We had decided last night that getting up early was a write-off so didn’t get up until around 11-12. Had quite a lot we wanted to get done; mainly printing out a form for the elephant nature park (where we’re helping the dogs tomorrow) getting out money from the ATM for ourselves and to pay the dog people with, seeing a few wats and also the night market.
The first thing I did was go to the toilet and remembered that I hadn’t mentioned that we have to put our loo roll in the bin after we’ve used it cos the drains aren’t strong enough to carry it off. I obeyed the signs but I’ll tell you this: if it can deal with what I’ve been throwing at it, it can carry off a bit of toilet roll too.
We trudged around for quite a bit in the heat looking for an ATM. Walking any distance is harder here as you get pestered a lot more by people trying to flog you stuff. It’s like bumping into an old schoolmate every twenty yards, so we’ve just started ignoring all but the most friendly/persistent hawkers. After trying a few machines, we realised that we can get out ฿10,000 but not ฿20,000. I was worried at first cos I thought my card might’ve been blocked but then we tried a lower amount and it was okay. I suppose there’s a withdrawal limit on my card, which is annoying cos it costs ฿220 every time you use the machines no matter how much you get out. Sneaky Thais.
There was a printing shop outside our hotel but it’s gone. Well Lauren says it was there, but I don’t trust her after the wall incident, so we’re just gonna pretend we didn’t know we needed it. We headed to wat Phra Singh (pronounced “fra sing” I think) to check that out, as people online and the guide book keep banging on about it. The grounds are free to explore but it’s ฿20 to go inside. I’d say save your ฿20 and explore the outside if you’re passing but don’t go too far out your way. It was so impersonal as it’s the busiest wat in town. There’s a roundabout as you go in with taxis and tuk tuks all hanging about, you can hardly find a place on the steps up to the temple to put your shoes as there so many there, and inside there are lots of people taking pictures of the shrine and of the monks who were busy doing their thing.
After buying your “foreigner ticket” to get in there were loads of other things they were trying to sell: flowers to leave, Buddha statues, etc. proper tourist-trap style, and nothing spectacular either. The only difference to the wat we saw the other day was it had a bigger Buddha at the front and had real life old men monks sat meditating, not even blinking (there were tourists taking their picture too which is quite rude I believe). They were skinny, like you could see their bones through their arms. Lauren said it was ‘cos they thought it made them closer to heaven and I agreed as they looked half dead anyway.
Outside was okay around the back. Loads of cars parked at the sides, and stalls selling tat everywhere, but there were some nice paths lined with bamboo and some golden monuments—some quite big—some bells, a gong, some monks having chats with westerners, a tiny hall with a reclining Buddha, some golden monks and some lanterns. We had a nice sit down in the shade as Lauren was really struggling with the heat even though we had a big gulp of coke. We popped in another wat on route but Lauren was bored of them by now. She said once you’ve seen one you’ve seen ‘em all. I don’t think that’s true; I think once you’ve seen one you’ve seen half. This one was like a wat from Lidl with mounds of rubble everywhere and we didn’t stay long.
On the way back I gave in and tried a fresh coconut. Always wanted to and I was gonna wait till we were at a beach so I didn’t look silly but I just went for it. It was great. The fella took my ฿35, got me a massive coconut still in its big green husk and macheted the top of and popped in a lovely pink straw. I thought there would only be a bit of water in it but there was at least a pint in there. Very refreshing and tasty. 10/10.
We came back to the hotel and sorted out banking and emails before heading out again to Mickeys where we went all out and had a slap-up meal. Lauren had sweet and sour tofu with rice in a teddy bear shape and three big spring rolls, a beer lao and a water. I had a fried rice dish with fries and the same drinks. There was a weird white sauce that I covered my chips in. I thought was mayo but it tasted like a polo mint. The beer was expensive (฿75) ‘cos it’s imported, but it’s one of my faves so I treated myself. Horror: it was a dark version. Higher abv and tasted bitter and sharp instead of crisp and floaty. Not happy. Meal stuffed us but came to ฿350.
We headed to the night market after that. It happens twice a week on a Sat and Sun. We’ve read that the food one is on Sunday and clothes, souvenirs etc on Saturday. It’s a fib; it was all mixed up. Never take for granted anything people write (especially this!) It was packed to the rafters. Streets and streets lined with stalls and all the tourists shuffling in between. 80% of the tourists were Chinese. Stalls sold all sorts: arts, trinkets, funky lamps, mini sewing machines, food, drinks, fresh produce, cool candles, etc. There are a few stalls that have handmade gear as you can see them making it but most of it, although interesting, is just bulk bought Id’ imagine as after maybe twenty yards or so you start seeing the same stuff you saw back down the road. If you go down the side streets it was a bit cheaper too. It was a good atmos mostly even though it was annoying getting around it. One part of it sprawled out into a temple area which was pretty and down one dead end street was a live Lanna folk band playing for donations near a load of benches, so we had a rest and a listen.
I was in the market (literally) for a long top and pants as were burning through the insect repellent but couldn’t find a top cheaper than ฿250. I’d rather get dengue fever. It’s not exactly cheap but that might be ‘cos its so touristed. It was dark and all the stalls just had little lights on so it was quite cute at first but when we got a bit used to the environment we realised how hot and sweaty it was so we left, but it was definitely worth going even if you’re skint cos there’s all sorts to looks at. The only thing I got was a lychee slushie for ฿20. It was mostly ice with about 3-4 lychees in, but it was still nice and good to try it. Lauren got herself a pretty flowy dress while I made up lies to escape the man who was begging me to buy his trousers (the ones on his stall, not on his legs).
We got back home after only nearly being mowed down once. We did wish we knew that there was food there cos we would have liked to branch out and try all the street food there, but we were so full. The room was so hot when we got back but the hallway is cool. I neither understand nor like this fact.