Published: March 18th 2008March 17th 2008
We flew from Laos on Lao Airlines, who do not publish their safety record; an international flight of nearly 2 hours on a propeller plane - yeeeecks - but we made it alive and surprised Sue and Tom at the airport as they arrived in from London. So after we organized a B-Train for their luggage we headed into town. God it’s hot and muggy! Sights
Shopping - We visited the big modern Central World Mall, IT Centre, Pratunam Mall loaded with bargains from the 5 floors of woman’s clothes, shoes, handbags and bling (that’s if you are a size 6). We did the shuffle down the footpaths and side streets opposite all choked full of stalls. We ventured down into the underground market and walked through the damp, dark, narrow concrete aisles watching woman bent over sewing machines creating amazingly colourful costumes for the threatre divas.
Chatuchak Market - we caught the tube early in the morning to the 15,000 stalls this place has, no way we could see it all, but we spent a few hours walking amongst the stalls under the hot, sweaty canvas roof, before we found the pets section. They had
puppies galore, trays of live maggots, mice, rats, rabbits, huge black beetles, snakes, fish, kittens, birds, a monkey, crickets and even scorpions, etc. It was just amazing.
River Boat - we took the boat down the nice brown river, amazed at crooked little wooden huts built over the river, the men with their fishing lines dangling over the side. We could hop on and off and visited a few Wats; watched the monks sitting up on a stage eating lunch provided by the people, the woman cook it but only men are allowed to give it to the monks, woman are not allowed to touch monks. We visited Wat Pho and saw the big bhudda and they are not joking its huge, so big it has to lie down.
Grand Palace - they love the royal family in Thailand especially their king, there are large pictures up all over the country, outside malls, over roads, on billboards. The Kings sister, died a few months ago, so the country is still in mourning (they mourn for 100 days) so the Thai visitors dressed in black. It cost NZ$10, the royal family no longer live there, there was some wonderful
architecture to view but that’s about it really. If you are not appropriately dressed they give you clothes to lend free, so don’t let the men outside the palace put you off or talk you into buying clothes and shoes before you get there, its all lies.
Patpong - well on the last day we remember what Bangkok is famous for, Ok lets go tonight. We have to be up at 5.30 am in the morning to catch the train to Kanchanaburi but that’s Ok we will go out early. So we started with a few drinks in Sue and Toms hotel room, which led to going out late. Well we found all the tourists, the place was loaded with them. First bar had a stage full of older woman, you know the older, the wiser, the more skilled - my god, now, I have never thought of taking a bottle top off that way! Sue and I sat in front of Carl and Tom, thinking we will give them some space - they might get lucky, but no, it was Sue who got lucky, I had to pretend to be her girlfriend to keep them off her! Must
be the white skin and blond hair! So moving on we found a bar with a revolving stage lined with girls wearing their underwear, revolving around on the stage and hoping off when they got the sign - they had been chosen. Weren’t they just the lucky ones. Never did see the ping pong trick they are famous for.
Anyway its 1.30 am and we have to pack and be up in 4 hours, do you think we should go? We got spotted by a young adventurous, thrill seeking, tuk tuk driver. One pill into his mouth, one into the petrol tank and off we skidded, screeched, sped and ducked in and out of traffic. At one stage he even did a wheely would you believe! It was absolutely frightening, and if we were sober we would have been concerned, but no, we thought it was hilarious!
So 4 hours later we bounced out of bed, not! Now, we had all agreed beforehand that we would taxi back to Bangkok on Monday as it was the morning after Sue’s birthday and the train left at 7am - too early. But it was unanimous; the 3 hour local train
ride to Kanchanaburi we would not miss. It had glassless windows, no luxuries for the tourists and it was an adventure we wanted to experience. Well, slouched in the taxi at 6.30 am, hungover and in dire need of some more sleep, faces looking transparent, the driver says NZ$62 in taxi to Kanchanaburi, 2 hours drive. Well it took all of like 4 seconds to be in agreement - deal! So remind me why we got up so early again?
