Friday, 17 June 2016

Week 9 - Bangkok

We’ve had some pretty good flights on our travels, free food and drink, blankets and pillows and in flight entertainment. Well, that was until the flight to Bangkok, which was fucking horrendous, and one of the longest since the first flight to China. There was minimal leg space, no entertainment, bad food and no blankets…now I’m not asking for first class, but at least one film in 5 hours would be nice. Hears hoping that the next flight is better.

Anyway, we arrived in Bangkok airport after a turbulent flight and headed for immigration. Whilst waiting our turn, us and four others were called to a side and taken round a screen, here we go again I thought, another thermometer in the armpit, for us both this time. Fortunately for us, the kind man had just taken us to the fast track queue and we were stamped into the country within 3 minutes. Waiting for our bags, Kyle seemed lucky when his backpack appeared to come off the plane first. It was only when we were heading towards the exit that we realised it wasn’t his, and infact belonged to a young french girl…whoops. Although I have to admit it would of been pretty funny if he hadn’t of realised until we got to the hotel, and opened it to find bikinis and frilly knickers.
In a taxi on the way into Bangkok I was reminded of Shanghai when we caught our first glimpse of the city. The tall skyscrapers and LED advertisements screens are certainly similar, but when you catch glimpses of golden buddha statues you start to notice the differences. We quickly reached our HOTEL (I know, fancy right), the New Siam 2, managing not to get ripped off by the taxi driver, checked in and jumped straight in the pool. It felt amazing to finally be able to cool off in the heat, and not worry about offending people with our tattoos.

The only downside to Bangkok, the huge groups of “young adults”. Wearing their Chang vests, playing shit chart music, and failing miserably in their vain attempts to attract the opposite sex. We were well prepared for them though, and can tune them out thank god…being the old folk that we are. 

On our first night we took a stroll down Khao San road, its nice to be among street food vendors once again, and funny listening to the locals trying to barter with the tourists over “Armani” suits and “Adidas” trainers. We chose to eat in one of the open fronted restaurants, and Kyle was over the moon when he could finally eat some Tom Yum soup. I opted for a garlic chicken dish, and it was delicious. I think were going to eat well here. We washed our dinner down with a few beers, and headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.

The next day, we had a wander around the area and to the local park, here we saw the Phra Sumen fort. Built in 1783 to defend against potential naval invasions, and one of two forts left standing. The fort is an impressive, bright white octagonal building, but unfortunately you can only see it from the outside. We spent the afternoon lounging around the pool, trying to adjust to the heat. Though it was warm in China and Japan, were finding Bangkok a lot hotter and humid. Fingers crossed we adjust to the climate quickly, or it could be a long 5 months!

We woke early the next morning and took a long tailed boat up the Chao Phraya river. Getting lost in the sights along the river, we missed most of the spots and panicked when we realised the boat was almost empty. So we jumped off at the River City stop. Not really knowing where to go or what to see, we walked around the streets for a little while, a very little while actually. Within 5 minutes we were sweating, so ran inside the first shopping centre we saw and stood under the air con for about 10 minutes.
Seeing the designer stores and fancy hotels, we could tell that we had got off at the wrong stop, this was quite clearly a place for people with a little more money than us. So we hopped back on the river boat and headed to the Grand Palace, Hassled in the usual way by Tuk Tuk and taxi drivers and tailors, all with the same promise of good quality and low prices, we politely declined their offers and made our own way on foot to the palace. Once at the gate Kyle was declined entry due to the fact he was wearing shorts, so he made his way to the queue for hire clothes with the rest of the inappropriately dressed tourists, and returned 10 minutes later with some rather fetching grey trousers.

Now on our travels we have seen some impressive temples and palaces, but nothing like this one before! The buildings are brilliant golds, whites, reds and greens, lined with glass that sparkles with diamonds and protected by large statues. The huge grounds were breathtaking, and we especially enjoyed viewing the golden buddha inside one of the temples. Here, Kyle was also told he needed to remove his hat, you’d of thought that he’d have better manners after Japan!

After a short boat ride back to the hotel, we had a quick shower before heading to the dentist. I’d been suffering with toothache since Japan, and after many google searches I decided on visiting Thantakit dental centre, a favourite among Australians seeking excellent dental care at a good price. Most people know me, know how much I hate going to the dentist so going in a different country made me even more nervous than usual. However, I received a great service, and quickly found that my toothache was down to an exposed root which the dentist quickly filled, and then gave me a quick clean and polish. All for £40, may I add that this also included a lift to and from the dentist by the clinic..not bad hey? The only thing I didn’t like was this weird cloth that they put over your face, you can’t see whats going on as only your nose and mouth is poking out. My friend Jade later told me that this is normal, but is only used at home during root canals. 

Later that evening we headed to Khao San Road. Though it was great experience and I’m happy to say I have been, it’s very commercialised and the loud bars and drink touts remind me of Tenerife and Ibiza, attracting more of your typical Brits abroad. We stayed for a drink though, and then headed to the street adjacent where a local band were playing a mixture of music from No Doubt to Justin Bieber and ACDC. They were brilliant! We watched the full set and had a few too many Mojitos, which I certainly felt when I woke the next day.

Our last day in Bangkok was grey and rainy, but still really hot. We had a lazy morning nursing our hangovers and jumped in the pool when the rain had cleared. For lunch we went to a street cafe and had amazing green curry fried rice and noodles, they soon made us feel better.

Being a true England fan, Kyle decided that he just couldn’t miss another match. So we headed to the pub, in the middle of a thunderstorm and the heaviest rain known to man, to watch England beat Wales. I was pretty shocked to learn that Wales had their own National Anthem, and drained to realise that this meant two rounds of bad singing. The atmosphere in the pub was fantastic to be fair though.

Another early start the next day to take a mini bus to a bigger bus for a 7 hour journey to Trat. The bus was better than I expected it to be, a double decker equipped with air con, a toilet and cheesy movies. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the pain in my arse, which started to kick in after about 3 hours. We arrived just outside Trat, and were shipped off the bus and onto an open backed van. This journey reminded me of the time my Uncle Mike drove me from Telford to Barrow in his Audi…with the top down, talk about wind swept. At least it was warmer here.

Once we arrived in at our hostel, Pop guesthouse with the friendliest dog, Kyle took himself off for a massage and no extras! Opting for a one and a half hour back and neck massage, I almost wet myself when the lady started pulling out some of her best wrestling moves on his arms! Though painful at the time, he has said that he feels much better now.

Tonight will be spent sleeping in what can only be described as a brick hut with a tin roof. Although comfy and complete with air con, and more fucking football! We are buzzing for tomorrow, as beach week officially starts. We will take a ferry to Koh Kood and spent  7 nights in a beach hut, roll on cocktails and tanning!

Love Carrie xxx