Blog : Bangkok
After a quick airasia flight from Krabi to Bangkok we caught a taxi from the airport to our hotel, using the meter after umming and arring about what would be the better option - fixed price or meter and the driver spoke no English but had no idea where he was going so we had to fish out a telephone number for him to call and find out the location, even though we'd shown him the address! We got a bit ripped off when we paid because he added an "airport fee" onto the 400 baht that the meter showed which we didn't think was quite right but the hotel was absolutely gorgeous so we didn't care! It had quite an unassuming front but after going up some escalators into the shanghai mansions hotel we were very happy. The decor was amazingly detailed and oriental and we got served complimentary green tea whilst we waited to check in and a bell boy took our backpacks to our room. I thought we'd look really out of place with our backpacks and lonely planet books but actually there were a lot of couples that looked like they were travelling and had wanted a little bit of cheap luxury in such a busy city! Our road was so cool though, or wasn't like London china town where it almost looks a bit like a facade, this was the real deal, with sharks fin soup being served on the side of the road and absolutely no English on sight, more a mix of Chinese and Thai, it was crazy and the road was full to the brim with traffic; it looked like on a four lane road there was six lanes of traffic, plus bikes on the pavement and some going the wrong way up the middle of the road. It certainly wasn't quiet and peaceful koh lanta! Our room was huge and really beautiful with a massive fake but real looking rose tree in one corner and a big ornately carved wooden four poster bed and amazing silk wallpaper in bright colours and patterns. We took loads of pictures as inspiration for our bedroom when we renovate a house at home (a dream for both of us) as we both love the Chinese style, minus the light pink colouring! The ensuing bathroom was bigger than our whole bungalow back in Lanta and there was complimentary shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and even ear buds which B was very excited about!!
We got in and both showered and had a quick breather before heading out again to try and look around the grand palace, which the cookery class couple again had recommended. It was hot and quite muggy but because we were going to a temple I had trousers and a Tagore on covering myself up to be respectful. Unfortunately we found out that the temple shut early in the afternoon, so we weren't able to go and look around, so we decided to head over to Siam square which had two big and famous shopping centres, the MBK and the Siam discovery centre. As well as the trendy Siam square where all the cool locals are meant to hangout so we were keen to do some people watching as well. We larked around in a big water fountain that was in the square and B dared me to run through the middle of it, so I did and I was so lucky, at that moment the jets of water were very low down and the second I stepped out they shot up again in a new round of rising and falling!! I was victorious and high diving B whilst a gaggle of teenage Thai girls were giggling at us and pointing! He couldn't believe I'd managed it! In the big shopping centres we were amazed at how many shops sold the same amount of stuff and the varying prices... B nearly wet himself when he saw the electronics section, everything was categorised by floor and type of product and some were real shops and others market style where you could haggle the price... B was in his element looking at unbranded iPads and DVDs and everything and all the new little gadgets for your phone or iPod! But after a while everything did become a bit same same, to use the Thai phrase so we headed outside and saw that a relatively big night market had spring up on the pavement along the side of the main road selling clothes, jewellery, shoes, electronics, underwear, designer handbag fakes, literally everything, so we enjoyed walking up and down looking at everything and psyching ourselves up for a big day of market shopping the following day.
We jumped in a tuktuk and headed over to Khao San Road next, which is the big backpackery street with cheap bars and hostels and loads of market shops spilling out all over the road. We were meeting up with Al, Kate and Tom for a drink and they ended up running a bit late so we wandered up and down the street, amazed at all of the western tourists and how drunk they were and how unimpressed the Thai touts were and we listened to the guys on the table next to us getting completely ripped off for leather bracelets, it was all a bit weird! Khao San was crazy busy with everything on it and was the complete epitome of Thailand and all of the Bangkok stereotypes, a million and one 7/11s and McDonalds's! The road wasn't as big or long as I was expecting though... We met with Kate and Tom and then walked to another bar and met up with Al and ordered a lovely G and T, my first since coming off antibiotics, and we had some apple flavoured shisha which was fun all together and we were quite close to a relatively nice hotel so we could use the toilet which was good, rather than weeing in piss alley like the boys did! After a couple of drinks we moved another bar and ordered a mojito bucket that B and I shared and then about midnight Kate and Tom called it a night as it was his last night and his flight was really early the next day. The girls were going to spend the day together at Kate's hotel by the pool whilst B and I had our last day together :( we headed home a little while later, jumping into another taxi, as we couldn't for the life of us suss out the trains, there were no stops near our hotel and they were really slow the one time we did try them! We cuddled down into our massive double bed for the night and watched a little tv before catching some zzzz's before our early morning and a busy day of Bangkok.
