Once Around The Sun

34316 km

BANGKOK (take II)

Our plane has landed just after sunset. Clearing customs is as easy as standing in a queue and throwing a polite smile and the end of it. Done. We have our 30 day Visa since we've arrived by air. Bare in mind if you arrive by land you're only permitted 15 days. We are taking course to Lamphu Tree Hotel to indulge in our dear friends luxurious hotel set in a quiet area right on the canal, but still only walking distance from all the bustle and hassle. The standard in our penthouse room is worlds apart from Burma and you do need treats once in a while. Well, we do! Thanks for your hospitality, Gnoy. Once again...

Our days in Bangkok were a mixture infamous bucket drinks and suffering through hangovers to feed our curiosity. I have to admit that I did not get a feel or understanding for the city. I'm not sure we've done it right. We've done it on our terms, but an Asian metropolis of these proportions is not easy to understand in such short time, specially with our minds fogged up from cheap alcohol. Majka's favourite was the ancient capital of Ayutthaya to which we took a day trip and explored some of the temple sites, reclining Buddhas and ruins. She just loves to look at old bricks and I didn't have objections either. My personal favourite was one of the floating markets that had survived in the bowels of the city. The surviving markets are not huge, the one we have seen on Khlong Bangkok Noi had only a handful of boats selling mainly food. The floating market is joined with a market street serving more foods and leading into the adjacent jetty that serves as a base for short trips on the canal. It is wise to arrive earlier in the morning to avoid the crowds. Watching the ladies serving delicious food from their boats is quite relaxing and very picturesque. There are more famous floating markets some distance outside Bangkok and in various directions if you really want to see what was shopping like in the past. For the shopping in the present time we went to the weekend market that's suppose to be one of Asias biggest open markets. The market has its designated sections for clothes, shoes, food, art, pet supplies, second hand clothing, outdoor, souvenirs... All you can think of, really. More street food opportunities open up in the evenings in China Town, right after the wholesalers close their bussiness for the day. The area gets quite busy as locals and tourist come to sample the many Chinese foods.

On our last day in Bangkok we've decided to do a little more sightseeing and got a bit lost on our way to Golden Mount. With a few 'lucky' turns we've ended up crisscrossing a canal side residential area free of any tourists. Narrow canals with even narrower bridges, tiny houses on one side and a little path on the other. Our walk brought us across many interesting sights and with a few more of those lucky turns we found ourselves by the entrance of the Mount. The Golden Mount is an impressive structure sitting on a hill of rocks. From distance it resembles a boat sitting above the sea of tree line and from up top it offers good views to Bangkok's cityscape. With this view and the sun sinking on the front of us it was time to return to Lamphu Tree for a last cooling swim in the pool and then it was time again to hit the road.

Our bus was scheduled to leave at 9pm and of course I could not leave without having one more bowl of delicious Tom Yam at my favourite place. My forehead was covered in sweat by the time I've finished the steaming hot and spicy bowl. Since the time was permitting I've decided to go for a haircut and so I board the bus with full belly and new look ready for a good night sleep and of course ready to be blown away by Thailand's coast...