Monday, December 13, 2010

Business in Bangkok

I'm off to Bangkok on training Monday and Tuesday, it seems like such a good occasion to also go for the WE. R still hasn't been to Bangkok, I was on my own last time. The objective of the WE is not to redo the temples I saw last time but to discover other, less famous, parts of the Thai capital.
This time we are flying singaporeairlines but let's be honest, it was a waste of money, they didn't even managed to give us 2 seats next to each other! Anyway, we made it and at 9pm we are checking in our hotel after a bit of a fight with the taxi driver to make him use his meter. 9.30pm we are out again to discover Bangkok night life; we find a bar with live music and a mix of locals and expats, it's good fun! We don't leave too late as we are getting up really early on Saturday to go to the river Kwai bridge!
At 6am we are at the station trying to explain which train we want to take and then the announcement is made: train full! Really disappointed we decide to go back to sleep before figuring out the plan for the day. Going to the station had been a piece of cake, going the other way seems to be more complex... It took the 5th taxi to accept us and he wasn't so enthousiastic so half way through he decided he had enough and dropped us nowhere near our hotel... Conclusion: do not force a Thai person in doing something they don't want to do in the 1st place, he will get you back one way or another! A few hours later we decide on visiting the west of Bangkok, west of the river. That's where the city was born before being moved to the other side of the river. After a first boat-bus we find ourselves in a very shiny long tail boat for 2h30 in the canals. We get through a few locks, we eat at a floating Market where all the cooking happens on long tail boats and we see plenty of monitor lezards.
House wise, there are some very pretty wooden house and some more chubby looking ones currently flooded.
(Thailand has recently seen very bad rain)
Once done with this part of town we walked for a while, we discover a magnificent temple (another....)
and we finally end-up in the backpacker area, apparently the most famous backpacker street in south east Asia! We find a massage house where the thai massage is only 180 batt (3-4 euros...) ok, it is not luxurious at all (10 people getting a massage in the same room) but the massage is good!
Going back home is a bit of a nightmare as the taxi driver all want to rip us off! I suppose that comes hand in hand with being in a touristy street!
On this second evening, we investigate another side of the nightlife, the very famous Bangkok roof top bars! Very nice cocktails!
Sunday morning, we change hotel and drop our stuff at the hotel I'll be staying in for the training. (very nice!) from there we walk to Lumini park, Bangkok's central park. It's a very nice area, with 2 lakes, more monitor lezards and a few people doing exercise.
Then we look for a long time for a tiny, commercial, not even pretty, touristy statue. By now you may have sensed the level of disapointement when we finally found it...
Pointless so we take another bus/boat on the canal to get to another temple (I admit I have forgotten the name), it was very unusual, a lot of iron, corridors everywhere, actually there were no rooms it was purely corridors and everyone of them was leading to a Buddha statue!
Once we had climbed and prayed and taken photos, we move on to the amulets Market. Every Thai person carries amulets around. I'm not sure how many they need but there are plenty of shops selling only that! My practical mind can not help wondering how these people survive...
We then decided that we had enough of going around Bangkok and that it was time to go back to the hotel swimming pool!
R had to leave to go back to rainy Sg (he didn't look too pleased...) and I had work to do!

Ps: special thanks to G for his guide book, maps, phrase book etc

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Monsoon season in Sg

A picture is better than a thousand words...