The breakfast was really good so I absolutely stuffed myself, I had about three plates of fry up because I knew that with shopping and dashing around, lunch was going to be off the cards! We caught a taxi to Chatchuk weekend market, where we'd heard great things and so thought it was worth the ride out of town. It was absolutely hugeeeee when we got there! So so so big, it was probably five times the size of any market I've ever been to in my life before and it had sections for everything... Pet food, second hand clothes, trainers, food and drink, furniture, watches, leather stuff, Christ there was bloody everything! There was about 50 sections and say 30 isles in each section! We wandered around and around and B noticed that there was a bit of a weird man following us a little bit so we ducked in and out of a few stalls to shake him off and then we thought that probably because it was so busy that we felt like that but we shook him off anyway! We had to keep buying water every twenty minutes or so because it was so hot and sweaty though in all the narrow, undercover aisles. I found an amazing second hand sequin stall and fell in love with loads of stuff which I tried on whilst B sat on a little stool because his leg was giving him some jip. He persuaded me to buy a nice dress and a long evening jacket that he said if I don't like when I get home I can put on eBay and sell for three times the price... I could have spent about three days just in the market! There wasn't as much boys stuff so I think the novelty of the market wore off quicker for B than me although he was saying seeing the delight in my eyes at such a shopping haven was keeping him amused! We caught a tuktuk back into town towards Siam Square so we could pick up some lunch and have a look at some of the fake trainer shops around the area and a shop that I'd seen a gorgeous blazer in! We had a disastrous lunch, which was really expensive and cold and gross! I had undercooked salmon and cold egg which was rank and B had a pizza that was so creamy it was disgusting so we sacked it off and went for chocolate donuts instead at about 4pm! We wandered around little Siam which was another market but that told really trendy stuff rather than having to root through the rails in the earlier market... And lots and lots of designer bags. I fell in love with a red mulberry purse and we managed to haggle it down to 1000baht which was a good bargain as it was a good fake! In another tuktuk ride we stopped outside quite a few temples and palaces and past the old town so we felt like we'd been quite cultural as well. After quite a lot of research we decided to go to Iron fairies, which was a really cool and urban restaurant bar with a live jazz band. It was in Sucumvit, the cool Chelsea type upmarket place in the city centre and in a dark and dingy iron factory style building with low tables and a simple menu of burgers and peanuts. We had a lovely bottle of wine and a massive burger each with veggie kebabs and wedges and really enjoyed watching all of the Asian party on the big table next to us and we both felt like we were back in east London! B looked really good, dressed all suave and I had one of my new sequin dresses on :) it was a fantastic last meal together... Above our table there was an old fashion style locker which had mini sections and hidden messages and letters and business cards in each! We then took a taxi across town to the Sky bar, which was the highest bar in Bangkok, with a supposed fantastic view of the city lights at night. We got dropped off in completely the wrong place, we'd ended up in Patpong which is the new red light district of Bangkok and all of the prozzies were so dreadful looking, all tarted up and wearing disgusting 90s sex clothes and pulling terrible faces, not looking happy. We walked through the Main Street quite quickly because it was so seedy and everyone dead behind the eyes. Eventually arriving at the sky bar was amazing, the drinks were quite expensive but we didn't pay and entry free and we were on the 63rd floor overlooking the city, which was incredible and we saw all of the parts of the city that we hadn't even had time to explore! We chilled having our drink and chatting together and really just enjoying each others company and reflecting on what a fantastic holiday we'd had together :) on our way of our the building we saw there'd been a big lorry crash which had brought down a whole electricity pole and there was live wire spiking all across the road... We took some funny pictures of us pretending to hold up the fallen pole before managing to catch a cab home. We packed up and organised our can to the airport for the following day and had a momentary flap about my Vietnam visa and when it started, as the girls started a day later than they were due to arrive -eeek! We sat and watched the end of our TV series and spend one last night in each others arms and fell asleep instantly from such a hectic and long day and another early morning looming to catch our flights, B home and me to Vietnam.
The hotel had prepared us a breakfast box each for the journey as we set off before breakfast started and the taxi to the airport took about an hour. When B checked in he was asked of he would mind being on a later flight as his was overbooked and as compensation for the ten or so hour wait he had ahead of him Emirates would transfer the both of us to the airport hotel (voted fifth beat airport hotel in the world) which had a pool and a gym, free food and drink for B, dress transfer back to the airport later, a bedroom, oh and a free return flight to Bangkok valid for a year!! Hello!! It was great because it gave us another hour together before I had to go and board my flight. I hid a coin in the airport cafe that I sat on whilst I waited to board the plane, wrapped in the ferry ticket from Phi Phi to Koh Lanta and sent B picture clues on where to find it later when we was in the airport for his flight, to keep him entertained. I was amazed that he actually found it as I hid it in a table decoration! He said that security were watching him very closely as he snooped around the cafe without him buying anything!! Funny!! I was a bit fragile on the plane knowing that we'd had the most perfect holiday and that we wouldn't be together again for quite a while... On to Hanoi though, to keep myself very busy and see the coast of Vietnam back with the girlies and Crista.