A really uneventful start on this hot Phuket day, waking up before rolling out of bed to finish packing the suitcase and going down for yet another breakfast consisting 90% of omelette. Eventually, our taxi came for us and would whisk us away back to the airport… where we would have to sit around for 90 minutes or so because we got there early. A short flight with Bangkok airlines later and we would land in the Thai capital, with an airport quite literally double the size of yesterday’s jungceylon building (aka the largest building we saw in the whole of Phuket).
One taxi ride later and we are in the heart of Bangkok Thailand, checking into our hotel the ‘Rembrandt’, a huge hotel situated in a side road, going up some 20 floors or so and having a proper gym and swimming pool, it’s a huge step up from the old Phuket hotel we were just at, and it has free wifi in the rooms, yay!
After checking in and having a quick freshen up we were off to explore the local area, we would quickly stumble upon ‘Terminal 21’ a 7 floor mall with an airport theme, complete with fake baggage check and metal detector at the front door. Each floor has its own gate and country theme and the whole floor uses that theme, you can probably tell what country each floor is just from looking at the pictures. On the 6th floor was a large food court, a luxury we’ve been apart from for far too long, funnily the whole food court uses an oyster card system managed by the main desk, a really clever idea that expediates transactions and is saves dicking about with the small amounts of baht that everything costs. Most main meals were in the range of 25-40 baht (GBP £1 = 55 Baht) so we went completely nuts and pigged out, ordering maybe 2 mains each as well as smoothies and desserts, the total came to maybe £2 a head which is absolutely ridiculous for the quantity and quality of food we had. Of particular note was the spicy chicken noodles I had, with egg noodles and battered chicken covered with a sweet, sour and incredibly spicy sauce – probably the best thing i’ve had this whole holiday, and yet spicy enough to reduce me to a disgusting sweaty mess in the middle of an air conditioned food court.
After some clothes shopping, we would take a long walk down the road with no real destination in mind. The roads in Bangkok are significantly busier than both Singapore and Phuket, the former likely because Singapore apparently charges heavily to own a driving license (or has better traffic management systems). As we walked down, market stalls were beginning to set up all along the side of the pavement, most selling silly knick-knacks like magnets and keychains, but the others selling heavier stuff like sex toys, vallium/viagra and weaponry (flick knives, batons and guns[?!] ).
After walking for a while we eventually decided it might be a better idea to get on a train and actually head for somewhere interesting, the trains here run above ground similar to that found in vidya like GTA or the more recent watch_dogs, boarding it was easy enough with tickets being about 40p after conversion.
Train ride later and we would arrive at Chit Lom, the place has been designed with a ton of suspended walkways so that you don’t even need to walk at ground level with the cars, simply walk along the middle underneath the train tracks – the walkway is connected with the local shopping malls too. We’d get to Centralworld after some walking, another of the major attractions listed on my mum’s map provided by the hotel. We’d walk around for a bit before noticing restaurants and bars on the 18-20th floors of the building, so we thought we’d have a look and see if we can get any view outwards. Somewhat as expected, the views and balconies are reserved for paying bar and restaurant guests only, but the Frank West in me would refuse to give up, and some exploration lead to the exit path for the skybar, and include a lit bamboo walkway and an open maintainance door leading to a balcony.
A security guard would appear shortly after I ventured out, but not before I managed to get a food good shots of the city below, I took a 5 second exposure without tripod which hopefully looks okay, but I have to wait til I get back to my home PC to blow it up and check it out, here’s hoping. The guard seemed fairly understanding and merely asked that I leave the area, we headed back down to peasant levels 6 and 7 afterwards to look at potential dinner candidates. Literally one hour later after having done a whole lap of the 7th floor, and 2/3 a lap of the 6th, we found our place, ‘Shabushi’ – a buffet style shabu shabu restaurant, which serves its dishes by conveyer belt.
Shabu Shabu is more of the Japanese term for the dish, whereas the Chinese refer to it simply as hotpot, the premise is the same however – place a cauldron of soup in the middle of the table, then throw a ton of stuff in to cook and fish it out yourself when you think it’s done. The result is medium rare beef cooked in a glorious soup, then dipped in your own concoction of soy-sauce and chilli. We have never seen a hotpot restaurant where you can pick off a conveyer belt and eat as much as you like, I probably had about 10 plates worth of beef amongst other stuff, the price of 365 baht (£6.70 per person) also included unlimited drinks, fruit and ice cream so it was pretty good value too despite looking like a lot of money upfront.
That would more or less be us done for the day, a walk home along suspended walkways again, and then a train journey before a brisk walk down our side road in the rain, me stopping to take shots at the cars because ‘ooh lookit the lights against wet floor’. It would seem its the little things that make us happy as a family, some free wifi and cheap food and drink mixed with a good helping of air conditioning seems to be all we need to keep us happy.
Tomorrow we are off to see some temples and a river or something?