Jumping in at the deep end...

Trip Start Mar 03, 2010
Trip End May 02, 2010

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Sunday, March 7, 2010

I'm lucky enough to have been to some hot places in my life.  I visited Death Valley in the middle of June.  I crossed the deserts of Australia during the dry season.  But arriving in Bangkok was something else.  The heat, the humidity, the traffic jams, the noise, the smell all combine to kick you right in the face, then tells you to sit down and shut up.  Welcome to Bangkok, you'll have an awesome time.

Bangkok is a huge city, skyscrapers stretching across the horizon.  It's incredibly modern, with it's fantastic Skytrain and very impressive airport.  But thankfully, like Singapore, hidden behind the offices and hotels is the old Thailand, with thousands of alleyways and small roads home to a far more subdued Bangkok.  Here you find all sorts of family businesses and stores, a host of yummy street food vendors and beautiful gardens.  It's fantastic.

We arrived in Bangkok early in the morning, as the sun was rising, after a red eye flight from London via Dubai.  We grabbed some food at the airport then jumped on a bus that took us to the Democracy Monument, near to the area of town we wanted to stay in.  We ended up walking another mile until we found our favored hotel, the Roofview Place, hidden down a quiet soi about ten minutes walk from the fairground that is the famous Khao San Road.  The main reason for staying here was that it was close to the Royal Palaces, Temples and the river, which proved to be a great method of getting around.

We spent that first day having a long, hot, sweaty and ultimately tiring walk around this side of Bangkok.  From the "backpackers playground" of Khao San Road (Think McDonald's, fake Diesel jeans and plenty of pirated DVDs), down the river, around the historic center of Bangkok - Rattanakosin Island - home to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.  It was around here that I finally gave in and collapsed against a wall and sat down for two hours doing nothing but drink water.  If there is a water shortage in Bangkok, it's because of me.  Did I mention Bangkok is hot? Like proper hot? Like always in the mid to late 30's hot?

Venturing back to our hotel via the fast and very cheap Chao Phraya Express Boat we spent the night by having a mooch around Khao San Road, grabbed some yummy street food (though around that area there is little choice of food, they pretty much make Pad Thai and that's it, but venture a few streets north and it becomes "normal" Bangkok again, so you can get your Chicken feet and Frogs and whatnot.  Oh shut up, don't judge a place on it's odd food. Far more common is noodles and rice, I just wanted to mention some of the more exotic food stuffs.
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