Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bangkok - Killing Time

Let's start by saying, we were only in Bangkok for 1 day this time, and while the fighting did reach a couple areas we visited, we got out of town before it started. Barely. Was it scary? Not at all, we had no idea the shit was about to hit the fan.

We slept late before enjoying a relaxing Khao San street breakfast, then attempted to sell some stuff we're tired of hauling around to the second hand dealers. Surprisingly, we managed to get 20 bhat each (~60 cents) for the two pairs of flip flops we got in India for $1 and $2. Nobody wanted our 2002 Rough Guide to Cambodia, which wasn't a surprise. More surprising was that no one would touch our very nice 2010 map of Laos, and the best offer we got for our Nancy Chandler Chiang Mai map was 10 bhat. Nancy Chandler sells for 210 bhat new (more in the US), and ours was in very good shape. We'll be bringing the maps home so we can offer them to traveling friends someday.

First up, we took a bus to the Southern Bus Terminal where we booked an overnight bus to Phuket for the evening and deposited our luggage. The bus terminal was inside a proper mall and we went up to the top floor to eat at the food court, which seemed to specialize in Muslim-Thai oriented restaurants. Josh, remembering that his favorite Thai dish, Massaman Curry, comes precisely from this fusion, ordered it. It was a little different than we were used to, but very good.

Next we took a bus to the river then a boat express down the river and then a cross-river ferry to Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn, which was very pretty. Though we decided it wasn't worth 50 bhat per person to actually go inside the walls where we could have viewed it a little better if we wanted to stand in the direct sun.

From Bangkok

From Bangkok

On the return ferry ride Josh had a misstep climbing aboard and banged up his knee and shin pretty bad. We got him some ice though, and he's on the mend just fine.

We then took the river express down to almost its southern extreme, where we got off and explored the Oriental Hotel briefly on our way to the Skytrain station. It was a really upscale hotel and inside and nearby we found lots of upscale souvenir shops.

From Bangkok

For all the recommendations we got to take a ride on the Skytrain, it didn't seem that special. Oh, sure, a great way to get around, but we didn't really care to go anywhere in went. We got off to change trains at Siam Square and asked at the information there about a bus to the Southern Bus Terminal and were told that area was full of protesters and we shouldn't take it--the roads might be closed. Instead they directed us up to Victory Monument to catch the 515 bus, which had been our original plan, formulated after seeing a half dozen of them pass us earlier while we were waiting at the long distance bus station for a bus to Wat Arun or back to Khao San.

Victory Monument wasn't that exciting, but a busy market and many bus stops surrounded it.

From Bangkok

We walked a slow couple blocks to Peace Park where we watched the fountain for longer than we should have.

From Bangkok

Note, it seems that putting fish and turtles in the fountain is not allowed, in case any of you were inspired to come to Bangkok and do that.

From Bangkok

We had a stressful bus ride back to the terminal for our bus, but managed to get some more Massaman Curry to go and not miss our connection. Though it would have been awfully close if they'd left on time.

1 comment:

  1. In an interesting example of media biases, this was the first I had heard of any violence in Bangkok, and when I went to my typical news source (the stuff that shows up in my email browser, and links from there to more thorough sources), I still didn't see anything about this; it was only when I resorted to a Google search that I was able to find an article about recent events in Bangkok. Weird.

    Glad you guys are safe and still having fun. I bet that, if I told him about it, T would totally love the idea of putting fish and turtles in the fountain. :)