I had a pretty good sleep on the train from the south, despite the bugs. It was sad to be leaving the beauty of southern Thailand, and sad that our trip was coming to an end. At the same time, we were excited to experience Bangkok, and also excited to go home. Sometimes there really is just no place like home!
Trains have a way of rocking you to sleep, like a baby in a carriage (but make sure you have ear plugs as there is a lot of noise, scraping, and sounding of the train whistle.)
I awoke as the sun was coming up, somewhere on the outskirts of Bangkok.
We both got up, and when I came back from the bathroom the conductor had reset our beds into the seats so we could sit and watch out the window.
As we neared Bangkok the train slowed through the more inhabited areas. I can’t imagine living in such close proximity to the trains, they would be sailing by your house constantly, at all hours. The homes along the tracks that we saw made me sad.
Here’s a 30 second sample of what it was like living along those tracks:
We exited the train station and grabbed a tuk tuk to our hotel. The traffic in Bangkok was nuts! It was about 7am, so maybe rush hour…except it is like this all day and all night long. Totally nuts.
Here’s a few seconds of the tuk tuk ride that shows us sailing past a huge traffic jam.
We decided to book a five star hotel for our three nights in Bangkok. At home, this would have been equal to a $400 or $500 a night hotel, in Bangkok it was $200. We have never stayed in such luxury, so decided to splurge. The Lebua is an amazing place, and the top floor bar is where they filmed the Hangover 2, this scene:
When we arrived, we decided to upgrade to a high floor suite on the 54th floor which would cost a little more, but meant we could check in now and also included buffet breakfast every day.
The Lebua from the street below:
The bellboy took our bags to our room so we could go straight to the buffet. This was THE most unbelievable buffet we had ever been to. It had all the usual breakfast foods, gourmet style. It also had all kinds of pastas, sushi, made-to-order omelettes, charcuteries, and french pastries. I had not had a donut or sugary anything in two weeks, you just don’t really find those anywhere there, so I went a little crazy on carbs at the buffet that morning. Heh.
So full it hurt, we headed up to our room to shower and change and head out to check out Bangkok, with no real destination in mind. When we opened the door to our suite (which was bigger than our apartment back home, I might add) we were in complete awe.
The view was like nothing I’d ever seen before, with Bangkok stretched out in every direction as far as the eye could see.
I like the incredulous look on John’s face in this pic. He’s like, “HOLY SHITE!”
The balconies are all really close together though, so not a lot of privacy out there.
We showered and changed and headed out with no particular place in mind. We ended up walking towards the busy mall area, and interestingly passed twice through the intersection and past the Hindu shrine where the recent bombing happened. That’s a very sobering thought that we had just been in that spot twice. *shiver*
We passed this guy who must have been lost:
All over Bangkok, linking the streets and on every corner, are little kiosks/street carts where people make food, sometimes setting up plastic chairs and tables along the sidewalk or in alleyways. You have to constantly circumvent these by entering the street (while avoiding getting run over!) or squeezing by on the sidewalk. Sometimes they smelled delicious, with a pungent spicy aroma, and sometimes they were so malodorous they were hard to walk by without gagging, a putrid, rancid stench that is hard to even describe, never mind understanding how it can be edible.
It was so hot and humid, as well as noisy and congested, and we decided to head back for a swim in the pool. I had to take a few moments to enjoy that view again.
The pool was surprisingly basic, not what I would have expected here. It had a giant wall all around it so no view and nothing to see. It was also completely shaded by the building. Still, it was nice to take a dip and cool off.
We went back to change and go out again in search of “Chinatown” district. We were making a point of avoiding the “party” areas of Bangkok, where we knew there was a lot of sex tourism as I had had all I could take of seeing that. I didn’t want to witness any more of it.
When we got back to our room the view had taken a complete turn for the worse. As we found out, the blue sky view we had enjoyed that morning was a rarity in Bangkok. Most days were clouded by pollution, which had settled in while we were at the pool.
We headed out with a map in search of Chinatown. We walked and walked, enjoying the culture of a new world in places that most tourist pass by on tuk tuk. People waved, nodded, and a couple even asked us if we needed help finding anything.
We weren’t successful in finding Chinatown, but we found an area that sold a lot of art and jewellery making supplies, and I was able to buy some very inexpensive cording and threading that I use to make bracelets.
We were tired and started to make our way back, but soon realized we were lost. The map wasn’t making any sense, and we couldn’t find an English speaking person anywhere. At one point we ended up in a very sketchy area, and we were a bit worried. But eventually we spotted our hotel in the distance.
Back in our hotel we decided to order some room service, and had some drinks just staring out at the lights of Bangkok.
Holy traffic Batman!
The next day we took the BTS (a skytrain, basically. Rapid transit) to one of the largest outdoor markets in the world, with over 8000 stalls!
First we had our wonderful breakfast, of course. We only had to eat twice a day with such a gigantic breaky!
I bought some silk scarfs and tshirts at the market, but by 11am it became so crazy and crowded you couldn’t move in there, and it was so hot and so loud that John almost lost his mind! We had to leave and go sit in the park for awhile to recover. ha.
We went back to our hotel and hung out at the pool for a little bit, then decided to go in search of Chinatown again. We found it this time.
Here’s 30 seconds of crazy Chinatown traffic. It’s really hard to figure out how to cross the street!
We were trying to decide about taking a boat tour of the river, but decided against it when we saw how choppy the water was. Neither of us was feeling so hot today.
Since we weren’t feeling so great (more intestinal issues) we decided to make our way back to the hotel for some pool time. Of course, we got lost again.
We had some pool time when we finally got back, and then decided to watch a movie and go to bed early, since we still weren’t feeling well. The sunset was quite beautiful.
We slept in on our last full day in Asia. We had a very chill day by the pool, and ventured out in the evening to take in all the activity one last time.
Yep, those are bugs. LOTS of bugs.
The only thing more tasty than bugs is pork porridge. Ugh!
Hong Kong looked really amazing from the air: