Bangkok and around
After working in Australia, we set off to explore Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. We never made it to Vietnam in the end, unfortunately we ran out of time and money (the visa is like 100$!). We decided it was better to leave out one country entirely, to visit another time, than half-ass all of them. That being said, I still think we didn’t see nearly enough of any country and I definitely need to go back! My good friend Catherine runs a blog and wrote a really interesting post about being half-Thai, half French and the pros and cons on having a double culture. You should definitely check it out for a more in-depth look at this amazing country.
One long bus journey, three flights and two layovers later, we arrived in Bangkok late at night. We took a taxi to Khao San Road, the place to go for backpackers and settled into a hotel we’d booked for a couple of nights. It was right next to the main road and had a pool on the roof, which we used to relax and escape from the sweltering weather the next day. Khao San is a great place to go to see or buy cheap drinks, tattoos, clothes, ping-pong shows (you will get to hate the noise the promoters on the street make to advertise the show), stray cats, souvenirs, feet-nibbling fish and to meet other backpackers. It’s actually an exciting, vibrant area with streets and alleys going in every direction lined with stalls selling all sorts of stuff. I suppose it’s pretty overrun with people out to party, but that’s part of going to Bangkok, isn’t it?
We got so caught up with that area and general sightseeing of temples etc. in Bangkok that we never made it to the fabulous “rich” part. That is, except one night when we went to SkyBar on top of the hotel seen in Hangover 2. It was spectacular, there was no glass in between you and the night time view of the city, really breathtaking. And the price of drinks in the bar might seem expensive to you then, but actually it’s the same as it would be in any slightly nicer bar in Europe.
A few days after our arrival, two friends of ours joined us and we took a trip to Ayutthaya (yes, I had to look up the spelling), which is the old capital of Thailand and has some great temples to see, as well as the famous Buddha statue whose face peeks out through the roots of a tree.
Another trip we took was to a floating market. These look beautiful in pictures of women wearing big hats and a boat laden with colourful spices or fruit. When we arrived, it was more of a tourist attraction though, with a boat taking you on a theme-park-like ride around stalls selling souvenirs and beer (I may have had one even though it was only 9am). It was still a really cool place though, as there was a whole town with a river instead of streets there, Venice-style.
After Bangkok, the four of us immediately made our way up north to Chiang Mai. I wish we’d had time to go to the beaches and islands in the South, but it just was easier and cheaper to make our way to Laos without a detour down south.