|Bangkok, like nowhere else before has highlighted our appreciation of sanctuary in the city. Be it a quiet park early in the morning, a restaurant before the tables begin to fill, or a coveted room in a guesthouse where the sounds of touts and traffic are drowned.
Having our own piece of paradise was heaven sent as we recovered from jet lag and we were increadibly grateful for Holly and Mark's steer towards Suk 11, where a garden village has been re-created amid Sukhumvit's traffic.
Happy in the knowledge that we were finally in a place we could afford to stay, we lay low for the first few days, enjoying the wooden walkways, filled alcoves and surreal silence.
After such a restful start to our Bangkok experience, the Chatuchak Weekend Market proved a real shock to the system and I am sure is largely responsible for our present addiction to Thai iced coffee.
It is here that everything imaginable is for sale, from handmade silks to fighting fish. Although with limited space and backpacking budgets the plastic bags full of shaved ice, hot coffee and sweetened condensed milk is what really won our hearts.
The food of course has been spectacular, with a splurge at a restaurant called Cabbages and Condoms stealing the show so far. A beautiful vista in a crazy city, with all the proceeds going towards sex education and AIDS prevention programs in Thailand.
Having supported such a good cause, we thought it time to invest in ourselves, with our first Thai massage at Marble House. Dubbed 'dancing meditation' or 'yoga massage' its like yoga without the poses - AMAZING!!!
In search of more ancient arts we rose early to visit Lumphini Park, where the Chinese were reputed to practice Tai Chi before the crowds and smog descend. It was certainly a sight to behold, with group after group commandearing a corner to practice everything from aerobics, yoga, fan dancing, tai chi and more.
In complete contrast we spent the following day on the market trail. Getting off to a slow start at the Soi Lalaisap Markets and China Town, with the later serving as a lesson in self preservation rather than shopping endurance.
The crowds were so thick we literally shuffled toe to toe with others till we reached free space, fleeing thereafter as quickly as we could.
Remembering so vividly the slow progress we made aboard a taxi en-route we decided to walk to Khao San, with each road crossing risking life and limb. It did, however, prove worth the effort as every item on a backpackers wish list was there in abundance.
So with a few more items to squeeze into the backpacks we leave the madness behind and plan to be in Ayutthaya Province (86km north of Bangkok) for Christmas.