Bangkok, Thailand

Trip Start Feb 26, 2008
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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Myself, Lydia and the 4 Irish girls took the 9 hour bus (which turned out to be 12.5 hours) to Bangkok on Tuesday. We found it hard to find decent accommodation without paying too much over the odds (same story in every major city we've been in so far). Ended up finding quite a basic accommodation in a very good area of the city so we were happy enough. Still had to pay $14 a night for it which sickened us compared to some of the really nice places we stayed in Vietnam for $10 or $12.
My first impression of Bangkok was that we could have been coming into New York or LA. Modern skyscrapers as far as the eye could see, 12 lane motorways, brand new SUV's and pick-up trucks everywhere and not a sign of the poverty we've seen on the outskirts of other Asian capital cities so far.
It was 11pm by the time we all had checked in and showered and we got some delicious food from a street stall outside the hotel. I had a red thai curry and Lydia had pita bread with falafals - yum yum, cheap and tasty! The 6 of us hit the infamous Khao San Road and I had my first offer of "Ping-Pong" (where you go to see strippers shooting table tennis balls, bananas, coke bottles etc out of "you know where"). We got sucked into a bar called "The Shamrock" suprizingly enough and had a good night there. The Chang beer here is lovely! There was a good live band on and we must have stayed til after 2am before getting a tuk-tuk to a nightclub. The nightclub turned out to be a disaster with about 20 prostitutes for every other person in there so we had one drink and left. None of us felf comfortable and the "girls" with the adams apples were constantly gesturing at the five girls. Ladyboys or not, there was an intimidating atmosphere in the place so we made for the safe haven of Burger King - first BK in almost 6 months!!!
As we'll be back in Bangkok for about 5 days in August we decided not to do any sight-seeing this time round so on Wednesday we took a taxi the the Siam Paragon. I could say this is a shopping centre but that would be understatement of the year. The place is like something from the space age, an Oceanarium in the basement (with scuba diving possibilities), about 200 restaurants in the food hall and 1,000's of shops including all the high street brands from Europe and the US, car dealerships on the 4th floor (???!!!) with Lambourghini's, Porsche's, Bentley's to name a few, 3 cinemas including an iMax and a 34 lane bowling alley. Lydia shopped all day and we went for a game of bowling in the afternoon. After dinner Lydia met the girls to see the Sex and the City movie and I read a newspaper in a bar :-(
After the film we went to the night market which had some ok stuff but neither of us were in the mood for haggling. The night market is set in the middle of Bangkok's notorious red light district and for every offer of Ping-Pong Lydia reacted in a put on really posh voice "Oh my god no, thats disgusting" - was funny! We said we'll probably go to check one out when we come back - when we meet Erin & Doug from Canada and possibly a couple of the lads from home.
The next day we just spent some time walking round the street near our hotel, looking at the street stalls, eating from street stalls etc. Met the Irish girls at 5pm for an emotional "last supper" (they were taking the night train to Laos). We should see them again in the next couple of weeks, even for a night or two but after that we won't see them til Oz. We met them in Nha Trang 3 weeks ago and have been traveling with them pretty much everywhere since then. We were sad to depart but our livers will thank us for it!!!
Myself and Lydia went up to Khao San Road again and had a few drinks by a stall on the street then went to bed early as we'd an early departure from Bangkok to Koh Samet the next morning. We really liked Bangkok and I think we'll enjoy it even more when we go back, some of the sights look amazing. We ate almost every meal from the street stands, the stuff was so tasty it was hard not to. 
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