The (mis)adventures of Sukhumvit

Trip Start Dec 07, 2009
Trip End Sep 26, 2010

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Where I stayed
Soi 1 Guesthouse Bangkok
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Thailand  ,
Sunday, May 9, 2010

Kolkata airport was fun. In the sense of it is the worst airport I've ever been in. But I really didn't mind it at all, it was just amusing. Everything was broken or breaking, but the people were nice so it wasn't an issue.

The good news of this adventure to the airport was that Jet Airways is good, and their customer service and check-in was good too. I worked my level 11 charisma and soon found myself upgraded to first class. Pardon me, on Jet Airways that would be called Prémiere with an é, just so you know it is fancy.

This was very good news, and I boarded the plane first and quickly found my plush, roomy and wonderfully comfortable seat. Before most of the of the other passengers had boarded I was already sipping a nice fresh lime soda and a sweet coconut water. The flight was easy and short, and had excellent food. I wouldn't of minded a longer flight in these circumstances! Nice wine with my meal. What a treat!

Anyhow, when I got to Bangkok, I decided on checking out a new area of the city I had never been to: Sukhumvit Road. It is near the heart of the financial district and is very different than the Khao San area, which is more of a backpackers ghetto. I had a good tip for a guesthouse and went there, and decided it was OK, so I booked in. It was a hostel, but I checked it out and it seemed safe and fun so I was happy staying there. The owner was a cool guy from Australia who has been living in Thailand on and off for twenty years so he had lots of good tips for the area; how to use cheap public transport that Thais used, good cheap eats, etc. etc.

The first night I was there, I didn't do much but the next night was quite an adventure. I had heard about a japanese restaurant called Hajime that had just opened up in Bangkok. What was so special about this particular restaurant was that it is a robot restaurant. Robots, serve you, clean up you're table, take your order, and even dance for you. I couldn't say no to that. So I made plans with one of the girls I met in India to go check out this restaurant. We decided to meet there. This turned out to be quite a challenge. After stopping a few cabs and telling them the name of the mall this place was located, I got the blank stare from each one. No one had any clue where this place was. I had to go back to my hostel and find the area of Bangkok this place was located, then I hopped in a cab and told the guy the name of the area. He nodded and off we went. I didn't want to confuse him too much so I didn't say it was just near where we were trying to go. But after many detours and U-Turns we were finally near the "area" of this mall. So at this point he is like OK we here. I'm trying to tell the guy no I want to find a mall, lets pull over and ask another cab driver that works near this area. He says OK we are here. I say lets go to this mall, we need to ask a tuk-tuk driver. He says... we here OK mister?  This process repeats itself for about 11 minutes, and my amused volume starts going down and my annoyed volume starts turning up. Finally I get him to pull over at a gas station and get better directions. So we get closer still after having to backtrack for a while, then ask some motorcycle drivers who actually know the place. Finally after 1 and a half hours in this cab, we make it to this mall. No wonder he had no idea where it was, it is on some random industrial road, probably the least likeliest area you would ever find an upscale shopping centre. Weird. The good news? I had made it, and for an hour and a half in the cab, 5 dollars for the fare was pretty good, so I gave him a couple of extra bucks for a tip. Pretty amazing. I figure that my friends are having the same trouble as I was but they show up 10 minutes later.

The restaurant was hilarious. There were indeed two robots on duty, making sure everyone was taken care of. It was on the expensive side, for Thailand anyways, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so we ordered from the little computerized menus and the robots got busy. They may have cooked the food too, I will never know. The food was nice, the robots danced for quite a while and showed off some pretty fancy moves, a good time was had by all. We decided after this adventure to head to Pat Pong and check out some of the Thai nightlife. This was quite the experience, and more hilarity ensued. Some of the shows were pretty wild, and it was funny when some bouncers tried to hustle us. Had some more drinks and then called it a night.

The next few days I didn't spend doing very much, I was still fairly tired from travelling around India. I watched a lot of movies, walked around Sukhumvit, bought a couple of clothing items I needed, nothing special, mostly just relaxing.

The last day I was in Sukhumvit, I had booked a train to take me to Chiang Mai that night. I was going to catch the skytrain and subway to get to the train station and I had it all planned out.  couple of hours before I was leaving however, the ongoing protests turned ugly. A big chunk of the Thai army walked down the main road of Sukhumvit towards where the protesters were gathered. They shut down the skytrain and metro. Unfortunately the train station was right on the other side of all these protests so I had to make a new plan. I got my stuff together quickly to leave early, and I finally found a cab willing to take me the long way around to the train station. Cost a couple of extra dollars, but I was glad to be out of there. Made it to the train station with an hour to spare. Found my platform, and my train was good to go, left only 20 minutes late, which was refreshing after having been in India for the last 3 weeks! Back to Chiang Mai..

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