Sooo, we arrived all safe and sound in Bangkok.
We had booked into a hostel – a superior four bed dorm in an area called Sukhumvit – for our first three nights in Bangkok before we decided what to do in Thailand for the remaining days. As explained in my previouso blog, we hadn’t really planned much of this trip except CHINA.
But Bella had other ideas….. I am getting the impression that Bella and I are on different trips. I brought a large backpack, Bella brought a larger suitcase. I brought a rucksack, Bella brought a large shoulder bag. I had my ankle boots (or as Nicky calls them, my ugly man boots) and Bella had her glittery trainers.
So Bella was of the opinion that after our long haul flight, we needed a good night sleep and should book ourselves into a nicer place for our first night in Bangkok. A lovely four star hotel with rooftop bar and swimming pool. Hmm.
To be honest, at 25 pounds a night, I didn’t really see the point in disagreeing with this. And what a JOY it was. I would have even skipped into the hotel and the room,had I not had my 16kg backpack, which sort of limits any kind of movement bar dragging my feet.
So after room service and not much sleep (jet lag) we again ordered breakfast via room service (this is allllll Bella) and watched the views of Bangkok from our 22nd floor hotel room.
During the night, when we couldn’t sleep, we decided we would go to Chiang Mai the next day, as we wanted to fit in a day trip to an Elephant Sanctuary. This was outside of Bangkok in Kanchaburi and the plan was to go there before we left Thailand and flew to Vietnam.
Getting to the main railway station Hua Lamphong Station was pretty easy and we successfully brought our overnight rail tickets to Chiang Mai – all by ourselves. I think it was quite cheap – around 30 pounds return – which was on one of the new trains here CON AIR CON. Ill write about this in another blog, as you all know I can waffle and I have a bit to say on Bangkok-o.
So we spent three days in Chiang Mai and then over nighted it back to Bangkok in an older train with fans. No air con. Its amazing how quickly 14 hours on these things pass. I think its my natural ability to sleep ALOT and daydream ALOT. Bella says that I often switch off from what she is saying and my eyes go vacant – which she finds quite annoying.
Understandably. Henceforth I am trying not to daydream so much and focus on the present. Its sort of like meditating – staying in the NOW. I think.
We didn’t visit the elephant sanctuary in Kanchaburi, as we had visited the one in Chiang Mai – so this gave us more time in Bangkok.
Bella again suggested that we return to the posh hotel for another night (ahem) and not one to disagree (ahem), I agreed. Yipeeeee. I had a pool day – on the only cloudy day we have had since we got here – but it was still soooo hot and lovely. I did laps in the pool and even went back again the next morning, before we checked out, to do a morning swim. ITS SO NICE BEING IN A SWIMMING POOL IN THIS HEAT.
I also had my first alcoholic beverage – since we left the UK. Shock horror. It had only been a week but it felt like FOREVER! Bella doesn’t drink and I had felt like the last few months (aka year) I had been drinking a lot so I thought this break might be a good time to detox. Also its no fun getting drunk alone AND with someone who remembers everything you said and did when drunk. Awkward.
The pool bar had Fernet on the shelf and I could have died with happiness. But the bottle was empty. So I settled for a cocktail. Alas I live. Still happy.
During the day, its SO hot. Swelteringly so. I think it gets to 35 degrees. There is no breeze. I have a heat rash on the palm of my hands which is a weird place I think. BUT ITS BETTER THAN IT BEING COLD AND RAINING. Sorry UK – I heard about Storm Doris from some fellow English travellers, as we discussed how nice it was being here. Hahaha.
Also, its mental when attempting to cross the road here. Some places there is no green man so its a free for all and I actually had to ask a local how to cross the road after standing on the side of the road (in the heat) for what seemed like a decade. He did give me a weird look, but allowed us to stalk him across the road. You need confidence.
Other times there is a green man but the cars and scooters ignore this so I don’t really know what to do there. Its a bit stressful coming from London where I generally speed around everywhere, so having to wait around 5 minutes to cross a road is excruciating. I could be miles ahead instead of watching traffic and breathing in those lovely exhaust fumes.
Although the Thai people arent overtly friendly (unless they want to sell you something) when you actually approach them for something, they are sooo nice, smiley and helpful. We would still be standing on the side of a road waiting to cross had it not been for Thai hospitality.
We have so far visited the reclining Buddha (massive), the Grand Palace (beautiful) and Lumpini Park – gorgeous.
