So we arrived in Bangkok Tuesday afternoon after a longer flight than expected, we didn't realise they were an hour behind Bali here! We left it to the last mintue (the night before) to book anything for our first night, but I'd been reccommeded the New Siam, so managed to get their number off the internet and called them. Someone answered and I just about managed to leave my name, but luckily when we turned up they had a room for us! Loads of people don't like Bangkok and some people said I would hate it but I absolutely love it here! We originally were going to book 2 nights but have ended up staying 5! Coming from the dead heat of Bali, the smelly gutters of Kuta, and the hustlers who literally drag you into their shops Bangkok has been a breeze! It seems really chilled and the road we're staying on is really nice about 5 mins from Khao San Road it's called Ranbuttri st.
So we dumped our bags and decided to go for a wander around and ended up eating at this restaraunt on the street which was really nice I can't remeber the name. It's so much cooler here than in Bali so you can easily walk round during the day which is good because there's no beach! That night we decided to have a wander down Ranbuttri for a drink, then we found Khao San. There are more designer knock offs than you could shake a stick at! Everything from ralph Lauren to Mac makeup. There are some clothes that wouldn't look out of place in Topshop! We wandered up to the top and had some drinks in Gullivers, which was meant to be a backpackers bar but when we got there it was full of old men trying it on with young Thai women! We called it a night and went back to the hostel. Our room only has a fan which we asumed we had on the highest setting, we realised after a hot restless sleep we actually had it on the lowest doh!
The next day we decided to chill because the weather was so nice. There is another branch of our hostel round the corner with a pool that we could use so we went there for a few hours to work on our tans. In the afternoon we decided to go to Siam Square which is famous for shopping. We went to the bus stop and waited for what seemed like hours so we decided to get a Tuk Tuk which is a little 3 wheeler and the drivers are known for ripping you off, but we decided we wouldn't take any bulls*** and got a good price. Everything is so spaced out you can't really walk to many places. We needed some things so stopped off at Boots! Which is exactly the same as home but half the price! Then we went to MBK which is a huge mall selling everything you could imagine. We were just about to leave when we saw a sign saying there was Muay Thai on in the square for free. It's kind of like martial arts/boxing, the opponents come out and do this little war dance for luck before they start. It started by weight so the first guys seemed like children they were so small. It wasn't very violent so I was a bit disappointed, they just seemed to be slapping eachother. But then the women came out and got stuck in straight away, definately better to watch than the men! We headed back and got something to eat at the place across from our hostel it didn't end up being very nice so we went out for some drinks. We ended up on Khao San Road and got talking to this couple who were leaving the next day, he was from North Shields! These Americans decided to join us one in particular was a bit of a nob my ears were actually ringing from him shouting even though he was sitting about 2cm away form me. He was telling the couple he was American and she was like yeah we heard you a bloody mile away. It certainly doesn't go for all of them but of the ones Ive met so far very true! I tuned out from his ramblings in the end and concentrated on my cocktails!
We had a lie in after our late night and decided to go to the Grand Palace in the afternoon but we got there too late and it was closed. We decided to get a Tuk Tuk to see some of the other temples around. He said it would only cost us 20 baht each to go around for 2 hours and see all the things while we waited. We knew it was a scam, they take you round but make you stop off in tailors and jewellry shops hoping you buy something because they get commission. But we decided it would probably be fun so we went for it. First stop had lots of Buddhas and a temple and some man asked if we were Buddhists because it wansn't a tourist spot so it was good to see. Then he took us to this tailors which only did suits for men so we had to browse for 5 mins before saying we weren't interested and got back in the tuk tuk. Next was Wat Intrawihan which was this giant Buddha covered in gold leaf. He then took us to a gem factory which wasn't too bad because it was aircon'd and we got a free drink so we made the most of it and sat in there for a while before getting back in. He dropped us at Wat Benchamabophit and said take our time. We went in and had a wander and took some pictures then went back out to find him but he had vanished! We waited 10 mins but still no sign of him. Another driver said he had left. Apparently they get a free petrol voucher for taking us to the gem factory so he had got that and done a runner. But we hadn't even paid him yet so we lost nothing, and got a tuk tuk back home for the same price he was asking. We got ready and headed off to chinatown to see the night market. We got there and walked around but couldn't seem to find any market or any place to eat so we ended up in this run down KFC down some back street, I hate KFC at the best of times but this was exceptionally rank, we were annoyed and tired so we just went home to bed because we had to be up early.
