First trip to Bangkok
This trip was from Siem Reap to Bangkok and included lots of random waiting at border-control. Bangkok traffic was Crazy. Note that capital C. We did get there at the speed of light though thanks to our mini-van driver. Stayed just off Khao San Road on the first night. Ya, shouldn’t have done that. Did not sleep a wink in our little cell. On a positive note – there’s a Boots AND Starbucks!!!! Good times. Khao San Road is not how it looks on the Barry’s Tea ad. (Mum, I still didn’t find any tea-bags in my bag and I’ve emptied it a few times…) It’s basically bars, shops, clothes-stalls, food-stalls…and Boots and Starbucks. Actually Starbucks is just off Khao San Road and housed in the most beautiful old building, all nooks and crannies. Bangkok doesn’t smell at all and it’s pretty clean. There’s a street parallel to Khao San Road with ‘nicer’ places to eat and some roomier bars – and a really cool walking street with stalls of random crap (read: tattoo parlours, t-shirts, flip-flops…) to get between the two main roads. Plenty of ahhem ‘working girls’ parading around the place too. We moved hotels on our second day and found an alright place with exceptionally rude staff. Land of smiles my ass… Found an English café with TETLEY tea called ‘Oh my Cod’. Sure you’d have to pay them a visit with a name like that. You had to pay more for the Tetley too as I think it’s considered posh or something? Well, what’s a girl to do when she gets no Barry’s in the backpack.
We did A LOT of touristy stuff on this trip. Yes, that includes the zoo. Although they had an elephant show of which I do not approve. There’s a great public water bus system in Bangkok that HAS to be done (although you probably don’t want any of that Chao Phraya river in your mouth so no talking). It’s a great system, very efficient. I think meandered is the right word for what we did around Chinatown. It’s a maze. There’s one market called ‘Sampeng Lane’ and it’s literally a kilometre long. You’d get anything you can imagine here. Actually there were shed loads of beads/sequins/sewing/dress-makers/tailor-type shops (Don’t do it Jayne!). We also found a TESCO here. Nothing like home mind. But still. Stopped in a shopping centre called ‘River City’ just to get some air-con and actually got the best sausage-rolls you can imagine. We took Bangkok’s skytrain system too. So efficient I thought we were in Berlin! We found an epic cinema, we’re talking VIP leather seats, which recline (of course!) and a Starbucks in the cinema (Cinema + Starbucks = Happy John) and all for 10 euro total. Not each. Epic.
Second trip to Bangkok
So we kinda did this one properly. Stayed at the Grande Centre Point, Ratchadamri. Epic. So epic we stayed three nights instead of two. More like serviced apartments (we had our own washing machine!) with fantastic facilities; sauna, steam room, jacuzzi (separate male and female quarters of course!), outdoor swimming pool, reading room, cinema room, gym, tennis court, playroom, DVD rental… I kinda want to live there.
We basically spent three full days touring the blissfully air-conditioned mega-malls of Bangkok, armed with two credit cards and four arms ready for the ‘challenge’. My sincere thanks to AIB and Bank of Ireland. You rock!
I can’t even explain how fantastic the shopping is in the Siam area of Bangkok. Here’s a little rundown of the epic acreage; Siam Paragon (which had the most amazing gourmet food emporium – I bought Lucky Charms!!) Siam Centre, Siam Discovery, Siam Square, CentralWorld (tourist privelege card!), Central Point, Gaysorn, Digital Gateway, Erawan Bangkok, Pantip Plaza and MBK. That’s not even all of them. Unfricking believable.
Hopped out to airport in no time on the Airport Express.
P.S. The shopping is not that great in the airport. Stupid misinformation in blogs! Saying that John did buy a hoodie in Ralph Lauren and I bought a watch. Oh and we also got some tax back. (If you spend more that 2,000 baht in a shopping centre in the same day you can claim your 7% tax back at the airport. You have to get a form stamped at the shopping centre, before check-in and then you get your money back after check in). Oh and AirAsia is way better then Ryanair!