Snakes, Palaces and absynthe...

Bangkok Travel Blog

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Sunrise from our bedroom window

People i met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Julia (Russia), Richard (Canada), Matt and Andy (England)

I was a little underwhelmed to be heading back to Bangkok, as my previous encounters with the city had not always been positive and arriving this time was to prove no different. It was 5.30am when our bus pulled into the Southern bus station, so we decided that we couldn't be bothered with local buses and would instead opt to get a taxi, as we knew it wasn't too far - or at least it shouldn't be! Rather than driving north into the city, our driver decided to drive south for a few kilometres, do a u-turn, head back to the bus station, go east for a few kilometres, pull a u-turn and go back past the bus station and continue west, then pull another u-turn and head back to the bus station before finally turning north and towards the city centre! He must have been extremely dumb to try and pull this in such an unoriginal and obvious way.

Cobra at the snake farm
When we eventually arrived into Soi Rambuttri over 20 minutes after we had left, the bill was rather high to say the least, i forget the exact sum but i'm pretty sure it was well into the 100's. I removed our rucksacks from the car, handed him 60 baht and told him i knew exactly what he'd been doing and i wasn't willing to pay anything more. After realising he'd been well and truly busted, he took the money and drove off with his tail between his legs. It annoys me so much when you constantly have to put your guard up against things like this and Bangkok seems to sadly be one of those places where you do.

It took 20 minutes for us to find an available room, but the view of the sunrise from our window made the walking around worthwhile. After a quick shower we went out for breakfast and then headed to the Myanmar embassy to organise our second visa for the country within the space of 2 days! Although there were only a handful of people in the embassy, there were a few Thai's with huge bundles of foreigners passports and this meant we were stuck waiting for hours.

Julia and I ready for a night out
I find it incredible that the embassy allows people to come in and do this and there was actually a seperate window for people with more than 1 passport to apply at, but this was closed and thus 1 window was left to deal with all applicants for the day.

After a spot of lunch, we walked up to the snake farm for its 2pm demonstration, which really was quite interesting. There was a 20 minute slide show, which was followed by snake handlers demonstrating their skills. One snake managed to bite its handler a couple of times, but thankfully it was non venomous, or i'm sure he would have ben more careful with it! The handlers brought round a selction of snakes for us to have a closer look at and even allowed us to hold a huge python at the end, which was pretty neat.

The Grand Palace - The Royal Pantheon, Phra Mondop and Phra Siratana Chedi

The following day Julia had a dental appointment, which put her in perfect shape to go out that evening and paint the town red! We met up with Richard, who we knew from Manila, and had a few beers at his apartment with 2 English guys called Matt and Andy. The night concluded in Glow Bar, with Richard insisting on everyone doing a shot of absynthe. This completely finished me off and i was happy to head home around 3am whilst my legs were still functioning!

Friday as a result was a very lazy day, nursing the hangover from hell, but thankfully we were back on top form on Saturday. We decided to go to the Royal Palace, where we had encountered problems on our previous trip with their dress code and only Julia had gone in and i hadn't. This time was no different and even though my shorts passed the red line which determined what was 'acceptable' clothing, the guard said they weren't long enough.

The Grand Palace - Hor Phra Naga
Even though i was stood next to the barrier and my shorts WERE long enough, he unbelievably kept saying they weren't. They give out free long pants anyway, but that wasn't the issue, it was the fact that they have rules and don't stick to them that bothers me.

I couldn't be bothered to get into a arguement with the man, so pulled out my sarong that i had brought from home, only to be told that this also wasn't suitable for a man to wear. I just had to laugh at him as i'd seen so many people in far less 'suitable' clothing. I didn't want to let him ruin my mood, so pulled on the free pants and let him harrass the next tourist he took a disliking to.

The palace grounds are pretty spectacular, with ornate wats and temples squeezed into every available space.

The Grand Palace - Amarinda Winitchai Hall and Chakri Maha Prasat Hall
The complex also houses the Emerald Buddha, one of Thailands most revered religious icons. After an hour or so perusing all of the wonderful sites, we caught a tuk tuk out to the Vimanmek teak mansion. When you buy a ticket for the Royal Palace, you actually get free admission here and it makes for a pleasant afternoon to walk around the different buildings and take a free guided tour. Afterwards we walked back to Banglamphu and passed some beautiful architecture on the way, including the National Assembly.

That evening we enjoyed a few beers on Soi Rambuttri and watched 'The Beach' in a bar. It was funny to be watching the film, after having recently visited Koh Phi Phi. I still believe it looks differently in real life compared to the film though! Also of amusement was the fact that we were served beer in plastic pepsi glasses, as it was illegal to be selling alcohol, due to Thai elections taking place.

