So we leave Pallolem beach on the 1st
December and catch the day train from Margoa to Mumbai. We had waiting list tickets so did not know if we were going to be able to get a seat on the train but we both agreed we had to get on the 2.30pm train no matter what or there was no way of getting to Mumbai airport. Once at the station we realised we had been allocated seats in second class. It was a long 9 hour journey to Mumbai, the carriage was dirty and we could see cockroaches running around the seats and floor, I just tried not to look. Met a nice elderly couple who advised us on the best way to get to the airport from Mumbai by catching the local train and finally a tuk tuk. We arrived at Dada Station, at 11.30pm and caught the local train (much newer and nicer) as close as we could to the airport and finally jumped in a tuk tuk for the last leg. We arrived at the airport at 1am and as out flight was not until 6.30am there was not much point getting a hotel
room for a couple of hours so decided to just hang around the airport until check in opened at 2.30am. At the airport entrance the security guards were checking everybody’s flight tickets and said we could not come in until 3am as we were too early for our flight. I nearly cried, we are miles from anyway and with nowhere else to go so I started arguing, then pleading, with finally having to nearly turn on the water works before he finally gave in – Terry was impressed! We hung around till check in opened at 2.30am and wondered through security before finally finding some reclining chairs in a quiet part of the airport. Managed to catch a few zzzz’s and our plane took off exactly on time, 6.30am. We flew with Indigo airlines which is India’s equivalent to Ryanair but they do not charge you for baggage, they have brand new planes and nice stewardesses. 4 hours later we land in Bangkok.
We queue up ready for immigration and already in the queues I notice a lot of men travelling alone, especially older white men. The airport is a good 45 min taxi journey from the city so
we were looking to catch the bus in. However could not find any bus stands and was not sure how to get to the area of Khao San Road if we did catch the sky train as you still needed to catch a bus there so instead a nice German couple invited us to join their taxi as they were going to the same area.
Our first impression of Bangkok was WOW. I am not sure what I was expecting but having been in India for so long I was surprised to see nice cars, paved roads, lots of greenery, no rubbish scattered around the streets, tall shopping malls, just looked liked any major city. The German couple advised us to stay in the Banglamphu area which is just a few minutes walk from backpackers central Khao San Road but a lot quieter. Looked at a few hotels but found a nice ensuite room for 290bhats (£6) at a guest house called New Merry V. No window view but has the comfiest bed we have slept in so far oon our travels!! Nice and clean what more could we ask for. That evening we walked around the local area
and took in the sights. Lots of bars and restaurants line the Khao San Road. Great to walk around and look at all the street food vendors and market stalls. Lots of travellers wondering around as well as Thai people enjoying the bars. There are also make shift huts that sell beer and cocktails at cheaper prices dotted around too. That evening we walked past an open front cafe, that did not look like much but was full of Thai’s eating so decided to try the food. They only served one main dish which was a Vietnamese noodle soup with meat, we asked for the vegetarian option and sat down. It was delicious and only cost us £1 for the two huge bowls. The meat did look good so maybe we will get braver with food from now on!
The next day we caught the water taxi south as far as it could go. The flooding that damaged a lot of the city has now retreated but we can still see remains of sand bags and puddles as we walk around. The river runs alongside the city so the river taxis are a good way of avoiding
the traffic plus it is a different way to see the city. Once off the river taxi we jumped on the sky train and headed to the Siam Square where a lot of the shopping malls are. We saw lots of fake watches and clothes as well as genuine designer gear. Bangkok is a shoppers dream, you could spend so much here.
Today we headed over to one of the biggest weekend markets in Bangkok called Chatuchak market. There was everything for sale here from clothes, shoes, pottery, paintings, toys, even live animals such as dogs, cats, snakes etc. Was good fun wondering around the stalls.
It was the King of Thailand’s birthday celebrations in Bangkok and also a holiday weekend so this evening we walked over to the park where the palace was and joined in the celebrations. Thousands of people were outsides the grounds of the palace with a huge stage where actors were performing the history of Thailand. Pictures of the king were everywhere and people were praying to him and once the National Anthem was played out at the end of the
play it seemed the whole City just stood still in silent and stood with respect, was very impressed.
Of course a visit to Thailand is not complete without heading to the famous red light district, Patpong. They also have a daily night market here which we wanted to check out for the watches. The market is probably the best place we have been to for watches and I picked up a great Rolex watch very cheap. The bars and clubs are trying to get you to go in and watch the ping pong shows but we have heard so many bad stories of being charged to leave a club or face big burly bouncers we did not venture inside. Could see plenty young man hanging about plucking up the courage to go in and I was surprised to see small children running in and out of some of the bars, I guess there parents bring them to work!
We booked a coach from Bangkok to Chiang Mai for 350bhts (£7pp) to leave over night. It was half the price of a train and quicker. We went to a few travel agents which we would
never of trusted in India but this is how people book here so went with the cheapest and the one we liked the most. The coach was air con with reclining seats, toilet onboard and they played two movies till lights off for the night. We left at 7.30pm and arrived in Chiang Mai around 6.30am.
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