Floating Market - on the way the driver said he would take us to the floating market, so that was a bonus, had always wanted to go. What a huge disappointment. Even though the boat ride was good, it is not a floating market, it is a market with floating tourists. It cost NZ$80 for 4, same price as getting into Angkor Wat for 3 days and it was a boat ride for 45 minutes, up some small canals. We saw about 6 boats which sold food and the rest were shops on land at the edge of the canals. It was a rip off and not authentic at all. I would not recommend this. Accommodation
our usual, Grand Watergate, and Sue and Tom stayed at Centre Point, I have reviewed these previously.
Before heading to Koh Samui for 9 nights we wanted to see Thailand outside of Bangkok so decided to visit the Bridge over the River Kwai, get in a bit of history and local culture. We were very surprised to find this very big developed city, not the little village we were expecting. Around the bridge are a few cafes, and 17 million jewellery shops, the area only existing to service the tourists that come up for the day or stay a night. A few hundred metres down the road and you were back on the main city road. But where we stayed on the other side of the bridge along the river side, set in huge grounds, it was like being in the country side.
We were fascinated by Sue and Tom’s luggage, I have never known anyone to arrive on a 2 week holiday already over the limit! But it all became clear when opening the top pocket of the suitcase they found Tom’s hammer. Naturally, you would not go anywhere without your hammer now
would you? Then 5 days later at the airport going to Koh Samui, they were now 4 kg over the limit. Sue’s says it’s the toiletries, say what? Sights
We stayed next to the bridge, so we walked over to have a look. “Get off, get off, you guys get off the railway lines” I screamed, as they wandered onto the lines. But you are actually allowed to walk across this railway bridge with absolutely no safety precautions. Its great to read about it at the small museum next to the bridge, just as many locals died as did POW building the bridge and railway line around the mountains. They fought malaria, malnutrition, dysentery, exhaustion and some were just beaten to death by the guards.
We hired bicycles and visited some war graves, it was very sad, very young, such a waste of life, but unless you are looking for someone specific, there is not much to stay around for.
We saw heaps of floating bars, they actually looked like houses, they go up and down the river at night with the young ones doing karioke. Quite bizarre. Accommodation Review
Sue and Tom booked us into
this fantastic resort. It had huge beautiful grounds with creeks winding through the grounds and around the rooms, huge rooms, large TVs, decks overlooking the river, and an amazing swimming pool. The best swimming pool ever, it was a fantastic temperature. Brasserie food was great.
Fun pub, well I suppose it was since we were the only 4 people in it! On Sues birthday we went over as they had a happy hour, we decided on the 10% off cocktails, but Carl thought he was clever, “beer, buy 1 get 1 free” they said. OK Carl says I’ll have a beer then, that’s a better deal. Bill time - why we charged for 2 beer? Happy Hour was only the small bottles of beer, I gave you big bottles! So NZ$18 later for 2 beers (local bar was $2.50 a beer) - the joke was on him. But then the next day the Parkes did better. They had been in the country 3 days so needed to put some laundry in when we arrived, would you believe 36 items in 3 days! Bill time - what’s this line item NZ$92? “Laundry Sir!”
On your birthday, at a holiday
Look at those amazing bonzi trees in the background
resort, of course you would go for an oil massage. But only ever having one oil massage before, years ago, Sue was not really sure how it worked. So when the masseur greeted her in full flight, arms out-stretched, fingers wiggling, grabbing Sue’s tits, yelling “Beautiful Mardarm, Beautiful Mardarm”, Sue was not really perturbed. Even when the long swift strokes up and down her legs included a few close calls, she was only slightly perturbed. ‘I must ask Lynne if this is normal’ she thinks to herself, but oh well, it’s my birthday - enjoy. But when we were in the lobby later that night, the masseur yells and points across the lobby “Hello Mardarm, HELLO MARDARM” and starts waving her hands and fingers at Sue, now Sue’s perturbed! I have never seen Sue disappear so fast, darting through the lobby and out the door. Now that was funny!
Definitely recommend this resort, it is only a 5 minute walk to the bridge and a museum, the room, facilities and pool are just fantastic. A very relaxing and tranquil place to stay. Just wash your clothes before you come and only get a massage if you are flat chested.
Ignore the billboard at the back, the temples outside the Mall, they pray, place roses, and light incense. Temple covered in elephants
We are off to Koh Samui for 9 nights and as I write this we have been here for a couple of nights, nothing to report so far, except Tom last night
There are more photos below