Day 269 – 273 (30th May to 3rd June) – Bangkok

18 06 2011

Bangkok seems to get a bit of a bad rep, but with only four nights in Thailand we plan to get the most out of the city; good and bad. This did mean spending a lot of time out in the blazing sun and high humidity. This was something that was compounded by the necessity to wear long trousers when visiting The Royal Place, which was grand and spectacular to put it mildly. The palace buildings were on a relatively modest sized site within the old city area. There were a good dozen spectacular gold colour shiny buildings. Wat Arun, the largest reclining Buddha in the world would have been more impressive had it not been indoors and we not stood 2 metres from it.

The traffic in Bangkok is terrible; we soon found the best way to get around was the very efficient river taxi service that ferried people up and down the Chao Praya River.

The bad in Bangkok can get very bad – We felt we couldn’t come to Bangkok without visiting the infamous Khao San Road. The backpacker andSohotype area rolled into one. We got chatting to a group of five solar energy professors in Bangkok on a conference and thought it would be fun to take in Khao San road with them. We worked our way from bar to bar and what we were offered was… interesting, a little weird and just out and out bizarre.

We took an organised day trip to Taling Chan floating market; very interesting to see, but totally geared up for tourists. The Bridge on the River Kwai, made famous by the great 1957 film by the same name an interesting stop on the day trip. The museum filled in many of the gaps the film missed and the walk across the now rebuilt bridge was like stepping into the movie. Our final stop of the day was a tiger sanctuary run within a Buddhist monastery. We’re not too sure about this one. I guess the animals are treated well and money goes to a good cause, but it seemed a bit strange when people started getting their photo taken with tiger cubs on leashes. It was only our second opportunity to see these huge impressive cats on our trip so trusted the monks to do a good job and enjoyed it for what it was.

Thailand was a short and sweet experience, and very much enjoyed – especially the food. Some of the eateries we found were tremendous; from restaurant to street food it was all great. It was very nice to leaveSouth East Asia on a full stomach.

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