To say our journey to Bangkok was an absolute mission would be an understatement! 18 hours on the road! We caught a minibus from Phuket and were on that for six hours, the driver was a lunatic! Quite scary. We then caught a connecting bus, which was a proper coach, for a further two hours; then after being dropped off again we jumped in the back of a truck for a short distance, about 15 minutes. Whilst on the truck, we met an Australian guy who had been travelling for 10 years straight, Fascinating! The man had been everywhere! After being dropped off again again we were relieved to find out that our next coach would be our last. This coach would drive through the night to Bangkok, it was an OK journey. It is always quite difficult to get to sleep on these busses, and it is made more difficult when, just as your nodding off, the coach stops and a Thai woman comes on the coach and shouts at the top her irritating voice, 'stop for thirty minutes'! About five times! Its about 2am when this happens! Aghhhhh!
We arrived in Bangkok, just off the Khao San Road at around 6am. We had booked a hostel prior to our journey. We were approached by a hoard of taxi and tuk-tuk drivers as soon as we stepped off the coach,we negotiated a deal and arrived at our humble abode for the next few days, new road guest house, about twenty minutes later. When we were paying for the taxi we realised we had lost 4000 Baht, about 85 quid, we think it may have been swiped when we were paying for some food whilst on one of the stop-offs on the bus journey. Luckily we had just enough to cover the taxi fare but were obviously gutted to have lost the money! :( We were far to early for check in as it wasn't until 12o'clock and it was still only about half six, so we just had to chill out for a bit. While we were chilling, waiting for the hours to pass until we could get into our room and get some proper rest, we met a nice lad called Carl, he was still up from the night before on the session. He was extremely helpful, borrowed us some money to get some grub, showed us how to get to the cash machine, helped us with our bags and managed to blag us into the DVD room, which had comfy reclining chairs. We chilled out here, watched American pie and caught a few z's. So thanks again for your help Carl, if you ever get round to reading this. Finally 12o'clock came and we chucked our bags in the room and chilled out for the rest of the day. The room was nice enough, although we did find bedbugs on a few occasions! Matted!
Bangkok was where we first found the absolutely legendary 7/11! First of all it is wicked purely because of the ice cold air con - which is lovely when you step in from the sweltering heat, but it also sells little microwavable snacks like toasted sarnies, burgers and hot dogs, which are surprisingly delicious considering they are microwaved! They were very cheap which was handy as we were living on a small daily budget. We ate the majority of our meals here over the next five days and one of the days even ate breakfast, lunch and dinner there! Beer is also very cheap at 7/11 which is always an added bonus. :)
For our first day in Bangkok, we searched through the lonely planet guide book for cheap things to do, unfortunately these were few and far between, so we eventually opted for Jim Thompson's house and the snake farm. Jim Thompson was an American guy who loved Thai culture and built his house in a very traditional Thai manner; he was most well-known for the introduction of Thai silk to the Western fashion world and disappearing in the jungle of Malaysia, he went for a walk on his own and has never been seen or heard of since. I wasn't a massive fan, mildly interesting, Sarah enjoyed it though. We then moved on to the snake farm, which we eventually found after inquiring about directions from many locals! Nightmare! :) When we arrived at the snake farm we discovered that the entrance fee was twice what was stated in the guidebook, so reluctantly we opted not to go in, we just had a little peek over the fence! - being sensible with our budget and all that. Whilst we were sat down having a drink before we set off on our way again, an old man came over and started chatting to us, 'Mr Tom', absolute legend of a bloke. He took us to a bus station where he knew we could get cheap coach tickets to Cambodia and then he took us to the local temples, near to the school where he taught English to primary school children. It was nice to go with a local as he showed us around and took us inside. He also took us to the 'lucky Buddha' this was a group of coin operated machines, similar to the machine used in the film 'Big' with Tom Hanks. He told us to choose one, you then put some small change in, the Buddha then sings and dances for about a minute! According to 'Mr Tom' the 'lucky Buddha' brings you eternal happiness and makes you love your girlfriend 300% more! LOL!
On one of our other days we went to the huge complex of shopping centres, there was four of them until recently when rioters burnt the biggest one down during the much publicised protests in may. The shopping malls were cool, very exclusive places, with all the top designer outlets there and lots of very wealthy people wandering about. As we walked in we saw a massive que of people lining out of the front door - there must have been over two hundred people! We went over for a closer inspection and it turned out a new Krispy Kreme (delicious doughnuts!) store had opened recently and the Thais we're absolutely mad for them! Crazy! When we left the mall, which was probably about six hours later, the que was still the same length, if not longer! Check out the picture. There was an unbelievable amount of food places there, all looking really appetising! They were all very expensive though and certainly out of our budget. However, we did eventually cave in to temptation and had the nicest pizza! (Everyone deserves a little treat every now and again eh?) We then went to the cinema and were chuffed to learn that they have special discounts on a Wednesday, kind of like at home with the 'orange 2 for 1 Wednesdays', it worked out to be only a couple of quid each. It was really nice to be at the cinema with large salted popcorn, this was something I had missed a lot! We went to see 'Grown Ups' with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock, it was very funny. Interestingly, just before the film started, after the trailers had finished and the film was about to show, they played the Thailand national anthem along with a very over dramatic video of the king! Everybody in the cinema stands up and honours the anthem, even all the foreigners, it was nice to see everybody respecting it so much and how patriotic they we're. The Thai's absolutely adore their King! On the way back to our guest house we caught the sky train and just as we were boarding the train we saw Elen Rives (Frank Lampards ex!) standing next to us, - you were a fool to let her go Lamps! :)