Published: August 5th 2010August 5th 2010
Sorry for not writing this sooner but the internet at the hotel was expensive so waited till the end of our time in Bangkok to find an internet cafe near our hotel!
So we landed in Bangkok on Sunday morning after a short flight from Hanoi. We were greeted by a flash black BMW that drove us to our hotel. Was strange to be driving at a fast pace compared to the sluggish speed of coaches in Vietnam and there were no hoards of motorbikes on the roads! We arrived at our hotel 30 minutes later and checked in. Our room was beautiful with it's own Kitchen and lounge, my belated Birthday present from Yasmin! Was great to be in a room where the air con worked properly, the sheets were definitely clean and the staff friendly!
We unpacked and headed straight out on the metro (underground) towards Chatuchuck market, one of the worlds biggest open air markets. Now usually, i hate shopping but this place was a maze of stores selling literally anything you can imagine from puppies and snakes to bags and paintings. We spent a good 4 hours in the market and spent far too much money! Yasmin bought some tops and a couple of bags, i bought a t-shirt and some souvenirs. Yasmin's eyes bright up when she saw that you could FedEx items back to the UK as she was aware of the limited space in her bag but unfortunately we'd have needed to buy half the market to make it worth the price, Yas gave this a good go!
Once back at the hotel we were tired and hungry so we went for some food at a classy establishment called the "Penalty Spot" where we had a curry and Pad Thai between us. The food was fine, what was more entertaining though was the realisation that a culture of Thai brides really does exist here and there were lots of middle aged white men with young Thai women!
After a good nights sleep we woke up, had breakfast at the hotel and set off for Bangkok's main rail station to buy ourselves tickets for an overnight train to Laos. We got these for 16 quid each and then found a Tuc Tuc driver willing to take us around the cultural sites of Bangkok for just 20 baht (around 40p) the catch being that we had to visit his 3 "sponsors" on the way in order for him to get free petrol....this ultimatley worked out well as i got 2 shirts made from a tailor on the way. We got to see the Golden Mountain which had great views over the city and the Marble temple where we sat and watched monks praying....unfortunately we forgot our camera this day so haven't any pictures! The driver eventually dropped us off at Ko San Road, a travellers haunt in Bangkok. The weather at this point was terrential so the experience was slightly soured but fun all the same. We strolled down the road and went to the market and had some lunch. After this we got the metro back to our hotel. In the evening, having already spent far too much in Bangkok already we went and bought a huge pizza and some drinks and watched Toy Story 3 (a DVD bought earlier) and watched that in bed!
On Tuesday, the hotel offered us a free tour of the Kings Palace which started at 8.30. We had a minibus, driver and a tour guide for just me and Yasmin and spent about an hour walking through the palace. The buildings, incredibly were decorated by hand with 1CM by 1CM tiles of ruby and emerald. This day we did have our camera! We were then taken to a jewelers (which probably paid for the "free" trip)...having been taken to a similar jewelers the day before we rushed through, much to the annoyance of our guide! Once back at the hotel, around 1PM we chilled by the pool at our hotel. In the evening we went for a meal at the renowned restaurant called "Cabbage and Condom" a non-profit making organization that gives money to help raise awareness of aids. It was our best and most expensive meal of the trip yet costing a huge 24 pounds but the food was immense. I had soft shell crab and Yas had beef massaman.
On our last full day in Bangkok we set off on the metro to one of the main public parks in Bangkok for a stroll. All was going well until i spotted what i thought was a dragon....no word of a lie it was a 6 foot lizard strolling around the grass! Against my better judgment i insisted that we got a pedalo, in the shape of 2 ducks on the lake...as we began our journey on the water we both started to spotting "dragons" in the water...literally loads of them! We went under a bridge and spotted some more of them and we were both scared at this point as our journey turned into a danger safari while in a boat the looked like dragon food! To add to it all there was a spider underneath my pedals which scared me even more! Once safely back on shore and at the hotel reception, the staff couldn't help but laugh at my account of the dragons! To settle the nerves Yas and I rented some rackets and balls from reception and played a set of tennis on the court on the roof of our hotel! We had fun and Yas won a close encounter on a tie break! We then went for a swim before eating at a local thai restaurant recommended by staff at the hotel. Food was good and we then went to a night market close to the "dragon" park from earlier! Much of the same stuff was on sale and the weather was awful so we walked towards the "vertigo" restaurant which, similar to the Hilton bar in Manchester, is a bar overlooking the city but it's on the 59th floor! Unfortunately once we'd arrived we found the bar was closed due to the weather but we were still able to look at the view from the window which was incredible over the lights of Bangkok. Anyone coming to Bangkok should go there for a drink, it's in Lumphini!
This morning we've checked of the hotel and been to a shopping mall. We're killing time until we catch an 8PM night train to Laos this evening where we're hoping to go tubing, kayaking, trekking and cycling over the coming week! Hopefully it won't be too long till the next blog but will try to get some more pics up on FaceBook soon!
Yasmin and Jamie xxx