Sometime during the middle of October a few of the guys decided they were going to ride the Harleys from Phuket to Koh Samui & have a look around etc. So Gismo (Sue) and I decided we would fly to Bangkok for a few nights while the husbands were gone.
We booked our flights with Air Asia & there were only a few seats left, they were hot seats but little did I know who would be sitting next to me. Gary drove us to Phuket airport, actually him & Col looked happy to wave us off ha-ha. Anyway I had already told Sue she could have the aisle seat & I would take the middle one.
Bad move, I paid extra money to only have a quarter of a seat. Next to me was the biggest German man ever! He was very nice but itís not fair that I had to squash up to the left of my seat with him planted firmly alongside me as he took up one & a half seats, plus half of my leg space, the arm rest could not even be put down. There were no empty seats so we could not even move. Really think he should have been made to book 2 seats!!
Anyway we had booked the Residence Raitaevee Hotel in Bangkok and it was a 2 bedroom apartment for 6700baht ($223) with buffet breakfast for 3 nights through Sawadee bookings. All the rooms in this hotel are being renovated, if we had booked direct through the hotel we would have been put into a renovated apartment! (They look beautiful).
So there were a few things wrong with the apartment, there was a hole in my bedroom door, lots of paint was missing from walls, furniture etc. But the beds & pillows were very comfortable and the shower was nice & hot, so no complaints from us. We enjoyed our stay here & will stay again next year as every room will be renovated by then.
The staff were also lovely & our barman was fantastic & full of information, but the real bonus is that we are walking distance from all the major shopping centres.
At the end of our street about 5 minutes walk away is a beautiful shopping centre called Siam Paragon, which is also known as the Pride of Bangkok, this place is huge with all the high end shops, very nice shopping centre that opened in 2005. Even the guys who open the doors of the shopping centre for you are dressed in uniforms that make you think youíre entering a 5 star hotel!
We had a quick look around and decided to have some waffles at a Japanese sweets shop called Marvelous Cream, our excuse was we need energy as we are going to walk to MBK (which was only just over 5 mins away). There was a lot of sand bagging happening outside the shopping centre as we are in the middle of October & the flood waters are on their way.
Well we stayed in MBK for a few hours and only saw part of the first floor, but we are now starving & itís getting late, we have to have an early night as tomorrow is a big day, we are being picked up at 7am!
Once we came out of MBK we caught a tuk tuk thinking we were going to a restaurant called Somboon Seafood which is a well known place where you go shopping pick out all your food then take it to the chefs to be cooked - First mistake - we believed our driver hahaha, he said he would take us there for 15baht.
Instantly we knew we were not at the real Somboon, it is a scam & we are at a place called Somboondee Seafood Markets, our driver has already left, he disappeared pretty quick, but not to worry we will just have some Thai food & go back to our hotel . We asked for the menu & nearly died, every entree or Thai meal is 300baht, what a rip off!!!! But like I said, it was our choice to stay & we did, plus it was late. We ordered a Cha Yen; it was like a glass of very watery milk, off to a good start.
We ordered squid with garlic & pepper, it was a very small serve, when the bill came we nearly died, this dish of tough chewy squid cost us 750baht!!! ($25) Now that is just an absolute joke! Our total bill here for 3 small Thai meals, 2 Prawn Cocktails & 2 Thai teas was just under 3,000baht!!!!! ($90)
What a joke, the food (except for the inedible squid) was actually ok but it is such a shame that the only way they get customers is by drivers lying to people & telling them that he is taking them to the real Somboon Seafood Markets when in fact they are being taken to Somboondee instead, then the restaurant charging crazy inflated prices. We saw quite a few people being delivered here & leaving once they saw the menu & prices.
So that was our first night in Bangkok, little did we know that the next day was going to turn into a 21 hour marathon!
Next day we were up at 6am for a quick breakfast as we had booked through a company called We Tour Thailand, a tour to the Maeklong Railway Markets & the Damnoen Saduak Floating Markets. We were picked up at 7am & the weather was miserable, pouring rain, thunder, lightening. Oh well it might clear up.