The National Assembly
As visits to Bangkok go, it hadn't been a bad one and the following day we made our way North to see the ancient ruins at Sukothai.

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Sunrise from our bedroom window
Sunrise from our bedroom window
Cobra at the snake farm
Cobra at the snake farm
Julia and I ready for a night out
Julia and I ready for a night out
The Grand Palace - The Royal Panth…
The Grand Palace - The Royal Pant…
The Grand Palace - Hor Phra Naga
The Grand Palace - Hor Phra Naga
The Grand Palace - Amarinda Winitc…
The Grand Palace - Amarinda Winit…
The National Assembly
The National Assembly
Sunrise from our bedroom window
Sunrise from our bedroom window
Cobra at the snake farm
Cobra at the snake farm
Cobra at the snake farm
Cobra at the snake farm
Cobra at the snake farm
Cobra at the snake farm
Second Cobra at the snake farm
Second Cobra at the snake farm
Second Cobra at the snake farm
Second Cobra at the snake farm
Second Cobra at the snake farm
Second Cobra at the snake farm
Green Pit Viper
Green Pit Viper
Milking the snakes venom
'Milking' the snakes venom
Me with a Python
Me with a Python
Julia with a Python
Julia with a Python
Rich, Mark and Me at Richards house
Rich, Mark and Me at Richards house
Julia and Richard in Glow Bar
Julia and Richard in Glow Bar
Grand Palace - Hor Phra Naga, The …
Grand Palace - Hor Phra Naga, The…
Art work in the Grand Palace
Art work in the Grand Palace
The Grand Palace - Phra Siratana C…
The Grand Palace - Phra Siratana …
The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace - The Royal Panth…
The Grand Palace - The Royal Pant…
The Grand Palace - Phra Wiharn Yod
The Grand Palace - Phra Wiharn Yod
The Grand Palace - The Royal Panth…
The Grand Palace - The Royal Pant…
The Grand Palace - Guardian at Phr…
The Grand Palace - Guardian at Ph…
The Grand Palace - Phra Siratana C…
The Grand Palace - Phra Siratana …
The Grand Palace - Phra Mondop
The Grand Palace - Phra Mondop
The Grand Palace - Phra Mondop
The Grand Palace - Phra Mondop
The Grand Palace - Phra Mondop
The Grand Palace - Phra Mondop
The Grand Palace - Hor Phra Naga
The Grand Palace - Hor Phra Naga
The Grand Palace - Phra Mondop
The Grand Palace - Phra Mondop
The Grand Palace - The Royal Panth…
The Grand Palace - The Royal Pant…
The Grand Palace - Hor Phra Monthi…
The Grand Palace - Hor Phra Month…
The Grand Palace - Temple of the E…
The Grand Palace - Temple of the …
The Grand Palace - Temple of teh E…
The Grand Palace - Temple of teh …
The Grand Palace - Borom Phiman Ma…
The Grand Palace - Borom Phiman M…
The Grand Palace - Chakri Maha Pra…
The Grand Palace - Chakri Maha Pr…
The Grand Palace - Chakri Maha Pra…
The Grand Palace - Chakri Maha Pr…
The Grand Palace - Amarinda Winitc…
The Grand Palace - Amarinda Winit…
The Grand Palace - Aphorn Phimok P…
The Grand Palace - Aphorn Phimok …
The Grand Palace - Guard at Chakri…
The Grand Palace - Guard at Chakr…
The Grand Palace - Aphorn Phimok P…
The Grand Palace - Aphorn Phimok …
The Grand Palace - Chakri Maha Pra…
The Grand Palace - Chakri Maha Pr…
The Grand Palace - Chakri Maha Pra…
The Grand Palace - Chakri Maha Pr…
The Grand Palace - Me in front of …
The Grand Palace - Me in front of…
The Grand Palace - Me in front of …
The Grand Palace - Me in front of…
Palace guards
Palace guards
Vimanmek teak mansion
Vimanmek teak mansion
Vimanmek teak mansion
Vimanmek teak mansion
Vimanmek teak mansion
Vimanmek teak mansion
Vimanmek teak mansion
Vimanmek teak mansion
Vimanmek teak mansion
Vimanmek teak mansion
Vimanmek teak mansion
Vimanmek teak mansion
Carriage at Vimanmek teak mansion
Carriage at Vimanmek teak mansion
The National Assembly
The National Assembly
The National Assembly
The National Assembly
The National Assembly
The National Assembly
Gates of the The National Assembly
Gates of the The National Assembly
Bangkok
photo by: Deats