|Here we come to Bangkok!! it is a busy, crazy, energetic, dirty, air-polluted and powerful city but somehow creates such unique and dynamic atomosphere that attracts tourists from all over the world.
We flew from Ko Samui to Bangkok by Bangkok Air (suprisingly comfortable and great service), and spent 5days here in Bangkok. We stayed at Plaza Athenee Hotel using SPG points, it was a high-rise great city hotel and located conveniently right in the city of Bankok.
Bangkok has a quite few ancient temples in the shadow of space-age shopping malls and soaring skyscrapers. We visited a quite few wats here, one of our favourites was Wat Arun, better known as the temple of dawn. It is located on the bank of the river so we needed to take a boat across the river. Wat Arun consists of massive elongated prang (Khmer-style tower), highest one goes up to 104m high. We climbed up one of them, it was so steep and Lexi was bit scared, but she did it again. Good on her because I was even scared as it was so steep and high. Once it reached the top, it paid off. 360-degree view of old Bangkok city overlooking heaps other wats.
Another great one was Wat Pho with reclining budda. This budda is literally "reclining" in the temple, and it is the biggest (46m long) and oldest budda (built in 16c) in Bangkok. We got wet a bit by sudden rain and were sheltered in one small wat near there. While waiting for the rain to stop, I was shown how to pray with candles and incense sticks by an old monk there as I was doing it wrong!!
There are lots of small street markets everywehre in Bangkok selling all sorts of handcrafts, fake stuff and food, and always so crowded. The biggest one is Chatuchak Sunday Market, it is actually the biggest market in the world covering 35 acres. This is by far the craziest place in Bangkok. 15,000 stalls in this market selling practically everything you can think of on the earth, from cosmetics to food, trendy fashions, antiques, handicrafts, live animals and insects. Once you get inside the under-covered part of the market, it is guranteed to get lost even though you have a map. With waves of 300,000 people moving, this is like a shopping war zone, but we really enjoyed this oxygen-lacking, sweaty, dehydrated, smelly market. We both managed to buy some souvenirs for ourselves and it was bargains. Hiro have so far collected at least 10 bracelets and anklets (all less than $1 each), and lexi bought some nice top for less than $8.
We are getting better on bargaining now. You have to know how to bargain in Thailand to survive. When you ask how much the item is, they will tell you the price at least 5 times more than the actual price. So when they say "600 bahts", I go "60 bahts". Then they say "ok 500 bahts", I say "60 bahts". He keeps taking the price down to around "300 bahts" but I stick with "60 Bahts" He eventually tells me to go away. so I go away, but when I walk about 5m away from the shop, he comes out and say " ok, 60 bahts..."
Thai people are very passionate about food, there are just food stalls everywhere on the street, you can't walk 50 metres without bumping into one. We definately enjoyed food in Bangkok from food courts in the shopping centres to local seafood restaurants.
Our favourite dinner was tradional Thai restaurant where you sit on the ground around a little table in a tradional home setting. Food was traditional Thai food and was all great.
We also had a great Yum Cha lunch in Chinatown, we walked into the yum cha restaurant as it was packed full of local people. We always decide where to eat based on how many locals are eating there. We ordered too much food from noodles to fried rice, stir-fired vegetables, dumplings etc, basically table full of food but only costed us $20.
We also enjoyed a few drinks from a bar set up on the back of a truck just parked on the street. It was such unique experience to be able to have a drink on the road in a public place. Lexi ordered Maitai there, it came in the ceramic pot!! but tasted great and it was so cheap again.
Our last night in Bangkok, we went to Somboon Seafood Restaurnat, recommended by Hiro's mum. It is again packed with locals and tourists, Somboon seafood is one of the most famous seafood restaurants in Bangkok, with their signature dish "curry-flavored crab" originated at this restaurant. It was fantastic, it is stir-fird crabmeat with egg and curry soup, it wasn't spicy hot, it was rather soft and smooth, melting in your mouth.
We got so much stories to tell from Bangkok including tuk-tuk scam! To be Continued...