Friday, 30 March 2012

Bangkok - Again!

Bangkok is a strange beast. It's one of those places you hate at first but once you figure it out it kinda grows on you. Location is the key. The first time I was there I stayed on Ko San Road in an absolute shit hole, but this time Maren and I checked in to a pretty nice place about 15 minutes walk from Ko San. Ultimately I was only in Bangkok to catch a flight to Bali but as I didn't do anything the first time I was there we needed to tick a couple of things from the bucket list. We checked into the hostel and took a walk down to Ko San road to find a place to eat. Nothing really took our fancy on the road itself and instead we found a really nice street nearby that lots of quite classy restaurants (that's the first time ever I've written that word without having to spell check it by the way - HE CAN BE TAUGHT!). I wish I knew the name of that street we found as it was great, it had all these lanterns hanging from the overhead trees and there was no sleaze or sales crap to be seen. We had a pretty decent Italian meal with a glass of red each and for the first time, it was like a proper date. Until then we where always with the other guys (don't get me wrong, I love Maren's mates) so it was cool to spend an evening with just the two of us.

The next morning we got up bright and early as we'd decided we wanted to see the golden Palace. Now this is kind of a big deal in Bangkok, it's where the king of Thailand lives (I think!) and is pretty much the most famous tourist attraction in bangkok. The reason why I emphasise this is because when we hailed a taxi driver he didn't know what or where it was! He had to ask no less than 3 tuk tuk drivers for assistance, despite showing him where it was on the map and giving him the name in thai and english. Mental. Oh, and it was only about 5 minutes drive from where we were! Anyway, we finally arrived at the palace and where greated by a friendly well dress guy who asked if we where looking for the entrance to the palace. I smelt a con from a fucking mile off but decided to humor him nonetheless. He pointed to where the entrance was and explained that he worked in the palace but it was his day off so he was meeting some family and showing them around. Then he explained that we wouldn't get into the palace wearing what we were wearing (I was wearing shorts - Maren was ok) which we knew anyway. He then said that you can rent clothes from the palace for free (which we knew) but because it was a sunday the clothes rental place was closed until 1 (it was about 10 at this point) so he suggested going shopping first then coming back later. He asked what we where planning on doing for the rest of the day so we told him we where going to the big outdoor market and he suggested a really good suit place..... "Right, I'll stop you there mate, we're going" and I grabbed maren and we started walking off to the palace. They really have the most illaborate and sneaky sales ploys to get people to buy suits in bangkok. After going to the entrance and renting clothes without any issues for free I felt like hunting down the sneaky bastard and giving him a peace of my mind. For a people who are supposed to believe in Karma and mutual respect for one another their are entirely too many sneaky weasels in Bangkok. And I know that some tourists will fall for those lies they spin and end up wasting their time going around suit shops when they should be able to enjoy the city for what it is. Ok, that's enough ranting. We went into the Palace complex and it was pretty crowded. Not sure how much detail you want me to go into, there was a lot of gold and Buddha statues and we took some photos. Outside the Kings house there was a guard who, like the ones outside Buckingham palace, didn't move an inch. So I took some photos next to him :-)

After the Palace we grabbed a bus to the outdoor market which was ma-fricking-ha-osive! It was split into sections so there was a bit for clothes, a bit for jewlery etc. I wondered around with Maren for a while and picked out a couple of cool T-shirts but then I felt like I was a bit of a third wheel for her shopping fun so we agreed to bugger off and meet back in an hour. I figured I'd sit at a bar and have a beer but instead I managed to find the animal section and spent half an hour petting the cute puppies! When we met back up we decided we both wanted to hit a rooftop bar for the sunset and an over priced cocktail. We managed to find the exact building they shot Hangover 2 at (it was funny asking the tuk tuk and taxi drivers if they'd seen the movie to then ask them to take us to the building as they then offered to take us to a cinema. Lost in translation!) Pete's top tip: never take a tuk tuk in bangkok. They offered to take us to the area we knew it was in for twice as much as the air conditioned comfortable taxi we ended up taking. We went up to the bar and I was told that I wasn't allowed in wearing shorts despite the fact I was wearing a smart shirt. So I had to run down to the nearby street market and splash out 4 quid on some jeans that I was only going to wear for an hour or so then throw away! We got in there and the view was spectacular. The cocktails where 10 pounds each (with ++ on the top) but really nice. Totally worth every penny that ended up costing, if only for the picture of me and Maren together with the view of the city in the background :-)

That night Maren wanted to grab a massage and I was determined to see a ping pong show before leaving thailand so I met up with Liam and the two of us went off in a taxi to pad ping and found the same place that he'd been previously. It was crap. I expected it to be classy, I didn't expect it to be sexy, but I did expect it to be at least impressive. And it was just crap. But at least I can say I've seen it. I shan't bore you with the details.

After the show I met back up with Maren, we headed to the airport and said our goodbyes. Then I slept on Bangkok airport floor until my flight at 6am. 

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