Touching down at Don Mueang International Airport, we weren’t entirely sure what our next move was. We had intended to stay with our friend Chris, who we lived with in Hanoi, and has been living in Thailand with his pregnant girlfriend. However, the day before arriving, we found out that she had gone into labour early, and just had her baby. Of course we insisted that we would stay in Bangkok and visit them later in the year, but Chris told us he’d let us know.
Once we had collected our baggage in Bangkok, we bought a SIM card from a stall in the airport and called our friend to find out what he wanted us to do. He was adamant that he wanted us to come visit him in Wat Sing, and so we got on the next bus that took us to Chai Nat. This was a surprisingly quick journey.
Disembarking in Chai Nat, we waited for our friend in a nearby café and after reuniting, we went to pick up his girlfriend and beautiful newborn son, Artie, from the hospital. Obviously we felt quite bad about this, as if we were imposing on a really special moment between the family, but noone seemed to mind.
It took about an hour by car to get to Wat Sing, a small village where the family live. We spent the next few days driving, drinking beer and playing with the baby. During one of our drives around the village, we came across a several beautiful temples. One of these temples was pretty modern, and instead of there being an actual Buddhist monk there to bless you, there were seven model buddhas, into which you had to put money in order to be blessed. These models represented each day of the week, so if it was Sunday you should put money in the Sunday buddha to get your daily blessing. Of course when Chris interpreted that if he put money into each one, at the same time, he would be blessed for every day of the week. As the building filled with the echoing sounds of seven loud prayers all at once, I sneaked outside to feed the hungry catfish in the river outside.
Another unforgettable excursion led us to another temple, next to which we saw hundreds of steps leading up a steep hill. Curious, we dismounted the bikes and headed up to see where it led… regretting it half way up!
It took us no less than half an hour to reach the top in the heat and humidity and were a little disappointed to find that it in fact led to nothing, but an empty wooden shed in the middle of nowhere… and a pretty amazing view!
As the sky began to turn from bright blue to
light grey, we made our way back down the 700+ steps, legs wobbling as we did so. Back on the bikes, the rain set in and we made ourselves comfortable in a nearby beer hut.
Nok’s grandparents were incredibly welcoming and they live in a beautiful tropical green area. I particularly enjoyed showering in the shed outside and eating coconuts that fell from their trees. However, the mosquitoes were relentless. Brendan and I slept directly on the tiled floor in the living room area (not the most comfortable sleep we’ve ever been). Of course, as we were in the countryside in rural Thailand, there were no doors separating outside from inside, and the small 2m x 6m mosquito net draped over us in the middle of the floor did nothing to stop these little monsters getting to us. In fact, no amount of mosquito repellent was going to keep these hungry beasts at bay and after three days of torment, we were a little relieved not to be sleeping by their side again.
After three wonderful days exploring Wat Sing, Chris took us back to the nearest city, Chai Nat, where we caught a bus back to Bangkok.