Having spent the last month travelling round Burma, a rather underdeveloped and back to basics country we were both ready for something a bit more modern and straightforward. Don't get us wrong, we absolutely loved our time Burma, it's definitely in the top 3 countries on our trip but sometimes when travelling all you want is a hot shower and some home comforts. With this in mind we decided to stay close to but not that close to the Khao San Road, the tourist Mecca in Bangkok. To be honest the KSR has now become something of a parody of itself, the tourist bars and market stalls are all still present but the place lacks a soul, and the people there look tired and bored. Aside from going to Boots to stock up on medicine and picking up some cheapish $4 tee shirts we stayed clear of the place.
We did make the most of the more western focussed restaurants that surround the area though. An amazing diner run by a Scottish / Canadian and Thai couple really stood out. You may have guessed that food is a big part of this trip as it features heavily in our blog updates. Aside from NZ and Australia we've almost entirely relied on other peoples cooking (Oh the hardship I know!), this means we've had the pleasure of sampling a huge range of different cuisines. I didn't expect to be wolfing down Poutine a Canadian delicacy of Chips in Gray with Melted Cheese though. I also had amazing BLT sandwiches for lunch, a once a week occurrence back home and something I'd pined for over the last nine months.
Aside from the temples, pagodas and Buddha statues which we'd seen a lot of over the last two months we really wanted to try and see an alternative side to Bangkok. A quick search on the ever essential Trip Advisor website and our afternoon was planned . First a hectic yet exciting trip across town via taxi and Bangkok's excellent SkyTrain to the downtown area for a bit of Christmas shopping. MBK, a huge mutli level mall is my idea of heaven but Bee's idea of hell. The hundreds of small electronic shops all offer a mix of essentially the same thing, games, films and a host of electronic gadgets. It wasn't 5 minutes before Briony was cursing and making her way towards the nearest exit! I could have spent the rest of the day there but apparently we had other things to do.
Like Espcape Hunt, a Sherlock Holmes themed live puzzle adventure room whereby your tasked with solving a murder and in the process manage to escape out of the room. Think Crystal Maze meets Treasure Hunt just without Richard O' Brien and Anneka Rice. If this sounds totally bonkers then that's because it is! The room(s) feature a series of cryptic puzzles set against a strict one hour time limit. We made it out with minutes to spare with a massive sense of accomplishment and huge smiles on our faces. If you get the opportunity to try one of these new attractions we highly recommend them.
In keeping with our unconventional Bangkok experience, our next event was a trip to the cinema. Not just any cinema mind you! Paragon Cineplex not only has more than a dozen screens, two of which are IMAX but it also features a 4DX screen. What is 4DX I hear you ask? Well the seats move, there are bright strobe lights and incredible surround sound. Not only that but the room is temperature controlled to match the film setting and jets of air are blasted in your face to simulate fast movement. Apparently smells can also be wafted throughout the room but we didn't notice these.
It's all done to try and make the film experience more real and boy does it work. It helped immensely that we chose a film perfectly suited to this new technology. Gravity a film about being stuck in space featured a series of extended first person shots. As the seats tilted to follow the view of the characters you couldn't help but get drawn further into the drama. The more action oriented scenes had our heads spinning as the temperature dropped and blasts of cold air hit our faces we'd bother never felt more like George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, the two main protagonists in the movie. Again if you get the opportunity to sample a film in 4DX you really have to give it a go!
With our couple of days in Bangkok coming to an end we both felt we'd made the most of our time. OK so we may have missed some of the more popular sites but our alternate Bangkok adventure would stay in our minds forever.