Thailand: Bangkok Take 1

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A monk checks his smart phone while waiting for the ferry in Bangkok

We’ve just spent our first couple of days in Bangkok. We’re seeing Bangkok in a few stages, using it as a spring board for other trips due to it’s convenient geographic location and free tourist visa.

This time around we’re staying in a hostel called Lub d Bangkok in the Silom area. I’m not generally a fan of hostels as I think you can generally get cheaper, better quality, more ‘authentic’ accommodation elsewhere, but this one is pretty awesome. Very clean, comfortable and well located.

We’ve had to run some errands here as we have managed to break our old camera and consume all of our SE Asia antibiotics replacing these items took about a day. Our large med purchase seemed to amuse the pharmacist at least.

We have managed to get in some temple visits. From where we’re staying it’s about 20 minute walk and a short dangerously overcrowded boat to some of Bangkok’s most famous temples. We tried to visit the Grand Palace but were not able to as the king was changing the jade Buddha’s robes at the time or so we were told by a very helpful local. So we visited Wat Pho and Wat Arun instead. They were both pretty impressive.

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A row of Buddha images

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Giant reclining Buddha

Aside from this we’ve been making the most of the food available. Not far from here is a great little street of food where we’ve been eating dinner. The seafood Thai dishes they serve are tasty and because the ‘restaurant’ is just some plastic chairs on the street it’s quite cheap too.

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Bangkok street food. Yum!

There is also a local stall that does pork and rice breakfast with the most amazingly rich sauce for about 60p. Yum!

Aside from these there is so, so much food available. We’ve found we’re not eating lunch due to the heat but there is no shortage of bags of chopped exotic fruits or snacks about. They are literally everywhere.

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So many different types of fruit on offer

Alcohol laws here are reminiscent of old UK laws. They are able to serve around lunch time and then again in the evening, but are not allowed to sell alcohol between 2pm and 5pm, though I haven’t seen much in the way of adherence to this law.

Where we’re staying, in Silom, is quite touristy. One of the nearby attractions we had heard about was the Patpong Night Market (aka Silom Market). It was OK, but really just like any market anywhere, except that as you shop people try to get you into ping pong shows and the girly bars that line the street.

I’ve heard some pretty negative things about Bangkok, about how it is dirty, overcrowded and smelly. I don’t know if I’ve just been conditioned by London, or if the protests are keeping people away, but it seems lovely here. There’s the odd whiff of sewage smell, but the streets are wide, clean and filled with interesting things. I really like it here so far.

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A cat takes a nap at Wat Arun

Today we fly to Myanmar. I have no idea whether we will have internet access or how reliable it will be. From what I’ve heard, the internet speed is similar to mid 90s dial up. So should we go MIA it’s just because the internet is sketchy, not because something had happened to us. We’ll post when we can!

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