A Travellerspoint blog

River and Sky

From the simple to the sublime

overcast 28 °C

Today was another late start, despite our generally grotty surroundings we agree that the bed is comfy and a mixture of this, late nights and jet lag left us waking up at 12.30 again. You sort of 'cope' with Bangkok and this has means that we prat around in the mornings putting off the inevitable - stepping out into the wall of heat and haggling. Today we wanted to go on a boat trip on the canal and see the floating market. We got to the river area and got chatting to a thai man who said he worked at the government buildings - he told us he would say we worked there too and get us a very good price for our boat trip - a thai man's price not a tourist price. Put our maps away, he said. 10 minutes later we were in a canal boat on a 1.5 hour tour to 'a floating market' but not the one i was hoping for. And I had haggled a bit but it turns out a thai man's price is 700baht each. I am beginning to suspect that the government building the man worked for may have been water borne. I'm not getting the hang of this haggling malarky. The boats have huge engines on the back (Henry was identifying all sorts of pieces that were also in his beloved Pulsar -really) and they ripped along the water at a rate of knots. This sent canal water flying into our faces so we spent most of this part of the journey with a scrunched expression. We went into a lock to enter the canal proper and i pointed out a dead pig next to the boat. This part was not so picturesque and we were both planning our escape route (avoiding said pig) should the boat sink. The slower part past the more traditional dwellings was beautiful though, and we did end up at a market of sorts and there was a lady who boated past us and thrust a fan hat (two in one) into my hands, 'looking, looking 250baht'. I bought some sticky shrimpy rice stuff which was nice and we headed back. Once home, we put on our finest attire (walking tousers and boots) and headed to the posh bit (Silom road) for a cocktail at Sky bar. Had a lovely taxi driver on the way who sucked in his breath when we said where we were going. It was incredible. Very very posh. Everything smelled of flowers and insense and there was someone ushering you everywhere. The bar is open air, 63 floors up, looking out over the city. There was live jazz and as we got there some fire works just starting (which we were higher than). We contemplated eating there as each table was candle lit and had beatiful views. You walk down uplit stairs to the bar and it is there you find out that a cocktail cost 500baht, (champagne was 20,000!). We shared a pineapple juice, and decided to eat somewhere else. Had an ok indian meal but it was ridiculously over priced. Head to Chiang Mai tomorrow, hope to get away from the noise of this city for a bit!

Posted by HenryKat 09:21 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Birthday in Bangkok

it started sensibly...

sunny 30 °C

We met up with henry's mate Rich yesterday (lovely fella) and went round to the Grande Palace. You have to have arms and legs covered at all times as a mark of respect so Rich had to borrow some Aladdin trousers (I already had mine on). Loads of scantily clad westerners were turning up and the Thai lady at the desk shouted 'Get dressed!' and pushed them off into the cloak room. all good natured and I thought that was quite funny. We wandered round for a while, saw the temple of the Emerald Buddha, that was very peaceful and gold. You had to be quiet and aren't allowed to sit with your feet pointing towards Buddha. There was a thai man painting the walls, it was all very intricate. We decided to get a tuk-tuk tour home. The man explained that if we went to a couple of places of his choosing he would take us on a massive tour for 10baht. Basically we go to the tourist office and a tailors - we buy stuff he gets commission and a fuel token and we get a really cheap ride. so he took us to a couple more temples. The problem was we didn't buy anything from the tailors and practiacally got thrown out for 'time wasting' so when he took us to our next destination we got back to the bottom of the temple and found our tuk-tuk was no more. Interestingly this was after we had been to the stops needed for his coupons. So we popped into another, ' no stops 200baht, 1 stop 10baht'. He took us to the same tailors. Its so awkward. We said ' we've already been here. Today. So he took us to a different one and when we didnt buy anything he took us down another street and promptly ran out of gas. Sadly I was in the car with two motorsport enthusiasts, who both knew a gas cut off switch when they saw one. So we tried to stay in the tuk tuk. I asked the man how he would get home. He suddenly spoke no English. We got out and watched him drive off. We got a taxi.

Later on after a lovely meal complete with table magician we headed back to Rich's hostel to light incense sticks and chill out on the beds. We met up with a couple more people and had a few more beers. Then people found out it was my birthday and this meant that we were back on 'the road' to the cocktail bar we had previously photographed due to its ridicularity (?!) There was dancing girls, break dancing groups, ladyboys, then clubbing, all with a lovely bunch of people. I got bought a few roses off the street kids and everyone sang Happy birthday. I realise i have just off-handedly mentioned the street kids - its not something I can go in to detail on now - maybe save it for another post. We had decided to go to the floating markets and on a river tour today with some other people we met last night, we would meet them at noon and head out. We left them saying ' thats great, I like to try and acomplish 1 thing each day'. I woke up at 3pm.

Posted by HenryKat 03:55 Archived in Thailand Comments (3)

Khao San Road

Some people eithe love or hate Khao San Road, but I think if you have an interest in counterfeit goods, enjoy various forms of street entertainment and don't mind being constantly run over by tuk tuks and taxis then you will find yourself right at home. Me and henry accidentally found our way onto Khao San drawn in by some really good street music. I have managed to keep down some plain noodles and vegetables (really yummy) Henry managed a pizza but will try some noodles now we've sussed out the right eating places. There's so much to see and do i almost got moody over how overwhelming it is but you just have to go with the flow. We have a good photo of a sign enticing westerners in for strong cocktails promising 'we don't check ID'. excellent. There are foot massage parlours everywhere but I can't go in because I haven't shaved my legs today. They even have those funny skin eating fish in tanks that you just stand in on the side of the road. 'fish massage Sir?' No not today, perhaps later. If at all. i haven't bought anything yet but i definitely will. Our Hostel is not so good. In comparison to the ones on Khao san rd, its a bit shabby, but we can make do. Next time i think we would just book for one night there is no shortage of rooms here but we've already paid now. Im looking forward to my birthday tommorrow (I think im already on thai time) I want to go round the grande palace. There are travel agents everywhere to oraganise all this sort of stuff we just have to learn to haggle. we got skanked at the taxi rank at the airport. ut we have learnt. Maybe I'll tell them its my birthday...
xxx

Posted by HenryKat 08:36 Comments (2)

We've arrived

Am writing this from my phone on a very slow connection. We're now at our hotel, soon popping out for our first bite to eat, hold on tight stomachs! The flight was smooth enough, I tripped several people up whilst I was asleep with my feet in the aisle. The taxi drive here puts London driving to shame, no lanes to speak of and our driver was shaving with a pair of scissors using his wing mirrors. Once we got out and looked around we realised the wall next to us was alive with all sorts of animals.Will post soon when we can get on a proper computer. Henry

Posted by HenryKat 05:45 Comments (1)

Histon to Heathrow

Packing and slacking

overcast

T minus 2 hours. Due to much preparation for months prior to today we have managed to have a relatively easy day. We have walked Ned, had a sausage sandwich, I had a cry because I couldn't remember how my backpack worked and Henry spent 3 hours putting music on our MP3 players. We are all packed now, I am just waiting to put my (carefully chosen) plane outfit on. Henry nearly packed his. My temporary mobile number is: 07780525638 we can receive texts for free and will be able to call and text from this until I get a local SIM. I am mostly looking forward to sleeping on the plane, Henry is mostly looking forward to a Burger King. Thanks to everyone for such a lovely night last night and such a nice weekend too. Next time I write it will be from Bangkok.

Lots of love

Kat and Henry

Posted by HenryKat 06:49 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (3)

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