Before we got in there though a Tuk Tuk driver was telling us that is was closed and suggested going elsewhere... luckily we'd read that they lie to tourists and get money put of them by taking them elsewhere!! So we told him no and went to the temple, and guest what? It was open!! Inside was a giant gold Buddha, lying on its side, just barely fitting into the temple. It was surprisingly big!
After we'd seem the temple we got a taxi to Siam and had a look around the MBK centre, which is a shopping centre with some stalls included. It was good. Weren't there too long.
Got the Skytrain back, was sooooooo tried, so as soon as I got in (8ish) i went to bed, and slept 12 hours straight!!!!
Tuesday 19th June
It was great to have such a good sleep and feeling much brighter today, although you can never feel that bright in this humidity!
We set off and got the local train to Chinatown, at the main station we booked out overnight train to Chang Mei. We wanted to go to an modern art gallery there that sounded really cool, called 'About Studio/About Cafe', but where it was meant to be wasn't open. Boo.
So walked on to Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, took a while to find it and when we did we weren't very impressed!!!! So we walked onto Dusit Park, which was a fair way, so we stopped at a nice bakery and had lunch. i had a Ham Croissant, really liking the savoury Croissants!
We ended up getting a taxi from there and got to the park, just in time for some Tradition Thai Dancing... which had been cancelled!!!! NOOOOO! So I had a free ticked for the Vimanmek Golden Teakwood Mansion, which we got from the Grand Palace, but Jem forgot hers! So I went in and had a tour around. It was security tight, no bags or anything were allowed inside as the King and Queen sometimes go there. It was good, really pretty.
Met Jem after and made our way back to Baz's, by that time we were tired, hot and sweaty and looking forward to getting home!!
That night we just chilled out, didn't do too much, well couldn't really! Went for street food, it was well good! Yummy!!
Wednesday 20th June
Thought we'd go and get our visa's sorted for China and Vietnam. Well it was more hassle than ever! Bangkok is a nightmare to get around it really is absolute hell! Nothing is ever easy here!!
We got off the Skytrain and walked for miles to find the Chinese embassy, but couldn't find it. Later found out that if we'd walked just a bit further we would have got there! AHH!! By this point we'd lost the will to live and went to Siam Square to look around the massive shopping centres they have there. That cheered us up!!
Not up to too much in the evening, so warn out from the endless walking around in the heat!!
Thursday 21st June
Today we decided to travel to the Tiger Temple, and its a fair way from Bangkok, so was a very early start! We were up at 5am, and had to get the local train to the main train station. The train was a little late and forever slow! When we got to the main train station we had to get a taxi to Bangkok Noi station across the river... yep they don't do a train there! As the traffic was getting busy we missed the 7.45am train by mins! Luckily the Southern bus terminal was close by and managed to get a bus from there to Kanchanaburi, it was a shorter journey than expect, 2 and a half hours. When we got there we had to get a local bus to the temple. On the same bus was a Canadian girl getting off at the same stop as us, so we got chatting to her.
From the road the temple was about 30 mins walk, which in th blistering heat felt like forever!! Eventually we made it! It was 300B donation (so not quite a donation) but thy explained how this was for the tigers upkeep and we got a little booklet explaining all about it.
We walked in the gates of the temple, it was like woodland, with several wild boars running around. We walked up to an area where people were gathering around, when we got there, much to our surprise, was a monk sitting down playing with a tiger cub. We didn't expect to see a cub so this was truly amazing.
At a certain time they walked him over to a tree and tied him up so he couldn't wonder off, we all bent down and had photos done with him and stroked him, so soft and cute! Then some people were being allowed to hold him for photos, he started to get a little grumpy so he was put down for a bit. The larger tigers were now out, looking at them was so amazing, I could feel myself welling up with emotion. I can't explain the feeling of a lifelong dream coming true.
