Hello 2010, hello Bangkok!
Trip Start Nov 06, 2009
354Trip End May 28, 2011
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Where I stayed
As our first night in Bangkok was New Year's Eve, we inevitably started 2010 off slightly worse for wear and spent New Year's Day (or what was left of the day after we breakfasted at 2pm) mainly recovering and relaxing. Having said that though, it was a surprisingly productive day too:
1) Found a man with a sewing machine who fixed my rucksack for about 35p;
2) Chris had his hair cut (by a ladyboy);
3) I had an eye test and new specs made as I haven't had a new prescription in 3 years, oops;
4) We had a Garra rufa fish pedicure
5) Saw Avatar in 3D (awesome in every way - everyone must see it!). Before the film they played the Thai national anthem and a video showing Thai people going about their daily lives holding up framed photos of the king kissing babies and old folk and sick people and stuff. Thai people really love their King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit, they're almost like deities. Any criticism of the royals is extremely frowned upon, and in some cases insulting the monarchy has resulted in custodial sentences. Chris reckons the Odeon should follow the Thai example back home. I reckon i'm gonna bite my tongue and try not to wind up in jail.
6) Went to Patpong nightmarket and resisted the temptation to buy anything and refused several more ping pong show offers
7) Put the new netbook to good use by Skyping both sets of parents, who we've only managed to speak to once on the whole trip so far.
Since then we've spent the past couple of days taking in the (other, non-Patpong ping pong-related) sights of Bangkok:
- Took the cool Skytrain metro that runs above the city to Saphan station, where we caught a passenger ferry along the Chao Phraya River to Chang Pier. From there we walked to the Khao San Road - the original backpacker ghetto of Bangkok. Lots of bars, cafes, hostels, street stalls, etc, and loads of backpackers, obviously. We'd originally wanted to get accommodation somewhere around there but had left it too late as everything was booked up for new year. Having seen it now though, although it was interesting to stroll around for a little while we're rather pleased we didn't stay there as it really is massively touristy and a bit too full of tie-dye trustafarians getting fake dreadlock hair extensions, and not very many Thai people. We could have stayed in Brighton for that!
- Saw the Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Wat Pra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), the Democracy Monument, the Makahan Fort, and lots of shrines
- Climbed up the Golden Mountain, and visited the temple at the top.
- Strolled around Lumphini Park with its statue of King Rama VI, and spent a few hours reading in Jatujak Park, where we also helped three Thai students with their English homework by letting them interview us about our impressions of Thailand (all very positive!).
- Visited the Suanlum Night Bazaar, a huge night market near where we're staying with over 3500 shops and stalls, and also the even bigger Chatuchak weekend market, with over 10,000 stalls. Again we managed to resist the temptation to buy anything other than food as we can't fit anything else into our backpacks.
Although Bangkok's great, we've now seen most of what we intended to see already and are kind of ready to move on but have to stay until we get our Vietnamese visas sorted. We can't apply until tomorrow as the consulate has been shut since we arrived owing to new year holiday/ weekend.
Fortunately though Nat and Andy are arriving back in Bangkok from Ko Pha Ngan tomorrow so we'll meet up with them (Nat will possibly also join us when we go to Khao Lak next week on a volunteer teaching placement), and George's parents who live in Bangkok have invited us over for dinner and to stay the night at their place in the evening, so we're really looking forward to that.
I'm now drinking tea and sitting under the fan in the hostel chill-out area, waiting for Chris to return from having a foot massage so that we can go for dinner. At least he told me he was getting a foot massage. There's a place a couple of doors down offering 'special testicle massage'. Good for backache apparently. Hmm...