Today was my last day in Thailand. Victoria and I had booked a cooking class at the Helping Hands Thai Cooking school. The lessons are run by a lady called Poo (Poo is actually her nick name, derived from her full name Champoo – Thai for rose apple). Poo lives in the Klong Toey area of Bangkok, where she used to run a small food stall. She was only making just enough money to feed her family, when the Helping Hands organisation approached her and helped to set up a cooking school. With some help from her catchy nickname, her Cooking With Poo classes are now very popular! Other residents of Klong Toey also benefit from the business, supplying aprons, cloth bags and raw materials used in the classes. If you’re interested in the class, I’d highly recommend it! Check out the Cooking with Poo website or Facebook page.
After a full day at Ayutthaya, I was ready for a quiet day on Wednesday. After a sleep in, Victoria and I went to a shopping centre called Terminal 21. Each floor is themed like a different country, and the signs above the escalators are like airport boarding gates. We checked out the theme on each floor, and stopped in at an impressive Rome themed toilet. I bought a tshirt and a funky bow tie, and we had lunch in the food court. It was a nice lazy way to start the day!
Today I made my way across the city to visit the Grand Palace, and neighbouring Wat Pho. The Grand Palace used to be the official residence of the king, although now it is only used for official events. It’s a large complex of buildings built on Rattanakosin Island, a man made island created when a canal was built which separated that piece of land from the rest of the city. From Victoria’s apartment, the best way to get there was two trains to Central Pier, then the Chao Phraya Express Boat to the Tha Chang stop which is just across the road from the Palace.
After a busy week, I had a slightly lazier day on Sunday. We’d been pretty not stop in Chiang Mai, and spent a lot of time on our feet yesterday exploring Chatuchak market. Today we slept in, then went for a lazy coffee with Marwan (it was his one day off work for the fortnight). We went to a nice coffee shop, that reminded me of the sort of place you’d find back home. After coffee we wandered a shopping centre for a little while, then Marwan decided to head back home while Victoria and I continued on to Wat Saket on the Golden Mount.
Although we had spent the previous day exploring the Warorot market in Chiang Mai, today we visited Bangkok’s largest market – Chatuchak market. It’s only open on weekends, so this was really our only chance to visit. I’m glad we did, because I’ve never been to a market so large! It sells everything from clothes to food, toys, souvenirs, furniture, second hand trash and treasure and pets, and we managed to spend the better part of a day there.
My suitcase is packed and I’m ready to go! Stay tuned for updates when I touch down in Bangkok in 12 hours time.