Day 1 in Thailand: Lost in Bangkok, found in Phetchaburi

SO!

At this point you know (if you read my article on my experience in Cambodia , that my next destination-and first one actually backpacking in Asia was to be Thailand.

This is probably the rockiest part of my journey…so let’s dive in.

Feb 27th 2017 

At this point I’m on my way to Thailand. I took a night bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok. Upon arriving at the night bus terminal I realize it’s just a hostel and I’m sitting in the lobby waiting until about 1 AM to be picked up by the bus-this whole time being harassed by the man that owned the hostel. Finally I was picked up, and the night bus turned out to actually be a very tight van which 9 of us were crammed into, plus the driver and two friends of the driver. Note to self, never ever eat vegetable samosas before a night bus… 7 hours later we arrive at the border for Thailand and are told to hop out. Bangkok is not at the border? I have no idea what’s going on and am super scared but I jump out, receive a big orange sticker on my shirt and am told to walk across the border. I join other backpackers as to not get lost as we start our walk across the border. I meet a really nice American guy and Brazilian guy and decide to tag along with them. We finally get to the border office and wait forever to get out passports stamped and be allowed to cross by foot. When we arrive on the other side there are swarms of people and tuk-tuks and vendors everywhere. Some men pick us out by our orange stickers and escort us to a much nicer van (with AC-YAY!) and very very loud Thai karaoke music blasting. We’re on the next leg of our journey and the van takes off for Bangkok.

Once we arrive in Bangkok the guys offer me to come with them to go find a hostel and some food, but I just let them know I’m going to meet someone and have to go. I know that there is a train heading to Phetchaburi in an hour so I head off for the train station.

Sleep deprived Laura decides she’ll be able to find her way around a massive capital city in a foreign country with absolutely no help-wrong.

I get on the metro station and ask for Phetchaburi-little do I know this is ALSO a neighbourhood in Bangkok. So I’m lead towards the neighbourhood, and after arriving there realize I’ve made a big mistake.

I burst out of the metro station onto the street and try to catch someones attention to get some help.

A man pulls over on a motorcycle and asks me where I’m headed, I let him know I need to be at the train station in 10 minutes and we take off.

I have never, ever driven so quickly on a motorcycle. We were weaving traffic with my massive backpack on my back, day pack on my side and yoga mat on my other side. We arrive at the train station and I throw 20 american dollars at him (SO MUCH MONEY) and run inside.

IMPORTANT TO KNOW – people do not show massive public displays of emotion in Thailand!

I’m here, bawling my eyes out, so sleep deprived, stressed out and lost and people let me skip the line to buy a ticket. When I get there I say I need to get to Phetchaburi. Little do I know there is also a Prachin Buri

PRO TIP – pronounce the city you’re going to CORRECTLY!

So I jump on the train, the wrong train and look around me. I’m supposed to be heading south, I know that-and so there should be some tourists on the train considering most people who arrive in Bangkok just grab a train south. Suddenly I get this gut wrenching feeling that something is wrong.

I ask someone beside me , does this train go North or South-pretty universal terms. They let me know it’s going North-East and I hop off.

Okay, 5 minutes until the train to Phetchaburi leaves now. Perfect, excellent.

Now I’m crying about 10 times harder.

Everyone is stopping trying to help me but nobody really speaks English. Finally someone understands me and points me towards the right train. Without a ticket (as seats are assigned on this train) I hop on and the train leaves almost instantly. Cue more of a meltdown.

Luckily for me a bunch of english speaking tourists were in the train section that I jumped on and they all assured me I was okay right now and I was heading the right way. Which was reassuring.

Now for the next four hours I spent my time going from car to car, sitting in empty seats as the train guards would catch me and I would start crying-them unable to deal with the display would send me to the next car.

Finally I arrived in Phetchaburi. SWEET RELIEF.
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When I arrived in Phetchaburi it was near dark and I was overwhelmed with how intense and different it was. This was a real, authentic Thai city. Monkey’s were everywhere and wild dogs, garbage in the streets, street food sizzling that smelled better than anything I could dream of making myself. Beautifully decorated homes and mini temples everywhere as well as offerings to gods. I arrived at Fern’s hostel shortly, which I highly recommend to everyone and was instantly made to feel at home.

Fast forward a much needed long sleep later, we woke up before the sun to go see some temples. Little did we know the temples don’t open until 9AM because you’ll find swarms of monkeys and wild dogs crowding them until the sun comes up and they have time to clear out. We still got this amazing sunrise though-as well as almost being attacked by monkeys it made for quite the interesting day.

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This is the white temple in Phetchaburi. I found it really interesting because most are so decorated with colour and shine and this was so simple and beautiful. I’d highly recommend going to check it out.

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Sunset beers on the roof of an abandoned building. One of my fondest memories of Thailand.

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This picture is of one doorway at the white temple. I thought it was done so beautifully and with such fine detail and wanted to share it!IMG_0035IMG_0081

Watching the sun set on Phetchaburi – another surreal moment.

Last but not least before we left Phetchaburi we had to check out the famed cave temple which truly did live up the hype!

You descend down probably 4 story’s of stairs into a dark cave.IMG_0142

In this cave you can observe massive statues to the buddha and offerings to him. This was probably one of my favourite cave temples that I observed in Asia. And it was nice and cool so you got a break from the heat!

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Yes that is a monkey jumping in the picture. No it’s not photoshopped. Yes it’s awesome.

So our time in Phetchaburi came to an end. I’ll never forget it and I’ll always cherish it, it was such an incredible time.

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