One week in Bangkok and the world's your oyster...
I can feel an angel sliding next to me!!
In all fairness, I did sometimes feel like an angel, the guardian version, whilst walking down Soi Cowboy with any of my guy friends. The, krhm, bar girls rarely harass guys who have a girl with them... Well, usually whilst travelling it's the solo females who should take more care, but in Bangkok it's most definitely the solo males.
BUT ANYHOWS let's move on to more parent-friendly material...
I spent a week in Bangkok last week, making Thailand the second Asian country I have visited in my life. I spent three nights in a hostel (Bodega Bangkok, absolutely brilliant, highly recommended), two nights at my TEFL-friend Gemma's, then two more at the hostel. Absolutely amazing time, making loads of friends at the hostel and having Gemma as a highly talented itinerary-creator and -executor, I feel I managed to do quite a lot. :)
So, what to do in Bangkok... (or what not to do)
1. VISIT TEMPLES. The old town is full of funky ancient temples, most notably the epic Grand Palace. Golden temples and ridiculously ornate lion and dragon creatures in the blistering heat (can heat be blistering??).
Anyhoos, the Grand Palace complex was established in 1782 (after King Rama I ascended to the throne) and it consists of not only the royal residence and throne halls, but also a number of government offices as well as the renowned Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It covers an area of 128,000 square metres and is surrounded by four walls, 1900 metres in length. (Love from the leaflet we picked up there.)
|Constant reminders to respect Buddha|
It was ridiculously impressive and definitely worth the 500 bahts we paid, even though we didn't explore the far corners of the governmental buildings.
The dress code at the Grand Palace is very strict, and I bought cool (“cool”) elephant trousers to wear there. The guys got lent long, stylish ("stylish") trousers by the palace.
We witnessed one lady get shouted at by a very angry security dude when she decided to take off her cardigan once within the Palace area...
We also visited Wat Pho which has the largest reclining Buddha. Unfortunately reclined Buddha is not an outdoor dude so the pictures taken are not the best.
|Special treatment for tourists|
The highlight of Wat Pho was however the monk exam.
2. GO ON A MOTORBOAT FERRY. On our way to the temples, after taking the sky train (metro in the sky, pretty awesome) and the metro we took the most interesting ferry I have been on in my life – it clearly had issues being a ferry since it very clearly thought it was a speedboat.
Water spraying on both sides as we bumped up and down the river – the closest I can describe it to is a funfair ride. Chris was also constantly in awe of the insane-looking engine puffing large gusts of black smoke. Probably not the most environmentally friendly way to travel...
|See the spray|
|A fat ex-dinosaur|
|And watering lorries|
A few days later also were treated to a free concert by the Bangkok Orchestra or something, loads of people, pretty cool!
But it was CONFUSING. Two different guys told us Wat Pho was closed till 3pm (which it wasn't), but neither proceeded to anything even remotely close to gemming, even remotely close to getting anything to their advantage. They just seemed like normal confusing guys.
We rapidly thought of an excuse to leave when one dude took us into the shadows of the Grand Palace, introducing himself as a volunteer. Still, nothing threatening or even vaguely uncomfortable, so still quite confused what their aim was!!
6. VISIT CHATUCHAK MARKET, apparently one of the biggest in the world. Gemma took me there to buy souvenirs and eat many foods. I bought a stunning home-made dress (well, probably), a million bracelets and earrings, elephant-flip flops (I officially have elephant everything now) many souvenirs and lots of food and drink. Mango rice and extremely dodgy-looking frozen bananas topped with chocolate and nuts.
|Mango and sticky rice with coconutty sauce!!|
I loved wandering about Chatuchak, full of interesting shops and personalities, my favourites being with a man who got tired of being a shop keeper and became a dancing tambourinist, and the main coconut seller, hitting them with a knife so the water flew, while shouting aggressively “come and get coconuts, young, fresh and beautiful!”
|Ok he looks too calm in this one... wait till you see the video.|
7. VISIT KHAO SAN ROAD. Not too often though. The official insane backpacker street, crazy during the day, completely insane at night. A lot of fun, but wouldn't go there many more times... Publishable highlights include street sellers selling bugs on sticks (my friends ate scorpions, and I posed with and bought a cockroach, but I did not eat it, sorry I'm a squeamish eater) and dancing to street DJs, so cool!!
|Apparently spiders are gooey on the inside|
|So fake IDs are one of the many services Khoa San offers|
During the day it is also full of stalls which we went round one day.
Also, many massage places (one thing I sadly didn't have time to do... :( next time!) and cool little finds on side streets, including the Gasoline Bar, which had a Lucky Hour – they flip a coin and if you correctly guess head or tails (though it was 'king' or 'temple' there) you got your cocktail for free!
|Some of my favourite fellow-hostellers at the lovely Gasoline Bar :)|
|Finally in MY taxi|
Also, Connor and I found a Food court at some far-out shopping centre, where we experienced more Questionable Efficiency – long story short, after getting our plates of food we wandered about with them in this large Food Court looking for somewhere to pay, ended up having to go to and fro between the payment card (they have some special E-card which you transport to places) recharge place, the paying place and the original stall we ordered our food at... Safe to say our food was cold by the time we finished our miniature exploration and were allowed to sit down and eat.
|The said food ('Katsudon', we got it coz we had no idea what it was)|
10. GO ON DAY TRIPS. Which include elephant-feeding and being jumped on by crazy monkeys who have taken over a ruined temple. And that is to be continued in future entries...
|The local xeom driver of Lopburi|