Thais, Ties and Thighs

Trip Start Nov 07, 2004
Trip End May 20, 2005

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Thursday, February 24, 2005

We arrived in Thailand's busy spralling capital city after an hour flight from Phuket. It was a Saturday night and unfortunately we found all the hotels in our chosen area were full, our no reservation strategy letting us down for the first time. We eventually had to fall back on a more pricey option, complete with exorbitant taxi fare. On Sunday we went up to the Chatuchak weekend market, a massive venue about the size of Devon. Its roughly organized into sections such that the first 80 acres sells wooden goods and the next 120 sells silk etc, there were maps but even with this assistance we still had to call the helicopter rescue service a couple of times.

The 'cultural quarter' is found on the east bank of the Chao Phrava river. The Grand Palace and the associated Wat Phra Kaew are stunning examples of Thai buildings, all of which have been recently and painstakingly renovated. A little further south is the Wat Po, with a 47 metre long and 15 metre high gold statue of the reclining Budda, said to be the position in which he achieved enlightenment. It also pretty much sums up Thailand, laid back, bright and beautiful. As with every SE Asian town we have visited, China town is hectic, vibrant and great place to wander around. Its also good for playing the 'what bit of the animal is on the BBQ' game ( Mark; I think I ate pigs intestines, but I'm not too sure, worrying for a vet ).

The ledgendary 'sin city' side of Bangkok isn't really much in evidence, at least for those like us, who weren't looking for it ( Mark; quite right dear! ). The once infamous Khoa San Road is now a 24 hour backpacker market selling cheap T-shirts and knocked off CDs; not a lap dancer in sight. All the naughty stuff is packed into 2 side streets, Pat Pong 1+2, which look like they saw their hey-day about 10-15 years ago, and tragically they are about as erotic as eggy burps.

Getting about Bangkok could be a little easier. There is a fast and efficient Sky-train but its 2 lines only cover a tiny section of the city, similarly so the underground. This leaves you at the mercy of the nose to tail traffic and the tuk-tuk / taxi drivers for most journies, but at least they can be persuaded to turn on their meters here.

The city centre has been over-run by the multi-national food and drinks chains, but the place still retains a very individual and Asian air, far more so than Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Our race through has left masses out, but the good part about that is there is still plenty more to see when we return to Thailand. We've already planned our route!

Caroline and Mark
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