Bangkok 2017 – Day 0+1 – Arrival and Solo adventure

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Day 0 –

After a painfully long flight we arrived in our first destination for this holiday, Bangkok. It’s not been a particularly long time since I was last here, with my last time in the city being only a few years ago but I was excited to be back nonetheless.

Our airbnb for this trip was in Rama XI, named after a king of course. The train wasn’t particularly long from the airport, but the walk trying to find the flat afterwards was on some third world level pavement, and accompanied by a sweaty 33 degree heat.
We eventually found the condo, however our host was nowhere to be found, despite some texting. He eventually showed up, and asked us to basically go back outside and go to a convinience shop, where he’d pick us up and then bring us into the apartment – on the next day we would find a sheet of paper in the lobby saying ‘renting the room is punishable by 1 year in prison’, so that’s probably why – though the process of going back out to get stuck in traffic coming back in again felt completely stupid.

Our accommodation for the week is looking nice, a reasonably sized room with partition, a balcony for drying, and a patio door which literally leads into the condo pool (rolling out of bed and into the pool is an actual possibility here).

We had a good freshen up (hadn’t brushed our teeth in over 24 hours due to travelling) and then headed out to explore the local area – ending up in Central plaza shopping mall where we’d have a walk around before finding dinner at a thai specialty restaurant.

We went a bit crazy, though I think it was allowed and expected given that our last 3 meals were in the airport or on the plane. I ordered up some spicy papaya salad and tom yum noodle soup, and we also had some deep fried mince dumplings, crab something or other and Cordelia’s curry.

We considered heading to the nearby night market, but ultimately decided to have an early night, we were both pretty jetlagged and so didn’t feel up to it, instead heading back to the hotel and stopping off at a nearby 24hr supermarket for supplies.

The whole week had actually been predicted thunderstorms, so we were pretty glad that the sky had been clear and blue for most of the day. The weather snapped while we were grabbing drinks, going from light spitting to full on torrential downpour mode – the shop is less than a minute walk from the flat and I got absolutely drenched head to toe. We would spend the rest of the night trying and mostly failing to photograph the massive lightning performance from the safety of our room.

 

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Day 1

After failing to rouse the girlfriend from her slumber multiple times, I headed out to grab some breakfast from the mall again – the food court there uses a smart card style top up system which is equal parts convinient and kind of annoying if you are just after a single meal, but I figured we’d be coming back a few times as it’s just down the road from our hotel, so I took the opportunity to grab a card and throw some cash on there. Breakfast itself was some hainan chicken rice, and a welcome change from my office usual of fried eggs. Grabbed some watermelon on the way back, only to find out that the girlfriend is infact ill and not just being lazy – too ill to go out unfortunately.

So while it sounds cold, I went out on my own today (not like me sitting around in the flat is going to help make her well, especially if she’s just in bed the whole day). Cordelia actually did all of the planning for the Bangkok side, so I didn’t have a damn clue what to do – of course I also already covered a bunch of the most touristy sites last time I came.

I ended up grabbing a train and just walking in the direction of POI’s on google maps, though it turns out google doesn’t allow offline download of bangkok so the plan quickly went to hell when I found out I only had a small portion of map cached on my phone.

I picked a random attraction on google trips and headed in that direction, taking the train to the end of the line and hoping to walk the remainder.

I got lost.
I ended up at the Wat Traimit, a rather grand white and gold structure housing a golden buddha at the top, the view left a lot to be desired, but was actually kind of useful given that I couldn’t find further attractions on my phone, from there I would just wander around and investigate anything which looked interesting, there were some signs around for tourist sites so it wasn’t all bad.

One of the roads was filled with street sellers, selling all manner of ancient stuff – Broken looking PS2 controllers, old mobile phones, carved wood, loose batteries and generally all sorts of things you could probably find in your local waste disposal centre. There were some food vendors and fruit stalls as well but I dared not try them lest I end up bedridden too.

A walk later and I found myself at Dragon temple, a chinese style temple filled with the scent of incense. Inside there were people offering bags of rice to the gods, which was a little bit different to the norm, I wonder what they do with the rice afterwards? (These were huge bags of rice for the record, like 5 or 10 KG)

Fatigue was starting to get to me at this point, perhaps my body was still jet lagged, or I didn’t get enough sleep last night. I considered grabbing a tuktuk back to the station but ended up just walking back again (turns out, right nearby was a wealth of other stuff 1 road down, but I had no idea because no data connection).

From there I thought I should go to a mall for late lunch and a cool down, the weather was forecasting heavy rain again and I didn’t feel like a redux of last night.

I ended up getting sidetracked and checking Lumpini Park, one of the larger parks in central Bangkok, just had a little walkaround to enjoy the weather while it lasts, ended up finding a few quirky things like an old man playing football for the entirety of the time I was there, as well as an entire outdoor gym.

Lunch time at last, after figuring out Bangkok’s 2nd rail system i’d arrive at the gigantic Siam Paragon – Which has one of the largest food areas i’ve ever seen, a full basement level with dozens of restaurants, tons of smaller gourmet food stands, and then a full food court as well (of which accepts their metro card for payment). I was lost in Siam Paragon multiple times, the first time I was lost trying to find something to eat because there was so much choice, and then later on lost again when I tried shopping because the department store is too damn big (I spent 20 minutes trying to find the exit).

Ended up having Hokkaido Cheese toast (super stringy and milky cheese inside a crisp butter toast) Beard papa custard cookie puff, and some mango sticky rice. I spent maybe half an hour running around connecting to every wifi hospot I could find, hoping to check in on Cordelia but I couldn’t find any free wifi anywhere, I even tried scavenging a receipt off a table to connect using the password but it wouldn’t work. I’d spend a few hours walking the shops and exploring, but didn’t end up buying anything as Siam Paragon seems to only have quite expensive shops – their womens floor is filled with designer labels, and their mens floor has shops with porsches and lamborghini’s in, so i’m guessing i’m not their target audience.

Headed back to the hotel at this point, to check in on gf and rest up for the remainder of the day (incase we decided to do the market again).
A nap later and we just ended up getting dinner, Cordelia still too sick to even eat so I ended up having 2 dinners.

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