November 4, 2015 4:33PM JST
Last day of my Thailand trip. After I woke up on the bench outside the Lomprayah office, I met two Dutch travelers at about 7AM. They came to the office and were setting their belongings down under the net. I talked to them and asked what they were doing in Koh Tao. They were students studying environmental resource management, from a university of applied science (Van Hall Larenstein) in the city of Leeuwarden, Netherlands. At the time, I was not aware that a university of applied science was equivalent to institution of technology, which was a common name in Canada – for example, a similar school from my hometown Vancouver is called British Columbia Institution of Technology (BCIT). The students were in Koh Tao for an internship with the New Heaven Diving School on a marine conservation course with emphasis on coral reef conservation. The internship was mainly scuba diving, pretty much everday, and I was a little jealous and I wished I could come back and take that course too.
These two Dutch students missed their Lomprayah bus to Koh Tao at around 6AM. They missed because they took taxi to Khao San Road from airport and the taxi driver told them to wait at the visitor centre. Of course, the taxi driver was wrong. For my case, I booked online and the ticket specifically told me to wait outside Lomprayah office. So I guess it would be their fault of not figuring out where to meet. Actually, before they came, there was a group of couple Mandarin-speaking (northern, they had northern Chinese accent I believe) Chinese people who also missed their bus because the bus apparently left few minutes earlier and they arrived at the office for like 5-10 minutes prior. This was again, their fault, because my ticket told me to be at the office 30 minutes to ensure I would not miss the bus. They ended up taking a taxi all the way to Chumphon port. When you are travelling internationally and visit the country for the first time, be sure to read instructions if you have purchased a ticket online and do not miss any details.
After the Dutch students and I separated, there was really nothing for me to do while staying there, so I decided to do a last minute tour of Bangkok. The Dutch told me they went to Lumphini Park few days prior and they enjoyed it seeing huge reptiles (medium-sized I would say), so I have decided my destination would be Lumphini Park.
As I got to the tuktuk waiting station at the end of the road near the Lomprayah office, I greeted the tuktuk driver and asked how much it would be to get to Lumphini Park then to the train station. He said it would be 200 baht with both stops – at actually, I negotiated from 300 baht. Then I told him to wait for me for about 5 minutes so I can grab my belongings.
While on tuktuk, the tuktuk ran out of gas. He ended up calling a nearby tuktuk driver and this tuktuk pulled our tuktuk to nearest gas station. I was afraid that I had to pay gas fee. I ended up not. I did not know direction and streets of Bangkok so I had no idea where we were going and I had no choice but to trust him. We ended up at somewhere far off the Lumphini Park and the place was called Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, which was also known as White Marble Palace.
I was like…Why am I here? Where is the park? Is the park behind one of those fences? I asked many questions in my head and I asked the tuktuk driver too. I was shocked to learn that the Lumphini Park was very far away and we went in completely in a different direction. I insisted that he lied to me and why I ended up here and I would refuse to pay him any money because he tricked me. And yes, he did lie to me, without telling me everything when we first started off. He finally told me, after we arrived at a completely different location, that the Lumphini Park was closed on holidays and weekends. He said he can wait for me while I take photo of the palace and drive me to Marble Temple, about 200m away, and then to train station. I refused to allow him to waste my time so I only gave him 100 baht (I think I was quite generous) and said goodbye.
I dropped my belongings off. I sat hunched with my elbows on one of my legs and palm on my cheek by the sidewalk at the entrance of the Palace as though I was super bored. I sat there for few minutes thinking what I should do next.
I decided I was wasting my time anyway sitting there all by myself. I took a couple of pictures of the building and the scripture of royal guard (?). There were four or five Thai in front of the scripture with flowers or praying materials praying in front of the scripture. I was morning of Sunday, after all.
I decided not to wait and go into the Palace, which was also a museum. It was probably too early for me to go in and I probably did not have enough money.
For the rest of the day, I relaxed at the Wat Benchamabophit (Marble Temple). So far, this was probably the best temple I have visited in Bangkok. It was free. Very few tourists. Not many locals either. It was quite small though, and that was what I loved. Small, but plenty to see. Red crossing bridges over river, temple at the main area, some houses inside, and some Buddhists walking around.
While at the Marble Temple, I talked to some young Thai locals who could actually speak English. We talked a bit – since I did not want to be lonely and wanted to talk to someone. I also needed to check time as I broke my phone.
I stayed at the Marble Temple from about 8AM to around 12:30PM. I was relaxing by ‘trying’ to take a nap on the bench and enjoyed the lovely summer breeze under trees along a tiny river flowing in the tiny park of the Temple.
