Sunday, 27 September 2015

Market Day

Our first day had been a full on day of walking and exploring so a lie in the next day was very welcome. We considered going to see the reclining Buddha but decided that since we had a late start we would go straight to Chinatown instead. The dock was as crowded as the day before but they managed to squeeze us all on to the ferry and by late morning we were in Chinatown. As expected it was a very crowded and busy market but also full of interesting food. I gleefully bought some corn off of the first vendor we saw and happily munched it as we took in the sights. I struggled to choose my next item but eventually decided to try some coconut pancakes which were not quite as delicious as the one I had tried in Kuala Lumpur but still pretty tasty; they were more fried and less fluffy in case you’re wondering. We walked in and out of many streets lined with stalls selling everything from clothes to souvenirs to fruit to spices to loose tea to toys and of course street food!  After a couple of hours we felt we had seen enough and I had eaten enough though I am sure there was plenty we didn’t see.

From Chinatown it was a much less crowded boat ride further up the river to Koh San Road. Straight away there were tourist orientated market stalls with all the typical tourist print trousers, skirts, tops and shorts which I happen to love by the way. I’m proud to be a tourist I am and they had so many elephant prints I loved it. The streets we walked up on the way to Koh San were quite pleasant. There wasn’t much touting and the stalls were quite spread out but Koh San itself was busier and not as pleasant. It was much more crowded and I felt less comfortable browsing through the stalls. I did try a full Thai massage but the lady giving my massage didn’t have a lot of power and despite repeated requests the massage was a lot lighter than I was used to. Still it knocked out a few of my knots and it made me happy to stick to the tried and tested foot massage in future.

After our full on day the day before and a late start we were both feeling a bit run down so we decided this would be a good time to try the cinema again. We go the boat then train to Siam and went to the Paragon Complex to see Antman. This was a film I was not keen on when it was first released but as more and more of my friends posted positive reviews ( such as I became more interested. It was the right decision as it was a very funny film and we left feeling refreshed and good about life. As it was after 7pm we stopped at the Siam market to see if there was any food and since we were there we had a look at the clothes stalls since it had turned in to a market kind of day. We didn;t find anything worth buying so ended our market day with a quick stop at a stall and the ever handy 7-11 to get some snacks before heading to bed to recover and rest so we could do it all again the next day!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Bangkok City Tourists

On our first day as tourists together my friend woke up before me and went on a breakfast run returning with some orange juice and biscuits to keep us going until we could find some proper food. Since I am not a very good human being until I have eaten this was a stroke of genius, it soon transpired she was exactly the same so we were very much on the same wavelength regarding the importance of regular feedings! We left early to go to the Royal Palace as my friend had been told that the earlier the better as it is a very popular place and I am so glad we listened. We were up and out by 8am and even then the express boat was very busy. We got off a stop early and though it meant a walk we did manage to avoid a lot of the crowd as it seemed the palace was the most popular destination. As we walked into the palace I was stunned by the opulent beauty of the place. There were people everywhere and we soon joined a crowded queue to enter the main palace grounds only to find that we should have purchased our tickets further back, oops. We did a reverse struggle through the crowd and purchased our tickets with surprising ease, not only that the crowd had died down a lot so getting back to the entrance was a lot easier than we expected. Once inside the palace I was struck by all the shininess, there were gold and glittery buildings everywhere. It was  one of the most colourful places I have ever been and like the other few hundred people around us I immediately tried to capture some of it with my camera. I don’t know how they fared but I feel I failed. I was just so big and there were so many buildings and there were so many people everywhere! Even at 10am the temperature was heading past 30 degrees C so I was again thankful for our early start. We picked up one of the free guide pamphlets each and soon discovered they made great fans as well as having some interesting information contained within them.

Not to be deterred by the crowds or overwhelmed by the number of large buildings I started to concentrate my photography on the smaller details and statues. I was delighted to discover that my friend as well as being a happy subject was also a willing accomplice when it came to positioning Zack in (in)appropriate places. By 11am we had walked around and photographed everything we cared to and felt it was time to head off. Whilst we had planned to concentrate our efforts in separate areas each day to minimise transport costs we changed our minds for a few reasons. Next on our list for that area was Wat Pho, the temple of the reclining Buddha. Since it was a religious holiday the temple of the emerald Buddha had been closed to the public so we thought this might be the case for Wat Pho as well. We did consider looking but it was getting hotter and we felt we had seen enough elaborate buildings for one day. Instead returned to the lovely air-conditioned shopping centre I had visited the day before. On her last visit to Bangkok my friend had been there and been very impressed with the cars and variety of shops and food available. They have a Maserati
(or something similar) and a couple of Rolls Royce cars on one of the upper floors, as you do. Also she was keen to see a film in English as her only English speaking entertainment recently had been Masterchef Australia.

In the end we didn’t go to the cinema but we did manage to find some Indian food in the food court. It was mediocre and they did get my order wrong but it turned out what they brought me was better than what I asked for so I was happy enough and it was a change from the thinner Thai curry my friend was used to. At this point you can be forgiven for thinking we were the kind of foreigners who only eat ‘our’ kind of food. I can assure you this is not the case. My friend lived on Thai food and was enjoying a welcome change and I am always happy to eat whatever. I enjoyed the street food but was equally happy to try the Thai versions of more familiar food too.

The aircon was muchly appreciated as it always is in humid countries but there are only so many shops and food courts I can wander around and soon enough we decided it was time to head back to our hostel. There was a restaurant that had been recommended to my friend as being a bit expensive but with wonderful and traditional Thai street food, since it was raining we decided this was a good night to try it. We freshened up and with the help of google soon found it. It was exactly as advertised. We were sat at the bar as we hadn’t booked but it was a lovely little place and the food was indeed excellent as was the service. There was a mix-up wit h my drink but when I questioned them on it they immediately sorted it out with the bar tender doing the universal “Doh, I misread it guestures”. My only complaint was that the portions were quite small. I noticed that the people around us ordered a few dishes but we were too cheap to do that and decided one dish each and some rice would do us. All in all it was a lovely night out and a good end to our first day exploring and it is somewhere I would definitely go if I were in Bangkok at the end of my trip and looking for a last splash out meal before heading home.