Published: October 10th 2008October 10th 2008
...and the world's your oyster!
Days 32, 33, 34, 35, and 36 - Bangkok, Thailand
I never understood that song, and I still don’t. So days 32-36 we stayed in Bangkok. We had originally only planned on staying 2 days, but the idea of quickly traveling again after our 7 hour flight from Dubai, coupled with the fact that we were staying in a true five star amazing hotel for cheap (love Thailand!) made us extend our stay. First of all, if you ever get to go to Bangkok, we highly recommend the Oriental hotel—everyone is treated like royalty.
Bangkok is a crazy city, yet at the same time, it wasn’t too overwhelming. We thought we’d be surprised and overwhelmed at our first Asian city, and while it was busy, and there were lots of sights, sounds, and smells it wasn’t too bad. I guess living in DC you get used to seeing crazy stuff happen around you all the time. And really, Istanbul seemed crazier then Bangkok. We were lucky that the hotel was on the river- as that provided some respite from the continuous hawkers. You couldn’t get sold anything while you were on a river
Best way to travel in Bangkok
boat. The Chao Phraya River was like a highway, at all times ferry boats, tug boats, barges, hotel boats, private boats going up and down, and somehow not running into each other. The hotel had its own set of boats that would take you across the river to one of their Thai restaurants, or to the public pier. At the public pier, we’d catch a public (tourist) ferry up the river to the historical section of Bangkok to visit either temples, the Grand Palace or Khao San Road, the backpacker ghetto of Bangkok.
Our days in general in Bangkok were pretty lazy because it was somewhere in the 110 degree range. From now on we will be referring to hot days as “Bangkok hot”. It also seemed to rain in the late afternoon, and when we say rain, we mean monsoon. On average we probably saw 1-2 sites a day during the day. We saw the reclining budda, a 150 foot long gold flake covered budda lying on its side, the emerald budda, made out of jade with 3 different outfits depending on whether it’s the summer, winter, or rainy season (we’re in the rainy season), the Grand Palace
The hotels had luxury river taxis...
which is very elaborate, and like I said, Khao San Road, where the buckets of vodka, red bull and coke are sold for 4 dollars to backpackers from every country. We did make it to a couple markets, one which is only open on weekends. I think it covers a couple of miles. This is where we termed Bangkok hot- as I think we lost a couple kilos each that day from sweat (we now speak metric by the way, everything is kilos and kilometers for us).
There is more to do in Bangkok at night, the first night we went to the Sukhomvit area, supposedly a great area for bars, clubs and restaurants (and prostitution as we quickly found out). The second night we met up with my high school friend O who now lives in Bangkok - poor Tim was probably bored as we caught up and chatted about other high school alumni, but since he works at BNP, a French bank they had plenty of finance to talk about. (Kristin- O says hello, we caught up on all the Zach, Brendon whereabouts) On our last night we poked our head in to a Thai boxing arena
Hotel river taxi
to get an idea of the scene (loads of Thai men gambling behind steel fencing and watching basically a UFC/karate match) (Daniel you would have loved it), then made our way to a night market, which makes more sense then a day market as it’s a lot cooler, then on to the Patpong area which is full of everything Bangkok is known for- we won’t be getting into details here as this is a public site and we can’t have children reading what we were offered, but if you want to know more, we’ll be happy to fill you in when we get back. Katherine had warned me of some of the things you would be offered, but there were still some things that I was very surprised about… and Tim had no warning so he was very enlightened!
In the morning before we left, Tim had his last fitting of the five suits he bought, and we shipped another box of stuff from the markets home. Different haggling in Bangkok- here they seem to use the begging strategy (my business will go under if you don’t buy from me) versus the aggressive Istanbul approach. Not sure which one
First day just did river taxi to Khao San Road...got a little lost on the way!
I like better.
We think we liked Bangkok, still not sure though. Being on the river everyday was a nice way to commute, and the food is great. Not sure about the heat though and we were more then ready to get to the Thailand islands for some chill sun and sand.
There are more photos below