We discovered there was a free red shuttle bus that takes you from Hua Lamphong Station to the Grand Palace area so we used this quite a bit. It was the ricketiest old bus I have ever been on but it was FREEEEEE. The transport system is weird in Bangkok, as it doesnt appear to cover the whole city and the main points of interest have no underground or sky train. Its sort of like ‘get a bus, river boat, metro then walk’ and then you’re there. So we used the shuttle bus a lot.
It was quite hard to spend a lot of time in the above sites because of the heat. I kid you not, I love sun and heat but this was on another level. Probs because its a busy, crowded city.
There is no shade unless you go in the temples. And you have to take your shoes off – which in the heat makes taking trainers off seem realllllly tiresome. Hahaha. First world problems – ‘its sooo exhausting taking off my rose gold supergaaaa trainers…’.
To visit the Grand Palace, you have to have a passport or ID to enter but luckily the guards let us show copies of them using our phones. Thank goodness for technology and Thai chilledness. The Grand Palace also insist on covering up, which I knew but forgot, so I had to wear this fetching shirt. I look such a dag! Hahaha.
Lumpini Park is gorgeous – I love eacaping to a park (with a lake) in a busy city. Apparently the lake we rode a paddle boat on is frequented by lovers, but I had to make do with Bella. And a cutie turtle (I think it was a turtle) that followed our boat for a bit. I wasn’t sure if there was a hint of malice in its eyes as it followed our boat or just its natural, squinty look.
I also took out three plastic bags from the lake so ol turtle matey didn’t get stuck in them. How random as we circled the lake spotting plastic bags and taking them out. Like the litter police. They were pretty gross and slimey and Bella didn’t tell me she had hand wipes until about two hours after I had done this. Thanks Bells.
There are also a crazyeee number of Thai people running in the park every eve – its like a marathon. We got stuck in the middle of it on our first visit but wised up on our second.
Bella has this app that tracks the number of steps we take each day and we are averaging around 17,000 steps a day – I think. Yesterday was 22,000 steps because we kept getting lost around the park – and generally everywhere. I don’t know if this is a lot of steps but we are exhausted each day. We arent very good at navigating either and seem to go in circles a lot when walking around and end up back where we started. So we are very familar with certain areas of Bangkok. And obliviously avoid others.
We also went down the famous Soi Cowboy street where they filmed The Hangover 2 and that was an eye opener. This street is amazing to look at and looks lots of fun. But there are a lot of solo white, middle aged (and young) men surrounded by Thai women in bikinis. One older man had about four Thai women sitting at his table smiling and laughing with him. Gross.
This makes me a bit uncomfortable and due to the lack of non Thai women drinking in this street, we didn’t GO WILD here. Sadly – as it looked pretty cool. Its weird that it seemed to be occupied largely by white, European men..
This street was round the corner from the hostel that I eventually persuaded Bella to stay in. We decided to save some money and get the tube then walk to the hostel. With my 16kg backpack and Bella’s 20kg suitcase. IN THE HEAT. The pavements seemed to have been attacked by tree roots so they are all broken and sometimes you need to walk on the road. Lik Buenos Aires 💕. Hahah.
So Bella was dragging her 20kg suitcase on these streets with the heat beaming down on us (I warned her having a suitcase was not practical if we were travelling around every cple of days for 9 weeks). And I was concentrating on walking and not tripping on the broken pavements. If I went down with the 16kg backpack, I wouldnt be getting back up.
Also I would be a tad grossed out to land on the streets of Bangkok – they are a tad grimy and I’m not even fussy about things like that! Cue Buenos Aires 💕 warm pavement sloth.
Coming from the hotel, I’m not going to lie – it was hard going to a six bed dorm with shared shower. It was also a party hostel. Haha. Bella was not happy and has banned me from booking accommodation from now on 🙄.
But I have managed to book two in Vietnam anyway. Lets see if I redeem myself! I hope we will be staying in hostels along the way – as I still think they are a great place to meet other travelers and make friends. Especially in China.
As we only had 10 days in Thailand – the time flew by and we didnt get to do the floating markets or night markets. Sorry mum. Or visit a restaurant called cabbages and condoms, which people have raved about.
But hopefully there will be a next time.
Thailandoooo (and its people) its been short – but very beautiful and lovely. Even with the heat and crazy roads.
Off to Nam we gooooo.