We arrived late on the evening of 11th and went straight to our hotel which was close to the backpacker area of Khao San road. We didn’t like our hotel room much as it was decorated in so called ‘designer’ concrete without a window, unrelievedly dark and oppressive – it ended up being referred to as the prison cell. We needed an alarm clock on for the morning as there was no idea if it was light or dark outside.
As always the first day in the city was a confusion of trying to suss out the transport and sites. We grabbed a tuk-tuk to see a couple of attractions, the Lucky Buddha and the Big Buddha, but as usual ended up in an argument with the driver who wanted us to take a long tail boat ride at £60 – they always push you to places that give them a backhander – and get stroppy when you refuse.
We managed a pizza lunch and a beer, but after that surprised ourselves by heading back to the prison cell about 4.30pm. We were so tired we slept through to 8am the following morning.
By the next day we started to get our heads around the city and we bought a Bangkok Tourist Boat pass and spent a lot of the day on and around the beautiful Chao Phraya river. As Ali needed contact lenses we hopped onto the SkyTrain (MRT in Bangkok) to one of the big shopping centres and then traveled on to the famous Jim Thompson House and Museum. (American Thai silk merchant, possible spy, disappeared in unusual circumstances) Bangkok has lots of canals that cut between the districts and we managed to get back to the river on a canal boat.
As we wanted to make the most of our boat ticket, in the evening we caught the ferry back down the river to the huge shopping and entertainment area, Asiatique. After a nice stir fry duck with pack choi, and chicken noodles at the food court we caught the last ferry up the river in time for bed.
On Friday 14th February we left Bangkok early on the local train to head off into the countryside towards the Burmese border and the Bridge on the River Kwai.