We have enjoyed our second time in Bangkok perhaps a little more than when we first arrived. We had only spent a day here when we first arrived and I think it takes a little time to become adjusted. We have used the riverboat a lot to get around this time as we are staying in the Banglumphu area and it is convenient. As with the Skytrain, it is a great way to see the city. Yesterday we went down to the Oriental Hotel, which was impressive and seemed like it would be a great place to have a pleasant evening drink. The whole area has an array of what seem like very smart suit shops and lovely jewellery stores. We plan to return if there is any money left in the pot at the end of our trip!
We commented on the great food stalls in Ari last time we were in Bangkok and not surprisingly, we have found some great street food in this area too. At the end of Soi Rambutri as it turns a corner, there is a little row of street cafes, which sell quite a wide range of choice of Thai food from the soups to the salads to the stir-fries to the curries. We have sampled quite a lot of their menu in the last couple of days and they are excellent and at about 130 baht (£2.60) for 2 meals and 2 drinks, you can’t argue with the price!
We also spent an evening on the Khoa San Road, which is an interesting experience. It is a mad place where you can buy anything that is really totally and utterly useless and sit and watch the world go by drinking a cool bear. There is a total mix of people – some admittedly more pleasant than others! Nevertheless, it was quite fun to spend a few hours there and I was able to buy a very cheap pair of sunglasses to replace the ones that I sat on, so that was good!
Today we went to visit the main temples. We got the boat to Chang pier and got off there for the Grand Palace. Despite reading the guidebooks, Ben did not have quite long enough trousers on, but despite the touts outside trying to persuade him that he needed to buy some trousers before we went in, we found that he could get some rather fetching trousers for free before entering. The palace and temple of the Emerald Buddha are very impressive. All the buildings and statues are intricately built and glisten brilliantly when the sun shines. I have managed to find out a little about the Emerald Buddha and I like the fact that it is not even made of emerald but of jade. It has had an adventurous history, being fought over by the Laotians and the Thais. We then went to nearby Wat Pho, with the equally stunning reclining Buddha. It is hard to describe the size of the thing, except to say that it is huge and once again very impressive. On both occasions, we went round just with our guide book and the free leaflet that you get on entrance to the Grand Palace, though we did think that perhaps taking an official guided tour might well be worth the money as I am sure there are so many stories behind it all that we have missed out on.
While in Bangkok we stayed at the Siam @ Siam Design Hotel – a brilliant modern funky hotel – perfect for Bangkok.
Anyway, it is now approaching dinner time and the street food is calling – green curry or stir-fried chicken with sweet chilli basil…
‘Till next time
Harriet and Ben
(Harriet and Ben’s trip is proudly sponsored by the Nam Hai)