After a brief stopover in Zurich where we caught up with my sister and her family, we waved goodbye to Europe and embarked on our final leg of the trip which is South East Asia before heading back to Australia.
Our arrival in Bangkok was early in the morning and after little sleep for either of us we were both feeling a little bleary eyed. Fortunately for us our hotel kindly let us check in early and we caught up on some shut eye.
We ventured out in the afternoon and headed to one of the central market areas for a bit of window shopping. We caught the Skyline which is the train system for Bangkok, it’s easy to use and clean and even had air conditioning which was a god send considering the humidity. It literally sits above everything so you get a decent view of the surrounding city as you go along. There are so many shopping malls spread throughout Bangkok which sell the usual things. It always astounds me how uniformed we are all getting across the world. Shops like H&M, Adidas and Zara are taking over the world. We were heading to MBK mall which is more a covered air conditioned market for local sellers to sell their knock off goods. Nothing really caught our eyes as we had seen it all before.
By this stage we were ready for our beds again and headed home to hit the hay.
Due to a little bit of jet lag kicking in at 1am we had a sleep in and late morning ventured out to see some sights. Not before we stopped off for some famous Bangkok street food. We picked a stall which had quite a few people in it and were offered the option of either pork or chicken. We had one of each and was it good! So fresh and the depth of flavors amazing.
We then caught the ferry towards the grand palace, which we discovered had shut for the day. We headed to the amulet market which as the name states was full of religious trinkets that weren’t really very interesting. So far Bangkok wasn’t really delivering on its promise of being one of the highlights of Asia. In all fairness we were comparing it to Shanghai which is pretty hefty competition.
Our next stop just around the corner was Wat Pho which was a massive Buddhist temple. Unfortunately I was wearing a singlet and short skirt so had to go outside and purchase some longer clothing. Not to worry though as it certainly didn’t break the bank and there were plenty of street vendors just for this purpose. Once inside we got to see the biggest reclining Buddha in South East Asia, which was pretty impressive. However the experience was a little clouded by the fact that all the Thai girls who didn’t have the appropriate attire got to borrow long coats for free. Amateur mistake from us.
Also within the complex were amazingly tiled stupors or Chedi which stretched over 40 meters into the air. They are meant to represent the first 4 kings of the Chaka dynasty and were absolutely stunning. We continued to wander throughout the complex and came across halls filled with Buddhas and courtyard gardens with pots of lotus flowers. In the centre of the complex was a temple that was filled with monks chanting prayers.
We were getting a little peckish again so decided to get in a taxi and head to China town. The king of Bangkok street food. As usual we had to fight with the taxi drivers to turn on their meter instead of trying to charge us ridiculous prices. Luckily there was a policeman on hand who flagged one down for us. The others conveniently disappeared when the police officer arrived.
Chinatown was exactly what you expect which is exactly as it should be. Neon signs, shops selling weird stuff and food vendors everywhere. We found a seafood restaurant on a busy corner and sat down for some fantastic food, but it was eye wateringly hot!
We caught the Skyline home and after a quick turnaround headed out to experience the nightlife in Bangkok. We headed to one strip of restaurants and bars which were a little mediocre so decided to head to the real action being the Nana red light district…. The strip clubs are inside the 3 story complex and then bars are situated all on the outside. We didn’t head into the complex but just stayed in the outer bars. Still this was crazy enough with prostitutes walking up and down the street trying to snare a western man. Most were absolutely beautiful and doll like and worryingly sometimes you couldn’t tell if they were a man or a woman. The number of old western men sitting at tables with Thai girls was quite alarming. But that issue is an old one that no amount of me complaining is going to change.
We met a nice Irish man who was living out there teaching and spent an enjoyable few hours drinking beer and watching the goings on around us.
We now realize Bangkok is a favorite for its night time activities and anything you get during the day is just icing on the cake. S
Temple on the left, lots of people, lots of traffic, Skyline running above the road, throw in a shopping mall and this picture would have summed up Bangkok perfectly.
A patch of older buildings along the river.
The head of the giant recline Buddha, then below the full splendour of the golden statue.
Our first look at Wat Pho as we walked through the gates.
The colours of the tiles were amazing.
The intricate work on all of the steeples was even more impressive close up.
It was breathtaking and very relaxing walking around the temple complex with steeples, gardens and different walled areas all intermingled together.
The monks chanting in front of a brilliant gold Buddha.
Around the outside of the temple were these open air corridors where the monks were sleeping.
The craziness of Chinatown in Bangkok.
Seafood being cooked on the side of the road…trust us it was delicious.
Only in Bangkok would you see this sign.