Arrival in Thailand
Bangkok Travel Blog› entry 1 of 13 › view all entries
Ok, so let's get this travel-blog up and running. I'm currently in Chiang Rai on the Thai-Laos border (more of that later, but as with all good diaries we'll start at the beginning....
First time flying with Thai Airways and I have to say they do a good job. Aside from the flight being delayed by a couple of hours, the food was good and unlike other stingy airlines the booze was readily available. Bizarrely was seated next to someone from the next village down from me who was heading to Oz. Together we swapped travel stories and enjoyed lots of wine, brandy and beer until about 4 hours in we decide it might be good to get some sleep. For once I actually succeeded. There was also a great "Airplane" moment when someone on board got sick and the stewardess was looking for a doctor over the tannoy.
So we touch down about an hour later than expected in Bangkok's gleaming new airport, where I get my first attempt at bartering with the locals. Taxi stand quote me an intial 1000 baht to get to my hotel (near the Grand Palace). Obviously I say it should be nearer 300. Am then told I have the best driver and the best car in the place.. don't you just love it!! Anyway I get the price to 700 just by saying I don't need Michael Shumacher, just someone who will get me there..Next up, I get to see the vehicle.. there goes another 200 baht as I tell them that surely "the best car in the place" would not have a cassette player.. I could probably have got to 400, but decided enough fun and it was time for a shower so quit at 500 - still way too much I'm sure but better than I usually manage.
First Hotel is set in a really nice location in the old part of the city so after checking in and meeting my fellow groupies, I head for Khao San Road for dinner. This place is really vibrant and unlike I thought doesn't feel unsafe. However tiredness soon kicks in and I head back early for the first night.
Next morning, start the day with a long tail boat ride round the canals (klongs). This is a nice intro to the city and very relaxing. For some reason they like to feed Catfish which have grown to be huge given all the bread they get thrown. Not sure if they are sacred or not, but they get well looked after.
Next stop was the Grand Palace which was pretty impressive. We tagged along with another group as we didn't have our own guide so got to understand a bit about the architecture and stuff. I already get the impression I will have several hundered pictures of Buddha before I finish!! Anyway personal fave was the Emerald Buddha because I liked the history of Laos and Thailand fighting over this (fairly small) Buddha..
Climbed the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun) which was ok, nothing special as you can only go up 2 stories and the view is shrouded by haze usually, then headed back for a quick shower before it was time to catch the Night Train to Chiang Mai. Farewell Bangkok for now!!