Bangkok. Bumbum go Bangbang :(
Bangkok Travel Blog› entry 19 of 35 › view all entries
After a rather disturbing flight where we actually thought the plane was falling from the sky (I'm sure it was perfectly fine, its just that domestic flights feel different to long haul), we landed safe and sound in Bangkok. We got a taxi to Khao San Road (Party Road), the Backpacker area, and had a little look around for a place to stay. Everywhere seemed full or expensive (plus the street was so busy with people and street vendors, you couldn't really tell which building is what! Let alone guesthouses!) and we ended up settling for the Rainbow Guesthouse. It was probably the most rank and dreary place we've ever stayed (you even had to pay for toilet roll!). Our room was grubby and windowless and the bed might aswell have been a stone tablet (but spirits were high!)!! We dropped our bags and headed out for a stiff drink!
2 portions of Pad Thai, 2 buckets and 4 'Very Strong Cocktails' later, I was in bed hugging the bin (whilst I was dominating the toilet with bottom explosions. Damn you Pad Thai and Very Strong Cocktails!). We crawled out of our pit 2 days later (and during that time were actually grateful for the lack of window!) and found ourselves some much nicer accommodation (we were greeted at the desk by our first bonafied ladyboy!)!
After settling in we made our way to the Indian embassy to sort out our visas. We were informed they could be collected in 1 week which unfortunately meant having to stay longer in Bangkook than we had originally anticipated. However there was plenty to do (and plenty to eat) but we had to start budgeting as Thailand is more expensive than what we had got used to in Vietnam. We found ourselves a nice little street food stall which served an array of Thai dishes for us to sample at kick ass prices (cheap cheap!)!
Over the 9 days we spent in Bangkok we did an array of things. First was a vist to the tourist trap of Wat Pho - the reclining Bhudda. This was a spectacle to see looming 20ft or more above us and atleast 60ft in length (big, lazy, lying down Bhudda!). We made our way around it's circumference along with stroves of tourists and locals that had come to pay their respects, periodicaly passing signs reminding us to be aware of pick pockets! On the way round we could hear mysterious clinking sounds and we found that behind the Bhudda you could quite literally pay your respects by purchasing coins to drop into a long line of pots, stretching the length of the Bhudda. Afterwards we strolled around the rest of Wat Pho's grounds and saw the restoration project of it's buildings. There were rows of seated Bhuddas and expertly crafted gold mosaic rooftops (they sparkled everywhere)! Later in the afternoon we visited Wat Arun (and 'wat arun' around it was - half way across the city!), which was worth the journey as it was an impressive monument. You could scale the many steep stairs (steep is an understatement!) up to the impressive views of Bangkok city. The temple and all of it's spires were covered in small bells which provided a soothing and enigmatic soundtrack to our visit. All over the city you can see legions of Bhuddist monks in their orange robes (particularly abundant, loitering around the temples!). As a side note aswell as a vast collection of temples, Bangkok sports an array of monuments and pictures of their beloved King (they're everywhere! Like Uncle Ho!).
In our time in Bangkok we did a lot of exploring of the City, stumbling upon flower markets, going on crazy tuk tuk rides (we thought our bartering skills had vastly improved as our first tuk tuk we got down from 70 to 15 baht. However, we couldn't get any other lower than 60! Must have been a bout of beginners luck.), and surprisingly we even found an underground Thai boxing club/ring underneath an overpass!
We spent a large portion of our evenings comitted to the exploration of Khao San Road and its surrounding area, such as Rambuttri Road (where we stayed!). You could spend a small fortune here on souvenir and food stalls (needless to say the endless fountain of drink!). Some of the food stalls served a rather bizarre selection of snacks such as deep fried scorpions, grubs, cockroaches and locusts (when in Rome!)!! In keeping with our 'try everything' attitude we dived staright in and ate a grasshopper each (which surprisingly actually did taste like grass!)! It was a bit chewy though!
For our final excursion in Bangkok we went to Dusit Palace Park, a complex sporting a Palace or 2, a museum of ornate carriages (all imported from England of course!), and an Elephant museum! It didn't take long after our arrival for Jim's persistant problem to rear its ugly head (Jimmy go poo-poo!). While I waited on a bench for him to emerge fom the toilet, I spotted a HUGE lizard on the other side of the stream from where I was sitting. Out Jim came and informed me it was a Monitor Lizard (I think!), and getting rather excited moved in for a closer look (and then ocurred a dark moment in my travelling experience!). Little to his knowledge, a black shape swooped down from a tree towards him (and pecked me on the bloomin' head!). We presume it was a rather terratorial crow ousting James from his land! It had scratched his neck with it's Talons and broken the skin on his head with it's Beak (so I immediately insisted on dousing myself with sanitiser!). A little shaken (and paraniod that birds can carry rabies), we decided to cut our visit short and go to the pharmacy (after popping briefly into the Elephant museum of course!). As expected the chemist didn't speak much english and wasn't much help, but a friendly Brit (legend!) overheard our conversation and said "just so you know, only mammals can carry rabies. So as long as it was a criw not a bat you should be fine!" So we trotted off relieved (still checked Wikipedia though!)!!
Next stop, a trip to Ayutthaya.