December 12th, 2009 – by: dlipski
Monday, June 22nd..I think:) As I sit at the Bangkok
Airport, which is huge by the way and as modern as I have ever seen. According to the driver I had for the past couple of days..Yeah they come cheap, 200Bh/Hour..(at 34/dollar exchange) not only they are crazy drivers and cheap, they also take you where you need to go and give you the whole 411 on things, it's like paying for the driver and getting a free tour guide! Anyway, back to the airport, according to "handsome Nick" as he called himself (driver) it took exactly 46 years to complete this airport. 46 years!! WIth the funding situation, changing of prime ministers here, it took forever to actually complete it. It just turned 2 years old.
There are two airports here in BKK..but this is the main hub now..not only for Thailand but SE Asia. One last t thing about this airport, it is the only one I have ever seen that has a Duty Free shop right at the baggage belts/pick-up. Right in the middle in between all the baggage belts. OK...enough about the Airport. My LA to Taiwan on China Airlines flight was pretty bumpy and took waaaayyyy too long. with the time difference +16 hours I got to Taipei at around 8pm local time. 1st thing I noticed was how clean but soo 80's it was there. Everything is old school. I have a picture of the gate, it's quite funny. Anyway..I had about 3 hours to kill so of course I walked all over the airport..tried to get outside and see one of the tallest buildings in the wolrd "Taipei 101" a bamboo stick (Only one taller is the Burj in Dubai right now) Aparetely the elevator there goes 64mph, the fastest elevator in the world.
No time for that, unfortunately but at least I will see the Patronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lupur in a few days which is just slightly shorter, but still taller than the Empire State. Flight from Taipei to Bangkok was little under 4 hours, but thankfully flight was continuing to Amsterdam, so it was another 747-400. Huge..with a lot of space so it was rather decent flight. Got in to BKK at around 2am, 30+ hours of no sleep and counting. Got in to Metropolitan Hotel around 2:45am. Love this hotel, looks almost exactly like the W or Standard..great rooms, dark hardwood floors, etc. Very chick and modern, which is quite the opposite of your regular Thai hotel. Shower, lots of water and sleep. Wake up call at 7am. Next day, breakfast by the pool, going over my to do list for the day.
..busy, looks very busy. Right after breakfast, days starts. I decided to walk over to the Skytrain and start the day by looking at the city from the river. Skytrain is by far the best way to go from point A to Point B in BKK, you would think NYC or LA traffic is bad..this place is way worse. Go to Siam Station and walked over the bridge to take a water taxi to go around the city. it was only 10Bh which is 30 cents. this guy, i think thought was a racer or something...I mean he was going so fast I had to duck the whole time not to get completely soaked. But it was fun! I saw the Thompson Museum and a huge floating market where you can buy just about everything. I got off by Golden Mountain and walked over to Wat Rajanadda which according to the tripadvisor.com is one of the most unappreciated temples in the city.
It was quite beautiful, gold everywhere:) After taking some pics, etc and accidentally walking with some protesters to where my taxi guy was going to pick me up..it was fun. Anyway..handsome Nick picked me up from around the temple and took me to Wat Pho
(entry was 50Bh) , where there is the world's largest reclining buddha. It was HUGE. and all gold. lots of tourists there. from there I went to the Grand Palace (entry here will set you back 350Bh which is little over 10 bucks) Place is massive and funny thing is there is a dress code there. To show respects to the royal family you can not wear shorts, tank tops, etc...but they had a "rental" place there and i rented cool green pants that made me look like a doctor at a mental institution.
Spent few hours there and not sure if I saw everything. There was no sun but it was super hot and humid like a MoFo. I drank 3 mango juices, 2 bottles of water and two coconut juices, all that set me back maybe 140 Bh (about 4 bucks) from there I was taken to the Mecca of Bangkok shopping, where I started off with a nice lunch. I had the best Pad-thai ever..it was only 60 Bh too! which is less than 2 bucks! and couple of heinekens of course:) Anyway, Siam Center, Siam Paragon and MTK are huge and one can easily spend couple of days there. Among all the poor things there were Masserati, Lamborgini, Ferrari dealers in the mall..I wonder how many of them they sell there. I just walked around a little after having a nice cup of espresso (I was getting super tired it was already about 12-13 hours into my day of sight seeing) I got dropped off at the Hotel around 8 and went to the pool.
..exactly what i needed. Got to the room and was going to go to the spa, and then Nick was supposed to pick me up at 11 to see the nightlife, I heard the was a great bar at the Thai Oriental Hotel. I figured I would start down at the Met Bar of the hotel which looked almost exactly like the Whiskey Bar at the W. I sat down on the sofa and opened my eyes I though a minute later only to find out it was 3:30am..GREAT! I was wide awake then. ate half of the mini fridge (bad mistake as everything turned out to be 10x the regular price and went to the pool at 6am and then breakfast. Nick picked me up at 8 and here i am at the airport ready for my Phuket experience. Ok...that's enough for now. Chapter two coming soon:)