Bangkok Madness

Trip Start Feb 16, 2010
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Trip End Apr 08, 2010


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Flag of Thailand  , Bangkok,
Tuesday, March 16, 2010

We arrived in Bangkok knowing that there where some protests underway so we were not 100% sure what to expect when we arrived. Before we arrived we had read on the internet that the 'red protestors' were camped out in the streets protesting for an election and had started throwing blood on government buildings. Whilst waiting to board the plane in Saigon we met Zee, a dutch guy who we had previously met in Hue. We agreed to get a taxi into town with Zee so when we landed we headed out to the taxi rank and jumped in our pink taxi with burberry seats. The drive in was pretty uneventful until we reached central Bangkok where the army were lining the roads in certain areas. Our taxi was even stopped at an army checkpoint and they had to shine their torches through the window to see who was in the back. We later realised that our taxi driver was in fact a supporter of the 'red protestors', as he has red ribbons hanging from his aerial, and his protesting t-shirt was draped over his car seat. This probably explained why we were pulled over by the feds. Our destination in Bangkok was the Khao San road, the main tourist road full of bars, shops, hostels etc We enetually found somewhere to stay for the night and headed out with Zee in search of some food and a beer ot two. As its the main tourist road in Bangkok, the Khao San road is really busy all day, and a beneift of this is there are food stalls selling noodles and spring rolls etc for less than a pound. After indulging in cheap food we found a bar and had a few drinks and got speaking to some fellow travellers who provided some tips on where to go. Before we knew it it was nearly 1.30am so we headed back to our accomodation. When we got to our room we found there was no power. When we went down to reception to ask why the power was off the receptionist said we needed to pay for the room and she would then put the power on, which is fair enough. However she also said we needed to give her our passports but provided no explanation as to why, and just shrugged her shoulders. The receptionist threated to call the police if we did nt pay for the room and hand over our passports and eventually called for backup from some local men. Eventually I told the sour faced receptionist (who looked like she was chewing on a wasp aswell as having a rough fall from the ugly tree) where to go and we headed off down the road at reasonable speed with her still demand we pay for the room in full, despite only leaving our bags there for a few hours. We jumped in the first hotel open as by this time it was after 2am, which is not the best time to be wondering the streets with backpacks.


On the morning of our first full day I located a cheaper guesthouse. Due to the protests we had a line of army men stationed at the entrance to our hostel, so it was more than safe. The Khoa San road is literally a world in its own in Bangkok. Two roads down the streets our full of protestors camped out in the street, but yet the Khoa San road is buzzing with activity. The temperature in Bangkok was around 38 degrees, and with no breeze it is pretty uncomfortable. We spotted a fish massage shop so we headed straight in as Laura has wanted the fish to eat her feet for a while. I wimped out as I did not fancy being ticked by a pool full of little fish. Laura though had a great time, although struggled to conatin her laughter as they started tickling her feet. I eventually plucked up the courage and dipped my finger in, and then my whole hand. Its definately a weird sensation and its funny to watch people being tickeld by the fish. After the fish we made a half hearted attempt to visit the Grand Palace but got there too late. It was St Patricks day also, so we met with Zee again, got some cheap food, then went to the Irish pub and got some 3 litre jugs of beer and settled down for the night. The local Thais seemed fascinated with all the Irish people singing and generally being merry. All in all it was a very goodnight. We had decided to do some Laundry while we were in one place for a few days. The simple task of washing and drying our stuff was too much for a laundrette who lost one of Lauras tops. After banging my head against a thick Thai wall we had to accept the top was not coming back. Apparently we never gave the top in and I was mistaken, but the suggestion that they have lost the top was predictably greeted with anger. We headed off after concluding that one of them must have stolen it and learnt another lesson. Next time, we shall write down exactly what we have given them.


That night we went to the MBK centre in Bangkok. This is a massive shopping mall that houses the usual array of shops, restuarants and cinemas. Again we went with our ducth friend Zee and watched Alice and Wonderland in 3D. Its a weird experience going the cinema in Thailand, as before the film begins you must stand for the national anthem in respect of the King. They certainly love their King over here. The film was also very good. On our return from the film our tuk tuk ride was also pretty entertaining (and scary for Laura). The army had sealed off many roads on our way back, so our tuk tuk had to pass through a couple of checkpoints. After having the torches shined in our face, our little tuk tuk then plodded of through the no mans land to the other military checkpoint. I found this slightly amusing, Laura did not. It seemed like the army were setting up for the long haul, thresh barbed wire was being put around road blocks and any buildings of slight importance.


Being in Bangkok was a weird experience, while on the Khoa San road you have no idea what is happening only a few streets away. Its a great road just to walk down and soak up the atmopshere. The street sellers are not pushy and would rather have a laugh with you than try and force something on you. Everyone we spoke to before arriving said Bangkok is great in small doses. This is definately something we would agree with. We had a great time there but after three nights we where ready to leave. Our next destination would be Kanchanaburi to see the bridge over the river Kwai aswell as ride the 'death railway'. Trying to get to the train station summed up quite nicely the bad part of the Khoa San road, the people who just want to fleece you for your money. We must have tried over ten different taxi and tuk tuk drivers before we found one who would just take us to the station. All the others said we had to go to a travel agents and buy a ticket first, others said there was no train, whilst others just lied in general. Knowing that we could buy our tickets at the station, and that the train was leaving in 50 minutes, we kept walking till we found an honest driver who simply took us where we asked.


We settled down on the train hoping Kanchanburi would provide us with a quieter place where we could relax in peace.


Paul

Disclaimer - The internet is a rip off here (Koh Tao), so I have typed this quickly and I have not bothered to check any spellings or read over it, so any rude words created by my mistypes are unintentional and will be corrected another time.
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Comments

Mum J on

I would love to have "fish massage"
Glad your both still having fun.
Take care x x x

paulandlaurac
paulandlaurac on

ut tickled so bad, paul took a video and weve got loads of pics. Internet is quite pricey on the islands so we arent able to upload them! x

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