After the cub had played with his big bro I asked if I could hold him, I could not miss out on this amazing opportunity. The lady picked him up and handed him to me. Oh my god, it was the most unbelievable feeling of emotion. He was so soft and cuddly, yet quite big and heavy for a 3 month old. I couldn't take in that that was happening to me. I was so happy. He managed to maneuver himself and started chewing my neck... ouch! It was funny though-still have a few scratches! Jem held him after me.
They big tigers were being walked to the canyon, everything was so well organised, staff were everywhere and sorted everyone out into a line and took cameras to take peoples photos. Gradually I got to walk along side the tiger, hand on his back and a monk on the other side to keep control. Wow.
When we got to the canyon where four of the tigers were sat casually. A staff member led me around the area, holding my arm, so I don't stray I s'pose and upset a tiger! Another staff member had the camera. I sat with each tiger and had many photos taken. Got to stroke them too, but was a little worried they might turn round and bite, but they do say they are riser from cubs and tame. They are such stunning, amazing creatures though.
After we'd done that one of the tour guides book us with her group to see the tiger cub agin. This time he was in the enclosure with his mum. Then we walked around to another enclosure where a mum tiger had just given birth five days ago to three cubs. We could only just see them, they looked the same size as a normal cat!!
From there we met Mew Mew, a type of bear!! First of all we got to feed him some nuts then, got to stand next to him, make him stand up and feed him some milk. It was funny, whn I stop feedin him the milk he took to hugging me to get the bottle!! The tour guide had to come rescue me as the I couldn't hand the bottle to the monk that was here as it is wrong for a female to pass anything to a monk. It has to be a male.
Then it was time to go and start the long journey back! We walked the hike to the road and waited get for a bus to come, got back to Kanchanaburi bus station then got a bus back to Bangkok. This time it took about 4 hours! I finished my amazing book so was so very bored and frustrated! But the day was so fantastic, the hours of travelling was worth every minute of being there and it was the best day of my travels.
Eventually we go back to Baz's and told hi m all about our exciting day. As a treat he got us a Curry Doughnut... yes a Curry Doughnut! Well as I have weird taste I kind of liked it, Jem didn't and Baz refused to try it. It was quite an experience!
Friday 22nd June
I got up and went to Siam in the morning to get a few last bit and bobs before leaving Bangkok. Jem was in need of a lie in so she stayed at Baz's. When I returned I got some packing done then we headed up to the pool to enjoy some pool time then went on Internet and finally sorted photos out!
Although its been great staying at Barry's and his sofas were very comfy and very nice of him, the mouldy shower curtain wasn't the most pleasant! We tried to buy a new one but couldn't find a shop that sells them! Also I cannot stand smoking and he smokes a lot!
Anyway we got sorted and went out for dinner across the road, just had chicken fried rice, it was ok, not as good as Green Curry! From there we picked up our stuff and headed to the local train, to the main station where we were getting the overnight train to Chiang Mei from.
The train had bunk beds and Jem and I were allocated certain beds. Each had a curtain across for privacy. Jem had top bunk and mine was at the bottom by a window, so I had a nice breeze. Opposite us were two guys, one from LA and one from Holland. The guy from LA was a bit of a tart but seemed nice, but the one from Holland just annoyed me so I went to bed, well watched out the window a bit and listened to my iPod.
Saturday 23rd June
Still on the train, had an ok sleep actually. I just got just and chilled and red the Lonely Planet. Well there wasn't much else to do!! 15 hours later we arrived in Chang Mei!!!!
We got a taxi straight to Julies Guest House which was recommended to us. It seems much nicer here than Bangkok, the air is clearer... you can literally see the pollution in the air there!!
We had a little look around, booked a trip for later in the week and tried to find out about how to get to Vietnam from here. Well... dad... you'll be relieved to know that I don't think we'll be going as its so much work from here, I mean days of travelling and going to end up very expensive! So looks like we'll be spending longer in Hong Kong and Beijing, which we're excited about!!!
Had a very late lunch... green curry... yummy! But was so stuffed!
Not much else planned for tonight! Can't take in just how quick time is going and how soon we'll be back! Can't wait to see everyone!
Miss you xxxxxxxxxx