Bangkok "Where the world's your oyster"

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December 30th 2012
Published: December 31st 2012
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Water taxi to nowhereWater taxi to nowhereWater taxi to nowhere

We have been notorious for taking "detours", wrong turns and getting lost. Every time it happens, we see another side of the city we are in. This is no exception and was a fun ride nonetheless :D
Our trip to Bangkok from Siem Reap went pretty smooth, however it was rather time consuming. It was about a 4 hour bus to the border then almost 2 hours to get our visas (due to long long lines) then another 5 hours to get into Bangkok. By the time we found our way to our hotel it had been a 12 hour journey.

In case you're wondering, it really does say hotel. Paul wanted to splurge on a nice place for a few days that the two of us would never have been able to afford so he booked a room at the Prince Palace Hotel for 3 nights (which ended up being 4 but that's a story for later in the blog). Our room was on the 29th floor, we had an awesome view of the city and there were two different pools for us to chill by depending on our mood. The hotel was also playing Christmas music 24/7 and had decorations everywhere including a number of massive – yet fake – trees. We felt very very fancy and festive!

There was a bathtub in our room so Rebecca bathed in a full hot tub of bubbles to relax her aching road trip muscles while the guys figured out what all the switches and buttons did. Once we were cleaned up and relaxed we went to explore the area of town that we were in. It wasn't really a touristy area, it was mostly locals, so that was nice. We crossed a bridge over the river that lead to a fruit market. While wandering through the alleys we came across an area with food stalls which was perfect timing because we were all quite hungry. After filling our bellies with local deliciousness we kept walking aimlessly with no idea of where we started or how to get back there. Then we came to what looked like a wedding reception. We weren't sure what to do but one of the men directed us into the middle of the dining area before we found a way out the other end. For a moment we thought we were going to get to party with some locals but we just continued on our merry way. Eventually we found our way back to the palace where we all passed out after a long and exciting day. Getting to a new country is always a bit overwhelming.

We didn't want to do anything but sit by the pools the second day so that is exactly what we did. Tyler was walking around the palace with no shoes, his swim trunks and a towel wrapped around his neck when he said “I love being a backpacker in a fancy hotel”. Paul and Rebecca really wanted him to at least put shoes on, but that didn't happen. The first pool we went to provided minimal sun due to the massive 32 storey building right next to it and the location of the sun. We laid in what was left of the sun and went for a dip in the pool (which was much colder than the ocean) before going to the other pool. The second pool had many more people since there was an outdoor bar and restaurant. All of the lounge chairs were full but we found some chairs on a second level to hang out and read in. We sat in the sun all afternoon reading and swimming in the cold pool. There were a couple of jacuzzi's but they were cold too. It made us miss the hot tub at Rebecca's parents house. However, those emotions didn't last too long as we looked out over the beautiful Bangkok skyline. It was probably around 2:00 when the guys started to get a bit hungry and “sunned out”. Becs wasn't ready to call it a day and was still full from breakfast (which was a big bowl of rice and chicken and veggies from a vendor around the corner from the hotel). So, the guys went out and Rebecca continued to read in the sun until Tyler came back an hour or so later. By that time she was also “sunned out” (for one day).

Once we got all cleaned up we were ready to go explore more of Bangkok. According to the map you should be able to take a river taxi to where we wanted to go and out hotel just so happened to be on of the stops. We weren't quite sure which direction we needed to go so we hopped in the first boat that came by. Half an hour later with the skyscrapers in the distance we realized we had taken the wrong boat. As we were back-tracking we passed the palace again and on stop later everyone was getting off the boat. We stayed on hoping it would keep going where we wanted but it turned around. Just our luck! At our original stop we got off the river taxi to nowhere and found a tuk-tuk to take us to Wat Pho, the temple of superlatives. Everything was large and impressive. The main event at this particular temple was a humungous reclining Buddha (a Buddha lying down). It's 46m long and 15m high. HUGE!! We ooh-ed and awe-ed at that Buddha for quite some time before walking around the rest of the area. There were really large stupas (or chedi as they call them in Thailand) and a whole bunch of concrete statues. The statues were very amusing, some of them were cows, cats, deers or other animals, some of the statues were simply a farmer working in his field. They were all over the place around trees, ponds and waterfalls. It was a really beautiful temple that we saw pretty much every square inch of. There were also a lot of real cats, especially hanging around one stupa/chedi. Rebecca dubbed this the Kitty Pagoda.

Once we left Wat Pho we walked to Koh San Road, the party and shopping centre of Bangkok for tourists. On our walk we passed the Grand Palace which was really beautiful and found a huge open park about the size of two football fields. There were plenty of locals and tourists playing games, flying kites or (like us) just walking through. We haven't seen much real grass in Asia, it is always prickly or a strange wide grass unlike the fine grass we get back home. That being said all three of us took our shoes off and walked the entire length of the luscious grass, enjoying every moment of it between our toes, letting the soft ground massage our feet.

