Bangkok: Take Five

Bangkok Travel Blog

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A mythological giant (yak)

We're back again.

We had heard all sorts of horror stories about overnight travel in Thailand: overbooked buses with people having to sleep in the aisles, blistering heat and dodgy toilets. As with all these stories, we have failed to see any of it. We did, however, pay a little extra for a coach that had reclining seats (of which there were only 24) and got a pretty luxury seat for our money. I asked at the ticket office if, due to the price, a meal was included. I was told there was, but it wouldn't be until we stopped off at 9:30. Stomach already rumbling, I bought a few snacks in preparation. Almost inevitably, almost identical snacks were distributed along the aisles. Typical.

We're back in Bangkok for the fifth time because Kyle has to make the long flight to London to prepare for her new job as a transport planner in Birmingham.

Chakri Mahaprasad Hall
To ease the sadness of having to go our separate ways, we knew we would have to try and keep ourselves busy. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as 'cultural therapy,' only retail therapy. So that's what we've done, pretty much, spend any remaining money that Kyle has on whatever she has the ability to smuggle on a plane. And Bangkok can get you quite a bit for little cash. There seems to be no (enforced) rules governing counterfeiting or bootlegging; everything from DVDs to handbags to watches and anything else that can be copied has been and is for sale for peanuts. I, myself, even sorted out my long-term future when I get back home by buying all six seasons of 24 for about a quid a disk.

 

The Chatuchak weekend market is the biggest in Thailand and the world, covering some 35 acres.

Skyline at dusk
Having said that, I couldn't believe how female-orientated it was. It was all bags and women's clothes and such - so I got bored quickly, as well as hot and knackered, walking through the endless rows of market stalls. It was heaven for Kyle, though, who managed to get some bargains, or so I'm told. She bought four handbags, anyway. All she needs now is another pair of hands for the other two.

On our day off from shopping, we did try to fit in sights that we hadn't already seen on our last visits. We took a taxi to the Grand Palace, which served as the official residence of the king of Thailand from the 18th century to the mid-20th century. Obviously not to their taste these days. On a horribly-humid day, we did our best to act like we were amazed at its beauty, but it strongly resembled the Royal Palace in Cambodia so didn't seem like something totally new.

The Dutch get everywhere
Before we arrived, another con artist thought he would try and catch us out by telling us it was closed, offering to show us something else (where, I am told, you are taken to some place - jewellers, tailors, another attraction - where they can weasal money out of you somehow). I was wise to it and gave him no play.

We took the ferry south down the river, heading home. That night we went out for a nice Thai meal, where Kyle treated herself to one last authentic Thai curry and her fave, mango and sticky rice, all in preparation for a hard day the following day, taking planes in separate directions.

Every time anyone has spoken to us about Bangkok, they have done so in a negative way, telling us that it's best to get out as soon as you can, as it doesn't represent 'real' Thailand.

The last supper
I couldn't disagree with them more, now we've spent time here. It's different, yes, but so is London to the rest of England, even if there are considerably fewer ladyboys in our capital than Thailand's. The humidity and heat can wear you down and it is chaotic, but it's a capital city and it's bound to be more hectic than elsewhere in the country. I've personally enjoyed staying in Bangkok and haven't minded having to visit a few more times due to the constraints of our route.

And that's Thailand. Good scenery, unbelievable heat at times, some nice people and some not so nice, awesome food and by far the best value-for-money country we have visited so far.

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A mythological giant (yak)
A mythological giant (yak)
Chakri Mahaprasad Hall
Chakri Mahaprasad Hall
Skyline at dusk
Skyline at dusk
The Dutch get everywhere
The Dutch get everywhere
The last supper
The last supper
Wat Arun
Wat Arun
Who the dickens are? Leave..at on…
"Who the dickens are? Leave..at o…
Did you not understand?! Get out!
"Did you not understand?! Get out!"
Phra Sri Ratana chedi
Phra Sri Ratana chedi
Mini Angkor Wat
Mini Angkor Wat
Weekend market
Weekend market
One last sticky rice and mango
One last sticky rice and mango
Bangkok
photo by: Deats