Another weekend was in order. This time I decided to go to an unknown place, couple of hours east from Bangkok. Why Chachoengsao? Well, it was only 2 hours away and it only cost 13baht (26p) to get there by train. Sometime the best times away are the unplanned, unexpected places… this was one of those.
After arriving in Chanchoengsao, my housemate and I searched for our guesthouse a few hundred metre down the main road. Yenjit Guesthouse was a beautiful, picturesque area, where the staff were extremely welcoming and accommodating. Even when we checked in, the lady on the desk showed us our rooms and the restaurant area and encouraged us to relax and have breakfast. We had just arrived… usually breakfast is only included once you stayed over night. With tables of refreshing fruit, tea, thai biscuits, toast and juice are stomach were soon filled.
Waiting for one of our other friends to meet us, we started to explore the town. Chachoengsao is not in any way a tourist destination, with many locals staring and greeting us. We hopped on a songtaow to the riverside to admire the City hall and City wall as well as going for a stroll along the river.
Eventually after transport problems, our friend met us at the main pretty park with high, green plants and colourful flowers, and a huge water fountain in the middle of a large lake. During the afternoon, we wandered around the main town, finding secret spots. Near the centre was Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan, which apparently is one of the biggest temples in Asia. Many thai were bustling around paying their respects and scouting around the market outside, which offered clothes, souvenirs and refreshments. There were a group of ladies in traditional, brightly coloured costumes dancing to music but most of them were unhappy and clearly did not want to be there.
Next on the agenda was to find the sand sculpture but unfortunately, it was no longer around so grabbed a Dairy Queen ice-cream and headed back to the guesthouse. At this point, I felt like I needed a massage. Once we had spoken to reception, they had easily arranged for a person to come to our room and do a full massage. This felt slightly strange, as the others were in the room, kind of watching and talking while the lady pulled and stood on my back, so this was a new experience.
In the evening, we grabbed some dinner at a local restaurant then went in search of some entertainment. With flashing neon lights and loud bass music, we went into Wipp bar with a rock live band. All the lyrics were in Thai. The main singer kept trying to communicate to us but just repeated himself. A group of Thai invited us to dance and drink with them but with our limited Thai and there limited English, we managed to find out a little about each other. When the bar closed, our bed for the night was more appealing than the local club so we roamed back.
The following day, after enjoying some complimentary breakfast from the Guesthouse, we jumped on a Songtaow to a market alongside the river in Chachoengsao. With narrow alleyways, full of local purchasing food and clothes, we managed to squeeze through to see what the market had to offer. Hauling down a tuk tuk was slightly difficult trying to get to the famous Wat Saman Rattanaram Temple, which is several miles outside the centre of town. This place shows the incredible diversity and culture of Thailand with several large statues surrounded by multiple temples and markets. It is popular for Thais to flock the place as there is a the huge (I mean HUGE) pink Ganesha plus several other Hindu and Buddhism images.
As the weekend was dawning, we hopped on the train back to Bangkok.