When we got to Koh San Road it was sort of mayhem. It was very very busy, thank goodness they don't allow road traffic through (only pedestrians, and people selling things). Bangkok is another city that Tyler went to on his last South-East Asia trip and he said the road was very different from the last time he was there. The souvenirs and clothes were no longer cheap cheap (compared to what we have paid in other places) and the road side pad thai was mediocre at best. We walked up and down the street a couple of times, drank a beer, window shopped then decided to call it a night. Paul was a little disappointed because he was hoping to have a night out on the town but with Avi, Jaf and Dan coming the next day we thought it would be best to lay low.

Back at the palace Rebecca decided to lay low and ended up passing out by 9pm. Tyler and Paul however drank a bottle of booze by the pool, had a couple of beers with some locals outside the 7-11 and ended up getting back to the hotel at different times. When Paul came in at 2am Rebecca asked where Ty was; as he took his backpack off (nearly falling over in the process) he said “what? I thought he would be back by now... he's not far Becs” then passed out on top of the covers and was snoring in all of 2 minutes. An hour later Tyler came out of the elevator to tell Rebecca about how he got lost in the parking garage, hung out with a security guard and thought he was a character in a video game while trying to find his way back to the room.

The guys were very slow getting up the next morning but Paul had planned to go sightseeing so around 11 he was up, showered and heading out the door. While Ty slept Rebecca walked around the many shops near our palace, ate another yummy bowl of rice chicken and veggies then went to tell Tyler it was time to get up. By 2pm she was able to get Tyler out of bed and over to the pool. We lounged around the pool for a few hours and returned to the room to find Paul just waking up from a nap.

At this point we knew that Avi, Jaf and Dan would be getting into town in the next few hours. However our palace didn't have free wifi. We went out to find a snack and luckily came across an internet cafe. After paying about 10 cents for half an hour of wifi, we sent the guys a Facebook message with the palace phone number and our room number in hopes they would call us when they got into town. Since sitting in the hotel room waiting by the phone didn't seem much fun, we grabbed a drink to keep us entertained. A few hours later back at the palace the guys called us, gave us their hotel info and we were in a cab heading their way. It all worked out great. We caught up with them, had a few more drinks and then the guys all started heading out to go to a club. The two of us didn't want to spend a lot of money so we went back to the palace to chill out and sleep.

The next day was possibly the most interesting day of our lives. Paul never came home; we had assumed he crashed at the other guys hotel but when Dan called us at 11 to see if Avi was with us we were all a little confused. Avi and Paul were missing. Jaf and Dan made it back to their hotel after bottle service and partying hard at a club most of the night. That isn't their whole story but you'll have to get the rest from them... We got tired of waiting around for Paul so at about 2pm we went over to hang out
Bangkok trafficBangkok trafficBangkok traffic

not even that busy
with Dan and Jaf – after leaving Paul a note that said “If you are reading this it means you are alive – woohoo! Call us at Jaf and Dan's hotel to let us know you're okay”. We were hoping that by the time we got to their hotel Avi would be there to tell us more about the rest of the night. When Dan and Jaf left that night, Paul and Avi were still together. Avi wasn't there when we arrived so we hung out by their pool for a bit, then grabbed some food. Dan was also leaving notes for Avi whenever we left the room. When we came back from eating Avi was in the room and had one insane story. Apparently Paul and Avi went to a second club which Avi left at 11am and still hadn't slept (this is at about 5pm). He didn't know where Paul was either. He was still drunk and not making much sense but had a hilarious story to tell of what he could remember. As Avi was recounting his night/morning/afternoon Paul called and we all cheered in excitement to all have survived one crazy night in Bangkok “where the worlds your oyster!” (as the song goes). Paul's memory was very fuzzy and he woke up at a random guesthouse on the other side of town at 4pm very confused.

The two of us were eager to get back and talk to Paul so after hanging out with Dan, Avi and Jaf for a bit longer we said our good-byes, planned on meeting up again and caught a cab back to our palace.

That insane night is the cause for us staying four nights instead of three in Bangkok. We couldn't check out if we were missing a person!! Back at the palace Paul was rather embarrassed about his night and was really sorry for worrying us. We exchanged stories, watched a movie and called it a night. We calculated that in about a 24 hour period (from 9am after partying to 9am on departure day), Paul had about 20 hours of sleep.

Since we booked an extra night we all got free buffet breakfast vouchers. We got up the next morning, devoured french toast baguettes, creamy scrambled eggs, fresh orange juice, fresh fruits, yogurt etc then packed our bags and headed to the bus station. Next stop... Kanchanaburi.

Xoxo Ty + Becs

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