We got up at 6 am to go toThe Damnoen Saduak floating market, well 6 am turned into 6.30 we couldn't actually bring oursleves to get up, our room has black out curtains too! But we managed to get up and get out and headed for the bus station. We were in a bit of a rush because it's meant to close at 11am and we had got up late, and it takes 2 hours to get there. So we hopped in a taxi, after about 5 minutes he pulled over and said he had no petrol and dumped us at the side of the road. He said the man in the taxi behind us - his friend apparently would take us. So we got in and the man didn't speak one word of english. Even when we pointed to the bus station on the map he looked confused. Im not convinced he could even drive, the badge in the front of the taxi did not have his picture on it, unless he had aged 30 years over night! So we got out of that one and flagged another one down, we got in and he stank of booze and was driving a little erratically but we made it in one peice! The buses are meant to go every 20 mins but the driver didn't seem to be in a rush to get anywhere so we waited 45 mins before he finally let us on the bus at 9am! I slept some of the way and woke up when we arrived. We hired a longtail boat and driver for an hour to take us round. It's loads of canals with stalls on the sides, and people in boats with food and drinks. We were relieved that it hadn't finished and was still quite lively when we arrived. The driver must have been a bit of a ladies man because he kept getting free food and from the women as we sailed past and lots of winks! We got out and headed back to the bus. We stupidly asumed it would pick us up where we got dropped off, but we had to walk down this huge motorway for about 15 minutes before we actually located the stop on the otherside, again the driver didn't really want to let us on but we got on and left straight away. we decided to go out that night even though we were shattered we wanted some of the famous Khao San buckets. We went for something to eat about 5 minutes down our road, we didn't realise until we sat down and ordered that it was another branch of the awful place we had eaten on the second night. My meal was horrible so we went in search of drinks to wash it down. We ended up getting a vodka bucket, we couldn't face sam song. Apparently you aren't allowed to serve alcohol after 1am so they disguise drinks in plastic buckets, I think that must have been a while ago because most places stay open until the last person leaves if you're drinking buckets or not! We went to another bar and ended up seeing a live Thai band who were really good and did all the classics washed down by another bucket. It didn't seem that busy for some reason so we headed back to our street for some drinks. We got chatting to this canadian woman who had shops in Niagra Falls and was there shopping for them. She had just split up with one of a string of aussie boyfriends. She was telling us that she used to go boat racing with one of them round the world, and they once rescued Steve Fossett who was apprently a close friend of Sir Richard B! She was really inetersting and gave us her number incase we ever ended in Canada!
We had a bit of a lie in we were going to head to the pool to clear our heads but it was lashing down with rain! We had to sort out our tickets to get down to the islands. We had booked them the day before but the travel agent had then told us he had checked the wrong day and the train was fully booked. We went to 2 other travel agents who both said they had beds avaliable for the sleeper train. But they hadn't even checked so we didn't believe them. We decided the only way was to go to the station. We got there and the guy confirmed there were no spaces left in the sleeper carriage only seats so we booked those. We are spending 11 hours in a seat, it's going to be like the plane all over again! We're getting the tarin to Surat Thani then the ferry to Koh Phangan it will take about 16 hours in total! That night we decided we needed to have a nice meal before we left and settled on this Thai place Suki Sabi which ended up being really nice! We had a couple of drinks and wandered up Khao San we couldn't decide what to do with our last night, what better way to spend it than a ping pong show! Everyone who has been says it's a laugh and it's something to check off our list. So we haggled with a tuk tuk driver and got in for 400 baht including the ride there and a drink. I thought we might have been ripped off but people inside paid up to 1000!! I think we are getting good at bargaining! When we pulled up though it just looked like a shabby office block, I thought the worst and didn't know if it was a scam, but we went inside and it was full of backpackers and couples so I felt a bit safer! I won't write much about the show as this is a U rated blog! But it was a real laugh! We decided to leave and get a tuk tuk back. The ones out side said they would take us back for 600 and started laughing, the obviously knew we were in the middle of nowhere and didn't know how to get back so we told them to get lost. We ended up sharing with this aussie bloke who had been dumped by his driver, and we managed to get back no problem after driving a hard bargain with a nice taxi driver!
So today is our last day in Bangkok we decided we really needed to see the Grand Palace before we left. We got there and it was definately worth it (I don't have time now but I'll put pictures up asap) You have to have your knees and shoulders covered to get in, well I had nothing so I had to fashion a skirt out of a dress and put a tshirt over the top, I looked like a hippy. It's the most clothes I've worn since I got here and it was midday so I was boiling! I'm glad we went though the palace is gorgeous full of mosaics all different colours and everything seems to be gold plated! Then we went to the pool to cool off. We're off this evening on the train. I've loved every second in Bangkok but I'm really looking forward to lounging on a nice white beach very soon...
Lots of love Hannah x x x x