We arrived safely in Bangkok after a great flight with BA, good old captain picard got us there safe and sound. We kid you not that was the captains name, well that's the name he announced over the tannoy which we found very amusing. With BA giving complimentary drinks on their long haul flights we drank away until the early hours of the morning while the rest of the plane slept. We did get some sleep but was woken after a couple of hours by some pretty shocking turbulence, not the best way to get woken up after a good drink. Both with big hangovers we got off the plane and passed through customs and got our first stamp in our new passports which was very exciting. We collected our bags and got a taxi to the hotel. The taxi driver tried the old scam of this meter taxi will cost you 500 b (£10) to rent but after some persuasion he put the meter on and it cost about 250b (£5). Driving through bangkok at 5pm was a an eye-opener to the different culture and non existent highway code. We'd love to know what the driving test is over here as they basically do what they want on the road, it was crazy. When we finally reached our hotel the view from are room was just amazing (see pic for yourself). It was definitely a big hello Bangkok when the concierge opened the curtains, we had no wall and just Bangkok staring back at us. After the flight and hardly any sleep with nightfall approaching we decided not to head out of the hotel and went up to the revolving restaurant for a very overpriced meal. It was worth it though just to gaze at the view of Bangkok at night. It really is an amazing city (again see pics). Whilst at the restaurant we thought we had spotted the way to what we thought was the Grand Palace and decided the next day we would just try to walk there.
Started with an epic fail but turned out ok
We attempted to walk to the Palace on our own with no map and not knowing the city layout or even how the road signs worked. It was an epic fail! After about 30 mins walking we finally worked out that the road signs were Thai one side and English the other, with no idea where we were we opted for a tuk tuk driver to take us to the Grand Palace. 200b was his offer, we managed to get him down to 100b which we were impressed with however he must have driven for about 10 min and then dropped us off! We were finally at the grand palace but we had no intention of going in we were just trying to get are bearings with it all. We were sat on a bench with our lonely plant book out, looking at the map trying to figure out where everything was. We wanted to find Khaosarn road because that's where all the backpacker go. We worked out where it was when this Thai guy (supposed to be a teacher at the university) came over to help us. He gave us a map and wrote down loads of things and attractions we should see. He was talking so fast and we were both so baffled by if all! We just went along with what he said, he even sorted a tuk tuk out for us to go see it all for 40b. We got in the tuk tuk and headed around Bangkok seeing first off a standing buddha (Wat Intrawihan). We then went on see Wat Rachathiwat (sitting buddha). We thought the next stop was going to be a zoo but it turned out to be a suit fitting shop! This we thought was strange as whilst outside the sitting buddha some guy was chatting and asked us where we going next. We showed him the map and he started talking to us us about how great it is to buy suits in Thailand as they are all made by Armani! Apparently they are so cheap and the government even pays for the first one but not the second if you buy two suits. You become a member and have them sent over to the UK for half the price, again we were both just sitting there like nodding dogs just going along with everything he said. Anyway, we walked in to the shop and then turned around and walked back out. We asked the driver to take us back to our hotel after the next stop instead of going to the last place which wasto see a reclining buddha. He wasn't too happy about this and said that first we must go to the tourist information place so he can get free gasoline. We were both again baffled by it all and went into the shop asked about boat rides and walked straight back out. The next stop was a golden mountain that you can see all of Bangkok from, not really what we wanted to do as we had already seen it all from our hotel but we thought it was worth seeing again! It kind of was. At the top we could see our hotel so we thought if we ask to go there next then the driver wouldn't have to go so far. Anyway, by the time we got to the bottom it turned out our driver had left and another driver was taking over but for us to go to the hotel we had to go to another tourist info place ( basically where you book tours and tickets and pay them extra and they then pay the tuk tuk drivers a commission or reward of some kind ). After some arguing with the driver as if we didn't go we would have had to pay 100 b and after the day we had we just decided to go so we only payed 40b. We sat in the shop for about 15 min until the guy trying to sell us stuff realised we wasn't going to buy anything but he did give us some free water which was much needed. Back at our hotel we reflected on the day we'd had and it all fitted together...the first guy who said he was a teacher probably wasn't he's part of the suit scam along with the guy outside the sitting buddha place who said he was a banker! It was all very conveniently planned out. The tuk tuk driver give us the cheap price because he thought he was going to get some commission from the suit guys but realised he didn't so tried his luck with the tourist info place but failed. By the end of it even though we'd nearly been scammed we felt like winners as we had a free map of Bangkok which came in very handy, some free water and seen a few sights and only payed a £1 not a bad day out! We were finally getting our heads around the new culture. Basically we decided that meter taxis are better than tuk tuks and we should avoid the tuk tuks as they are all scamming greedy b*****s.
That night we finally managed to reach Khaosarn road and it was amazing full of like minded people..the whole place was just buzzing with market stalls, food stalls, little indian kids trying to sell you an amarni suit (if you walk from one end of the road to the other you bassically get asked to buy a suit about 30 times) tuk tuk drivers trying to get you in to see a ping pong show or go in his tuk tuk and the frog women who basically walk round rubbing the backs of these wooden frogs the sound is very simular but we cant why many people would buy them.We found some cheap food and a pub to watch Wales win the grand slam happy days. Our first day out was a good one, eventful but good.
We decided to go to Jatujak market which is a huge market that sells everything even pets. We found the train station with the help of our map which we were well chuffed with and went to the market to get some much needed clothes. Thinking it would be cheaper than at home... epic fail number 2... the clothes were so much more expensive and the market traders were not up for haggling! We got a few bits and then headed home. We didn't see that much of the market so we will probably head back to it for a proper nose when we visit Bangkok another time. In the night we decieded to stay in and experience another meal in the revolving resturant. We came to conclusion that we needed to start to plan out what we wanted to do in Thailand to get the most out of our trip so we spent the rest of the night with our heads in a book swatting up on places to go and things to do.
Day 4 The Grand Palace and reclining Buddha.
Now knowing how it all works and how to get from a to b we went to the Grand Palace wearing the correct clothes (you must be covering most of the body, if you don't wear the correct clothes you have to rent sweaty clothes that other people have been wearing... kind of like forgetting your gym kit at school). The Grand Palace was amazing it knocks chunks out of Buckingham Palace. The colours along with the lay out and the detail they put into their buildings is amazing, we were both taken aback by it all... it was awesome. They had a miniature Ankor Wat sight which is a huge set of temples in Cambodia we plan on visiting so that was pretty epic to see and got us excited for that. The emerald buddha was amazing you couldn't take any pictures in the room where he sat but it was absolutely beautiful. It was a long day walking around it all and in the 38 degree heat it was a mission. We planned on going to the reclining buddha next and then the zoo but only made it to the reclining buddha thinking it was just a lazy golden buddha lying down. We thought it would only take half an hour to see... how wrong were we. It was connected to a temple site called Wat Pho which was huge so it took us ages to get around it all. After going around half of it we decided we were all buddha'd out for one day and went to Khaosarn road for some food and drinks. One thing we have definitely learnt is that the Church of England have got it all wrong. The buddhist community must rake in the cash from people visiting all the buddhas. There are collection boxes at all the sight and all full of cash! You have to pay to get in to some of them. The thing is Jesus on a cross just wouldn't be as appealing as golden buddha's of all shapes and sizes... in the past 3 days we have seen a sitting, a standing, and one lying down, we were starting to think what's next buddha having a cuppa or watching telly........
Ps photos to follow when we get a better internet connection