The southern bus station in Bangkok early in the morning, was a sign of things to come, busy, chaotic, very hot and extremely smelly.We attempted to catch a local bus toward the Khao San Road and the famous backpacker area but we couldn't find the appropriate numbered bus so opted for a taxi.We were then suitably ripped of by an important looking gentleman with a large booth at the front of the taxi queue.It looked like you needed to see him to get a taxi organised obviously that was totally unnecessary.Hannah knew this all the time of course but decided not to say a word until we were in the taxi having already overpaid considerably!
We walked round for ages with our backpacks in the unbelievable heat, in and out of at least 5 hostels to find the cheapest one trying to recoup some of the baht we had lost (it only worked out to about 3 GBP I kept trying to tell Hannah).Still we found a clean room with fan for 200 baht a night and felt a little better about things.
The first stop in the city was the royal palace and temple of the emerald Buddha.The heat was intense, not helping were the flattering trousers I received at the entrance so I was appropriately dressed.My attempt to use Hannah's scarf as a sarong was met with jeers and shouts of "only for ladies" by the old lady at the entrance. From here we went round the corner to the giant lying Buddha, avoiding many tuk tuk drivers politely suggesting it was currently closed and we should accept a lift to another attraction nearby.A public ferry back to the hostel followed by dinner and a walk round the Kho San road.
The second day we went to the Chatuchak Weekend Market.This was an absolute labyrinth of market stalls on the outskirts of the city.To get there we had a welcome break from the heat and humidity aboard the clean and efficient sky train which also provided our first glimpse of more modern Bangkok.The market was never ending and sold such an array of goods you have to see it to believe it.My highlight was the coconut ice cream served in the shell with strips of the nut itself.I have a sneaky feeling Hannah's was the jewelry stalls.
That evening we dined at our now customary stall just outside the hostel.Fried rice, noodles and curry all 30 baht.This was before we continued the theme of the day and spend another few hours along the market stalls of Khao San.This was made slightly more bearable as you could buy beer at the 7/11 and consume as you went along.Very sore head in the morning still Hannah said I was a much more enjoyable shopping partner when drunk.
The next day we were to meet up at a nearby hotel to register for our intrepid trip through Cambodia.We also managed china town (more markets but somehow even smellier), walk through the park, another golden Buddha, modern shopping complexes that put anything at home to shame and a glimpse at the strangely dressed teenagers that had congregated for a Japanese festival.The intrepid group had 16 people on it, who all seemed nice so we were all set for an early rise and bus trip to Cambodia the following day.