Ever been on a plane with no air conditioning in a country where the humidity sits rather uncomfortably at 90%? Well, we have. Added to that we were hungover but that is very much in the past, Bangkok has wiped that slate very clean. Well clean is maybe not the word, despite bringing the weather with us, ie the rain, it fails to clean these streets. Maybe that is part of the charm of the place, you can quite easily live on very little here, if only we knew how!
Our first experience of Thailand was at night, it was raining and we managed to haggle a taxi driver down from 900baht to 450. Neither of us knew quite how far the airport was from Koh Sahn Road so the half an hour taxi ride left us thinking that maybe we had been too aggressive with our haggling and he was going to turn us over in an alley way! It wasn't to be and we arrived at the bottom of Koh Sahn in the rain, welcomed by one of the most incredible sights we will ever see. It was about 7pm and despite the weather the street was heaving! People everywhere, selling, buying, eating or just wandering. Its worth pointing out that there were a fair few people drinking as well!!
We booked ourselves into our windowless room in the infamous D+D inn and headed off into the street. Never in one place have I seen so many people selling the same stuff. T-shirts, watches, hats, you name it you can buy it. And my God do they want to sell it! You have to be rude to these people otherwise you will end up with a mans hand half way up your crotch measuring you up for a silk suit!
Having listened to Mat and Josh talk about this place I thought I knew what to expect. But the truth is, you don't. Nothing prepares you for the sight of hundreds of people coming together in a far away city, with the sole purpose of having fun and all on one street. It is madness. The street lights and signs mean it is a 24hour road, there is always somewhere you can buy spring rolls!!
So our first night we just had a few beers got talking to pretty much everyone in the 'rooftop' bar and ended up in the 'club' with about 20 people we had only just met, dancing away on a stage. Not a bad start.
The next day we went over to the MBK shopping center and revelled in the mass of stalls. Without over exaggerating, spread over the 7 floors there had to be a million home made watches for sale! I say homemade because they were most certainly not real!! Not a lot here is.
In the evening we went for dinner with a few people and ended up sitting in a bar with some guys we met the night before plus a few more randomers drinking buckets! We then went to shamrock before heading over to Pat Pong road. If you think you have seen it all, let me assure you if haven't seen two people play ping pong when only one of them has a bat, go and see a 'show.' It is an experience, and that is where I will leave that.
After the show Baker and I got separated and for those who know Baker this will come as no surprise. I found him, outside our hotel at 4am, Guitar in hand, 'jamming' with some passers by. He tells me it was out of tune, I told him to not blame the instrument.
This morning we did Bangkok in a day as advised by the trusty Lonely planet guide. They were right, you can do it in a day. We walked over to the grand palace, dodging tuk tuks and taxis along the way. The building was built for some king some time in the past, a really long time ago, (no guide tour for us!!) But what a place. Gold everywhere and the murals depicting a story about said King were just incredible. We sat in one temple and admired the shrine to the Emerald Buddha for at least half an hour. It was strange the sense of tranquility which surrounded the whole place, considering the mayhem outside its walls. But the emerald Buddha which was 'found' in 1456 obviously was so sacred to not only the Thai people but every Buddhist who came into the room that you cannot help but be in awe of it all. The fact the king changes its clothes thrice a year just highlights how important it is.
In the same compound was the Kings Palace, which is huge. Makes Buckingham palace look like a 3 bed semi in Loughborough. Just Immense.
Afterwards we walked over to the reclining Buddha at Wot Pho.The largest Buddha in the world and quite comfortably so I would imagine! Baker used the word behemothic. I just guess that means big.
Right time running down, we have just booked our 350 mile bus to Cambodia for a grand total of 11quid. Leaving at 8am. So our next write up will include this little adventure.
Siem Riep, Angkor Wat and Tonle sap here we come!!
O yeh, and its sunny for the first time today!! Baker's burnt his thighs, one for the ladies........... Pics to follow soon.