Bye Bye Bangkok!

Trip Start Jun 13, 2011
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Trip End Jun 12, 2012


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Where I stayed
Khaosan Baan Thai

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Our third and final visit to Bangkok was a fleeting weekend stay before catching our flight out to Nepal. We’d had a tiring day’s travel from the 4,000 islands in Laos (280,000k), then arrived at the ungodly hour of 4.30am (it was supposed to be between 6 and 7am - why is it you’re always early when you really wouldn’t mind if you were late?)! Obviously there wasn’t much for us to do at that time, and our room wasn’t yet available (although the lovely staff at our Khaosan Baan Thai were as accommodating a possible), so we managed to grab another couple of hours’ shut eye on the chairs and benches in the guesthouse like a pair of hobos!

We weren’t too fussed about doing too many touristy things - we mainly just wanted to enjoy the city and get ourselves organised before heading off, including buying some gifts for the friends we were meeting up with in Kathmandu. However, Barry had an old score to settle - a successful visit to the snake farm (last time he’d tried he’d spent a couple of hours in traffic jams only to arrive and find it closed!)! Fortunately, no such problems this time, so I happily saw him off at the gate (200bt entry) and popped off for a wee Thai massage - each to their own! My treatment with Be at Eve House in Patpong was fantastic (you learn something new every time!), and Barry thoroughly enjoyed his visit - he was especially excited about the fact that one of the keepers got bit, sicko that he is!
 
After that we caught the metro (which is cheap, fast and has the wonderful benefit of being air-conditioned!) to the Chatachuk Weekend Market. We knew it was gonna be big, but we were totally unprepared for the scale of it - it must be the biggest market we’ve ever visited! And although it was crowded and crazy, and every so often you’d get that familiar waft of pure pee, on the whole it was pretty well set out and had a few nice areas to grab a drink or snack. There was a lovely artisan’s section and a great selection of independent and vintage clothes shops - we could’ve gone mad if we’d been flying straight home from Bangkok! As it was, we managed to grab a few gifts and enjoy some delicious strawberry smoothies,just about managing not to get totally lost!

We’d thought about going to one of the Thai boxing matches, but when we popped along to find out about tickets, it turned out that they were coming in at about £40 per ticket - which I’m sure would be worth it, but for us penniless travellers it was an indulgence we couldn’t afford! So instead we took the sky train back into the centre and grabbed a tasty pizza at the Jazz and Pizza restaurant, and managed one beer at the little minibus bar thing near Khaosan Road - so it was probably a good thing that we didn’t go to the boxing, as the busy day and sleepless night’s travelling finally caught up with us around 10pm - way before the show would’ve even got going! 
 
Barry was still feeling pretty rank the next morning, so I left him to chill while I went off to sort out a pressie for my goddaughter Chloe’s 2nd birthday, which we were to be celebrating with her in Nepal. There’s an entire area near Khaosan which is pretty much devoted to jeweller’s shops, so I thought it’d be no problem to get a nice little keepsake for her there - not realising that every one of them would be shut on a Sunday! I mean, it’s Bangkok - nothing’s ever shut……well, apart from jeweller’s on Sundays it seems! Luckily we weren’t flying till the next afternoon, so we could make a quick jaunt in the next morning.

So, unsuccessful shopping trip out of the way, we decided to take a stroll down to the riverside, stopping at the amazing Anne’s Sweet Café for a naughty but very nice brunch! We followed the river round, enjoying the quietness of the streets and the incredible randomness of the market stalls dotted about - we’ve come to the conclusion that Bangkok really is one massive market! There is always someone selling something anywhere you look, and the selection gets more and more obscure the further away you get from the main touristy areas; piles of manky, broken bronze medallions, a mat covered in vhs remote controls, naked, scary looking baby-boy dolls……you get the idea!

We headed to a cool local called Phranakon, which was a bit rough round the edges but had a great rooftop area (without the $20 per drink price tab that the swisher places have), a good pool table, cold beers and funky tunes - what more could you want?! We strolled back up to Khaosan for our last meal, which I enjoyed but Barry wasn’t that impressed, but the lovely poolside seating area was a nice place to spend our final evening! We were up and out sharp on our last morning, and managed to select and get Chloe’s pressie engraved, with enough time to grab some street food and a shake before heading off to the airport - where it turned out that our flight was delayed and we really hadn’t needed to rush about as much as much as we had - but you just never know! The upside was that we managed to have some really rather excellent airport food (who’d have thought?), and chill out a bit before boarding our flight.

It really does feel odd to be leaving South East Asia - we’ve been here since the start of November (nearly 4 months!), and enjoyed practically every moment of it - the people, the weather, the food, the scenery……and more than anything, just how easy it’s been (most of the time!). But the two big draws we’ve got pushing us on just now are a change in weather (we love the heat, but the last few weeks have been almost unbearably hot - roll on the fresh Nepalese air!), and the fact that we’re meeting our best mates for a few weeks of quality time - we really are so lucky!
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