Having arrived in Bangkok we made our way to the famous Khao San Road where we had booked our hotel. The shuttle bus from the airport seemed like the most direct way to get there according to the Lonely Planet but after waiting for an hour we found out it no longer runs!
So instead we caught the sky train which takes you into the centre but is still only about 2/3's of the way there. After that we had to get a taxi.
The views from the sky train are really good and we enjoyed getting a good view of the whole city including the good and bad areas. It's also really cheap! The taxi was more of a problem. The taxi's in Bangkok don't like using their metres for tourists and you seem to have to barter for a price before you set off, they like to make more money from you!
We eventually arrived at our hotel, which is down a little side alley off the main road, and checked in before having a little sleep. We were both a bit jet lagged and tired from our overland trip.
When we got up again it was evening and we went to explore Khao San Road and the surrounding areas. Khao San Road is really just a touristy street with lots of street vendors, bars and clubs. Along with many many travellers! We had some Pad Thai Noodles from a street stall, which cost about £1 for our whole meal and a couple of drinks before heading back to bed.
The following day we went in search of a lens repair shop so we could get Sarah's lens serviced and also look for a new compact camera as ours broke in Africa, which is an extra expense we didn't want but there you go.
We took a taxi to the Pantip Plaza which is a bit IT shopping mall which has 5 floors dedicated entirely to electronics such as computers, cameras and gadgets! It was brilliant! We found a camera shop and managed to get a real bargain for a new compact camera with a 4Gb memory card, 2 batteries and a screen protector all thrown in. We also asked around but no one wanted to fix the lens and we were directed to the Canon shop in the MBK shopping mall about 10 minutes' walk away.
MBK is world famous for the fact that almost everything inside is fake! Although it's full of tourists it's mainly used by locals and like all the shopping malls here, it's on a grand scale! Not everything here is a copy though as there is a genuine Canon shop and repair centre on the 7th floor but they quoted 2 weeks to repair the lens which was too long. We'll just have to make do with what we've got for now!
Back on Khao San Road we booked our train and boat tickets to the island of Koh Tao, leaving tomorrow night. After checking out the prices we decided to get a train south rather than a bus as it seemed a lot more comfortable for not a lot more money.
On our third day in Bangkok we weren't due to catch our train until the evening so spent the day wandering around the local area and visiting the Grand Palace. It was very hot though and we decided to walk there but didn't find it straight away so I think Sarah was feeling a bit unwell by the time we arrived. There was a street vendor selling ice cold drinks and ice creams outside for not a lot of money so we took the opportunity to cool down before heading in.
Sarah had worn trousers knowing there is a strict policy on these things but she was also wearing a vest top as it was too hot to wear anything else and I had shorts on so we had to borrow a shirt and trousers to cover up in the temple. They were hideous things which only made it funnier!
As we entered the gates I saw a sign saying free guided tour in English so we went and signed up so we knew what we were looking at. I'm glad we did this as we got a really good guide who was really informative and very funny.
He said he learnt his English from Harry Potter and kept using this to explain mural paintings and Thai history which made us laugh. After that we just called him Harry Potter and I can't remember his real name.
We saw big statues of Gods as well as the Emerald Buddha and various different buildings all commissioned by different Kings and in different styles. One was completely covered in gold leaf.
Once we had completed the tour Harry Potter took us back to the coin and medal museum as our ticket included free entry although it wasn't very interesting and the best bit was the cold drinks and ice creams on sale!
Back to the hotel to collect our bags before getting another taxi to the train station for our next stop - Koh Tao!