I did not want to spend money on the taxi. I asked one of the Thai locals asking for how long it would take me to walk to the train station. He said it was very far and the best option was to take taxi. I asked for Google Map anyway and it showed that it would take me approximately 30 min to walk to the station. Well, since it was only 30 min, I gave it a go. It seemed to me that the Thai people did not walk long distance and many chose the option of taking taxi. Well…they get to pay much less than me the tourist, and that is the fact.
I walked from the Marble Temple in the direction of the train station. I was carrying a heavy backpack (too heavy for me to carry for hiking), a camera bag – carrying by switching hands, and one bag of food. I stopped many times and I was walking like an old woman with difficulty of walking.
Along the way, I saw a glimpse of caiman-like small size reptile (maybe it was a caiman after all) along the river and the other side had a guard with a rifle standing outside an area of importance – I think it had something to do with military. I quickly grabbed DSLR out of my bag and successfully took photo of caiman before it ran into a sewage hole (it was smart!).
By the time I got to the intersection of highway under the highway bridge, I got sick due to the awful smell of traffic. Maybe I was too thirsty from the dryness and hotness. I was not sure. I was indeed running out of water quickly.
I settled my belongings down and sat. There was a Thai man walking across the crosswalk and noticed I was feeling sick. He was very nice person – the first time I have ever met someone who could help a stranger. His English was not good, but he could at least understand and speak some English. I asked him where Seven Eleven was, and luckily, it was only five minute walk away!
He carried my plastic bag holding food and he led me to Seven Eleven. I quickly bought an ice bar and munched on it. I was quickly refreshed and felt much better. I no longer coughed up and could finally relax.
The Thai helper called her sister and told her sister to speak English to me as he thought I did not understand his English. Well, both he and his sister insisted me to take taxi to train station, which was literally only fifteen minutes away and I could see it from outside of Seven Eleven. I kindly rejected the offer and also rejected the food that he offered me. That would be too much for me. He ended up giving me a religious amulet, which I had no clue what the surface meant. It was a picture of something. Well, this one, I had to accept.
We later said goodbye and he went to bus stop just outside Seven Eleven. Well, after about maybe 20 minutes, his bus never came and he went to a different bus stop, in the direction of where we were coming from. It was Sunday, after all.
It was an interesting last day staying in Bangkok, I must admit. I ended up taking a spot in Seven Eleven and just sat there for 4.5 hours since it was too hot for me to stay outside, until it was the time to meet PP at the train station to pick up my forgotten contact lenses. The Seven Eleven employees were kind enough to let me sit at the edge and even offered me a chair to sit! I actually got super cold later on and I was wearing my orange jacket. I brought a coconut smoothie with pearls outside the Seven Eleven. It was super cheap – it was only 40 Baht, at about the same size of Bubble Tea that I used to drink in Canada. I was not sure whether it was flavoured or real coconuts, but it tasted very delicious. For 4.5 hours, I bought Thai jelly (20 Baht) and instant vermicelli (~35 Baht). I did not like vermicelli very much however. I only ate half of it and brought the rest of me to the train station later. I eventually felt sick and had to borrow a washroom at a university hospital beside the Seven Eleven.
Oh my god, that washroom had no toilet paper! I could not believe what I did. I swore I would never do that again in my life. I had to pick a not-so-dirty looking toilet paper from the trash can and swiped it. It wasn’t not pee, it was dump. I had to use two slices of paper. Remember, always carry tissue paper or toilet paper along with you while you travel!
I thanked the employees of Seven Eleven and set off to train station at around 5:30PM. The weather became very grey and fortunately, it was not raining at that time. Before I went to the ticket machine at the train station, I had to take last minute photo of entrance to train station. There was a high school girl coming down – she was wearing school uniform. I did a very brave thing, I must say. I asked her if I could take photo with her. At that time, her mom arrived. Her mom took photo us. I later realized that she had a grim face. Not sure if that meant she did not like the photo taken or she did not like going to school. It was her final year at school.
I did not realize there were two entrances at the train station. I forgot to ask where to meet PP. I saw many people exiting the other side so I decided to go to the other side and wait for her. Luckily, we met on our way to the meeting point. By this time, it was raining very heavily outside.
We looked for a place to eat but we both admitted were not hungry. So, we ended sitting and talked. She kindly bought a smoothie from Seven Eleven and bought one for her too. Unfortunately, my stomach still felt not well from earlier washroom so I drank a little bit and she only drank half of her drink too, since she had to leave at 7PM (our meeting time was 6PM).
Thereby, after that, we said goodbye, and I left for airport. Nothing much happened later on. But I did get lost at the airport in Kansai, Tokyo (KIX) (I had to pay an extra bus ticket for a ride to the airport from domestic terminal to international terminal) to find the lounge.