So, we made it! After eleven hours in economy class which included the complimentary lack of sleep we were dropped, after a calm and sense of security lulling Airport Rail Link journey, into the thick of the action. One thing is for sure we won’t forget our first moments in Bangkok. Traffic! No Rules! Chaos! Ten minutes later we’d crossed the road and after one wrong turn found our way to our hostel.
After gathering our bearings on our first full day, we ventured to the Grand Palace on day two and it was worth it! We knew that it was a must see when visiting Bangkok but it surpassed both our expectations and more. Our pictures or perhaps lack of megapixels do not do the palace justice.
The architecture is truly stunning and despite the constant racket of our fellow tourists it felt oddly peaceful as well as surreal, almost wrong in fact, as we were bordered by hundreds and thousands of Thais dressed in all black coming to mourn their beloved King. Afterwards we enjoyed a hair raising tuk tuk ride, including one man attempting to punch our driver as we drove past before reaching the tranquility of two temples.
As night descended we headed to the Sky Bar at State Tower, which you may recognise from the film Hangover 2. The views were breathtaking and made us realise just how big the city is!
The next day started with a visit to Jim Thompson’s house via a quick glimpse of the National Stadium complex, Muangthong United had a game. Anyway, enough with the football, Jim Thompson was an American architect who moved to Thailand and helped to reintroduce the Silk Industry to Thailand as well as building a beautiful house filled with many Buddha and antiques which were hundreds of years old. He disappeared without a trace in 1967!
We hopped back on the excellent and efficient BTS Skytrain to Sala Daeng to visit Lumpini Park, home to many Monitor Lizards, which can be up to 10ft in length. However, we were marginally more interested in the Swan Pedalos and had a cruise around the lake whilst taking in the staggering views of the surrounding skyscrapers. On our return to terra firma, we were met by the site of hundreds of people taking part in a mass ‘Jane Fonda’ style workout. Quite a sight! Don’t know how they did it we were sweating just watching!
On our final day, we visited the Khlong Lat Mayom floating market, a short train and taxi ride out of the city. The term floating market should be used very loosely now as 99.9% of it is on land with stall upon stall filled with delicious food as well clothes, antiques and more. However, the highlight was the hour-long boat ride we took through some of the rural canals that took us to a temple and orchid farm as well as giving the local residents the opportunity to see some more bloody tourists interrupt their peace!
Looking back, Bangkok is a city full of contrasting colours and smells that never sleeps and definitely takes a lot out of you but give it a chance and its fantastic place that is both peaceful and chaotic, which was summed up perfectly when we saw two monks go flying past us in a tuk tuk.