Bangkok - Tuk Tuks, Temples & Chinatown
Trip Start Jan 23, 2013
181Trip End Jul 23, 2013
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After breakfast we hailed a Tuk Tuk to Bangkok Hualamphong Train Station. Bartered with the Tuk Tuk driver who wanted 200B, but said we would pay 100B as we had been advised that this is about the maximum to pay for any Tuk Tuk ride within Bangkok City.
We were told by a tiller at the station that the First Class tickets for the overnight train to Chiang Mai had all sold out so we have bought Second class, top bunk tickets. The cabins are air conditioned, but we were bracing ourselves for a sleepless night. We had a strong suspicion that all the First class tickets are bought by agents who can then double the charge to unknowing foreigners....
From the station we walked to the Chinatown district. It is Chinese New Year on 10th Feb so this part of Bangkok was particularly buzzing. We witnessed people five or six deep queuing at counters to buy gold for their relatives; I struck up a conversation with a young lady who told me it was traditional to give and receive gold at New Year. I did have my eye on a pair of earrings but couldn't be bothered to queue up. Later on in the day I managed to buy 2 pairs of earrings for 80B (£1.60).
Terry felt a bit at odds in Chinatown and some of the sights and smells made me feel queasy at times. Although a fantastic place to walk around, the tiny covered lanes and heavy aroma of incense felt overwhelming. Out on the main streets, bill boards advertising Shark Fin soup and other delicacies added to the atmosphere. The side stall traders cooking god knows what on their little grills can have a negative effect on the more delicate stomachs; I'm positive I saw a row of smoked rodents on sticks for sale.
From Chinatown we visited Wat Traimit Witthayaram and saw some monks in action ( chanting and blessing people) and also the Golden Buddha, who is over 15ft in height - impressive.
From the Wat we hailed another TukTuk to the Grand Palace but it was closing early. Even though this guy patiently tried to explain to us why it was closing early; after five minutes of slow talking and hand gestures (from him) we were still non the wiser. Apparently my attire wasn't suitable anyway; girls are not allowed in with shorts or 'cut offs'.
From the Grand Palace we foolishly decided to walk back toward our Hotel in the soaring heat. On the way, after a short while, we decided to enter any building that might have air conditioning, and were lucky to happen upon an art exhibition. We saw some excellent paintings and sculptures and were pleased upon our chosen mode of transportation because we might have missed it otherwise.....
After freshening up we returned to the madness of the Kao San Road for some Pad Thai and drinks. Terry didn't fancy Scorpion although it seems to be one of the areas best sellers......