Bangkok - 6th - 10th March 2011
Mar 11, 2011
|Wow, what can we say about Bangkok?! An amazing place!
Day 1 - After our long flight we decided on Sunday to have a nice and easy day just looking around a market and a look around the city in the afternoon.
Chatuchak Weekend Market was our point of call for the morning. One of the worlds largest markets with over 15000 stands! After a quick metro ride and a brief spell hugging the toilet due to the malaria tablets for Kat, we set out into the chaos! This was our first real look at what Thailand has on offer, from furniture and clothes to food and snacks. Everything imaginable was there. A main thoroughfare broke off into undercover alleys and mazes of stands. We only ventured into the middle of the market for a short while as it was too hot, stuffy and smelly! Little did we know this wouldn't be the worst of the smells to come! We accidentally came across the things we needed from the market (which we have already lost!) and sat down to our first Thai meal there. We both had chicken curry, started safe! Was nice and not too spicy and only 60Baht each (just over a pound, and double what we've averaged!)
Back onto the metro again and after a quick stop we had a few hours to spare before the football was being shown. We decided that it wasn't to far to walk to Khao San Road. 3 & 1/3 hours later we realised this was a big mistake. We saw and smelt some things we think we wouldn't have seen otherwise though, so it wasn't all bad. When we got there Chris had a surprising visit to the toilet, the surprise being that he was in the ladies the whole time! We got some Pad Thai (Thai noodles) from a street cart then settled in a bar to watch the football. After a good result and possibly too much beer we wandered into a tattoo parlour, whoops! don't know how that happened but have the evidence to prove it! A taxi ride home and we were safely tucked up in bed.
Day 2 - We decided to visit the Grand Palace, the ReclinBuddhaudha and the Golden Mount today.
Luckily we woke without hangovers, and thanks to our noisy roommates in our dorm, got up at a good time. To avoid a big walk again we took the bus to the Grand Palace. We stopped for some lunch in the market opposite, Pad Thai for Chris and Pork with Garlic for Kat. On our way to the Palace we were stopped by a Tuk Tuk driver telling us that the palace was closed until 2pm. Having read up on the scams around the area Kat ignored him, but Chris told her we should listen as he was telling us information! Another man stopped us just outside to tell us that it was only open for Thais at the moment for praying! It was open for everybody so in we went. The palace has a strict dress code that Kat thought she had prepared for, but leggings were not allowed as skin tight, so had to wear a sarong as a skirt and a nice shirt from the borrowing cupboard to cover her shoulders! very sexy! The palace was beautiful, and huge. We learnt that it is not actively used now, only for certain special occasions such as coronation day.
After a good look around we left to goto Wat Pho to see the Reclining Buddha. 46metres long x 15 metres high! It is just behind the palace so we walked round. The reclining Buddha was amazing! Very big. We got some good pictures even though there is not much space around buddha, his house is very small. In Wat Pho there are 394 gold buddhas. We think we saw them all! It was getting very hot around Wat Pho and plenty of rests were needed. We decided to walk to the golden mount as once again the map lied and said it was very close! On the way Chris took a bit of a tumble and even when we got there after a rest we questioned weather we could get to the top! We did! We were rewarded with 360 degree views of the city and a soundtrack of monks calling the people to pray (which resembled an old man wailing in the street!) We headed to Khao San Road for dinner and had our first tastes of Green and Yellow curry. Very nice. A bus home and another day was done.
Day 3 - We got up nice and early with the intentions of going Ayutthaya, Thailand's previous capital, for a day trip. When we got to the station however we found we had just missed the train! After our previous days efforts walking around we decided not to wait for the next train and instead have a quiet day.
We had seen what looked like a temple whilst on the bus the previous day and a 5 minute walk took us there. It was strange! Very pretty like the temples we had seen, and the old man calling to prayer was there but no tourists that we could see! We ventured up the stairs but felt out of place. Some Chinese tourists were at the top and asked to have their picture taken with us (strange!) but then we decided to leave. We think it was probably an active temple/church. We went across the road to a shopping centre and had lunch massaman curry yum yum.
Still feeling a little tired we headed to lumphini park. We had a relaxing stroll around the park and an interesting ride on a ducky pedalo (Kat's idea) where we saw big lizards and terrapins in the water.
Having spoke to other travellers, and wanting to visit a night market for dinner we headed to Pat Pong. Pat Pong is home to the infamous ping pong shows! Here we had our first insight to the thai sex market, getting offered ladies, lady boys and men at every turn. Through all the chaos and hustle and bustle we managed to find a stall selling nice green curry and took a stroll back to the dorm.
Day 4 - Today day we actually went to Ayutthaya. It was a one and a half hour train journey, which was an experience in itself. The train could only be described as rickety and was extremely slow. Having said that we saw some nice scenery, and met a very friendly Thai lady. One of the annoyances on the trains we now know are vendors walking up and down the train selling their wares with a terrible screech, which would annoy even the most patient person. Once off the train we took a short ferry ride and we found ourselves there.
We walked around looking for lunch only for Kat to stand in something that resembled poo, however, there seemed to be no smell. Having found somewhere to have lunch, the food resembled what Kat had previously stood on. We intended to visit Wat Ratburana, Wat Phra Mahathat, and Wat Phra Si Sanphet. All the Wats were in the Khmer style.
Wat Ratburana was quite small, but had a good main tower which we climbed and got some good pictures. Around lay lots of ruins of the buddha statues which we got some fun pictures with, even though we were not really allowed!
Right next door was Wat Phra Mahathat. Being in foolish mood we had fun taking some more pictures in unusual poses around the Wat. This Wat seemed to be better preserved and was much larger. It contained the iconic Buddha head amongst the tree roots.
We set out to walk to Wat Phra Si Sanphet. An eventful walk through parks, passing markets and numerous elephants led us to .............. absolutely nowhere. We were running out of time to catch the train so we headed back to the ferry along the long long long straight road.
When we arrived back we headed back to Pat Pong for dinner, then to the hostel to pack ready for our early trip to Pattaya in the morning.
All in all, having enjoyed our time in Bangkok, we realised that Bangkok is not for the pedestrian, that the Thais are vewry friendly in the city, and that it is very big!!!. We were glad to be leaving the hustle and bustle for the peace of the beach.