Happy birthday Mr. Buddha.

Trip Start Nov 25, 2011
1
21
25
Trip End May 10, 2013


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Where I stayed
Nek Guesthouse
What I did
Saw big Buddha
Visited Damnoensaduak floating market

Flag of Thailand  , Bangkok,
Wednesday, February 22, 2012

So my first 2 days in Thailand were spent with Anna before she flew back to England. We stayed in the Sukhumvit area (which I later found out was a sexed up area, that explains all the seedy bars and the stalls selling: Viagra, porn, vibrators, knives, and knife vibrators [I may have made the last one up, but you can never be sure, we've all see the film Se7en.]) and spent these days binging on great food and drink as you do on holiday. We spent a fair amount of time lounging by the pool on the 6th floor of our pretty swanky hotel; it was a relief to be able to have a dip to cool off as the 33 degree heat was pretty toasty, and as you might imagine it’s quite draining walking even just for a few minutes in a thriving city as hot as that. I’d forgotten about what people had told me about Thailand being one of the worst places they’d been for attempted scams; and in 2 days our first 3 taxi drivers tried to rip us off (one succeeded mildly but we played hard to get) while a 4th one succeeded.

On our first night we visited Niu’s on Silom (a classier part of town), a proper good jazz club recommended to us, it was great – albeit emptier than it deserved. We only stayed for 1 drink as we’d already had a few, and it began to get late, we were also pretty shattered from our early morning wake-up call and the two flights it took to get here. The next day we took a stroll down the road and had a look round a mall named Terminal 21, as we entered there was a sign "remove hats and glasses before passing through X-ray", we did, but it beeped for Anna. It turns out that this was all an act and that the mall was designed to replicate an airport. The staff were in pilot and air hostess uniforms and there were clocks for different Cities, each of the 7 floors was themed; Bangkok, Tokyo, London, Paris etc. etc. but most importantly it had air-con!

On the third day we made our way to the airport for Anna to fly home after what had been an unreal two weeks, bad times; I then made my way to Khaosan Road where people might say “shit goes down”, good times? My room cost less than 2 Jameson+Cokes as I had stupidly plonked myself slap bang in the middle of what seemed around 4pm to be a very vibrant street, much shorter than I imagined. I lay there at 10pm in bed with thumping music from different bars mashing together before making it into my room at a far higher volume than necessary (alright granddad). I had a wander earlier that evening in an
unsuccessful attempt to find the night market, but I did stumble upon what
looks to be a road more to my taste than Khaosan, it’s parallel, and the next
road up; named Thanon Ram Bhuttri, it took about 10 minutes to walk around the
winding road that was full of small market stalls, masseuses, many restaurants
and mini-make-shift street bars. I’d recommend this street to anyone coming to
Bangkok.

I waited outside my guest house before 7am watching stragglers make their way home and others have beer breakfasts. I was picked up and taken 60km West on a morning trip to Damnoensaduak floating market , which
was interesting, definitely a great tourist trap, although I don’t see how the
stall owners make much money because I didn’t see anyone buying anything. It
was also ruined a bit as you get further down the canals as the young lads
driving the motor boats took it upon themselves to go full speed on the long
stretches, causing my poor little rowing boat to get rocked about.

Walking around the Banglampoo area of Bangkok I was reluctant to get a tuk tuk as I didn’t want to get ripped off. But after turning down one feller giving me map help I couldn’t turn down another as he pretty much bundled me into one.  I’m sure what they were trying to tell me was
that it was the Buddha’s birthday, and it turns out that the government were
paying for the tuk tuk fuel for the day or the week or something, providing a
few guidelines were followed. I was taken around for 2 hours to see a couple of
religious sights, but when I requested a certain travel information point I was
taken to 2 others which appeared to be duds. One of which planned out my route
around Thailand, telling me it was dangerous to leave Bangkok unplanned as
“nobody speaks English”; I then wasn’t allowed to take the plan she’d written as
it was 'confidential’. The second one plucked the figure of 600 out of the air
for my transport and hotels in Thailand; I’m hoping to spend less than 500
including food so I wasn’t shelling out for that. He needed the money right
there and then, tomorrow it will be more expensive; I told him a few times I
needed time to think before I left for my tuk tuk driver to take me to some
compulsory sights: a suit makers and a jewellers. Both of these shops were
government owned and he admitted were so he could get his fuel coupon, but the
suit makers in particular found it hard to believe I didn’t need a suit,
despite me lying to them and telling them I already had 2 and that they were
cheaper to buy than theirs. I began to grow tired of forced shopping, so I
checked out one more sight before paying him and walking back to Khaosan.

My Thai phone number is +668925 92049.

Easy now.
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Comments

Dan Lambourne on

Absolutely amazed that you managed to not buy anything from the compulsory tailor and jewellery store visit on the tuk tuk journey. That is the textbook scam. Government fuel day - MY FUCKING ARSE!!!!

You always were a hard bargain though - remember those fireworks we bought over dinner in Sengiggi! ...hardarse!

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