This was a private trip so it was just the 2 of us in a nice new van with a driver & a guide called Bobbi. She was fantastic; spoke great English & just a fun very knowledgeable girl. We loved the railway markets & Bobbie bought us so many little snacks to try, some we loved, some we hated ha-ha. The trains come through these markets 8 times a day, it is just amazing watching everyone move their goods, tarps, crates etc out the way so quickly, then it all reappears within seconds once the train has gone past.
We had our photos taken with a couple of lovely old ladies, they did not have a stall, but they sit near the railway line selling a couple of different types of vegetables, Bobbi always buys from them just to help them out. One old lady took a shine to me & said to Bobbi to tell me that I look very strong & she was sorry she could not smile for our photo but she had no teeth!
From there we then drove to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Markets. I am not sure where we stopped but we went down all the canals by long tail then once we arrived near the markets we transferred over to a row boat. The weather was still bad & it was hard sitting in a boat holding an umbrella eating delicious noodle soup & taking photos ha-ha. Everyone knows what the floating markets are like so enough talking about them; the photos tell a better story. It was good but I much preferred the Railway Markets.
As we were walking back to our van we passed souvenir small wood carvings etc, I asked Bobbi was there anywhere with better carving so at no extra cost they took us to the Royal Thai Wood Carving Centre. Wow what a fantastic place, I was seconds away from buying a beautiful Buddha set in sandstone until I realized it was US$1500 - NOT 1500baht hahaha.
Now we are back at our hotel for a quick freshen up & get our meter taxi man Mr. Song to take us to see Jim Thompsons House & Gardens for the next leg of our 21hr day. Mr. Song lives in the same street as our hotel and he uses the meter. We used him a fair bit and in the end just gave him what we thought he was worth, lovely honest man; I have his number if anyone wants it.
I am a bit of a Jim Thompson tragic & have read all the books etc so this is one of the main places I wanted to see in Bangkok. I was so excited & felt like I was going back in time, I wonít go on much but the house is amazing it is actually 6 different old Thai houses bought in from various places around Thailand.
Jim Thompson reversed walls etc so he could see the beautiful carved woodwork from inside his house. The gardens are lovely & they were designed by William Warren who also designed the beautiful gardens at Mom Tri's Villa Royale in Phuket!
Jim Thompson was awarded the Order of the White Elephant, a decoration bestowed upon foreigners for having rendered exceptional service to Thailand; he was instrumental in putting Thailand on the map for beautiful hand woven silks. Jim Thompson disappeared while on holiday in the Cameroon Highlands in Malaysia over 30 years ago!
There is a very small shop so of course I bought another book & Sue got in the mood of the Jim Thompson story so bought herself a book, then it was into the beautiful restaurant for Cha Yen & cheese cake & imagining what life would have been like all those years ago.
Mr. Song then dropped us off at Central World shopping centre as Sue wanted to go to the Zen shop. Damn it was closed for a total renovation. So we wandered around for awhile & had some snacks, oh and Sue bought lots of goodies in a couple of the clothes shops ha-ha.
I then suggested we walk back to the hotel, freshen up again then get Mr. Song to take us to Patpong as Sue had never been there before. It was a fun night of drinking, well a few at different bars and your normal junk market shopping, you know the sort where you buy just a couple more handbags & a few more T-shirts ha-ha.
By now it was midnight & we realized we had not had dinner so we headed over the road to a place called The Happy Beer Garden. It was ok here, nice comfy chairs, good people watching and food was still on & it was cheap. We ended up getting back to our hotel at 1.30am, and then sat there talking about our day etc until 3am so thatís finally the end of our 21hour day.
Ok now we are into Day 2 of our 72 hour Amazing race through Bangkok etc. We have another busy day coming up & have organized Mr. Song to take us everywhere.
First stop is called the Lucky Buddha, definitely not the real name as it is a small Temple that charges 20baht entry fee. Then it is on to the Grand Palace, we hired our clothes from one of the stalls over the road from the Palace. I think they purposely gave us the most colorful mismatched shirts & sarong; we could not stop laughing at one another. It is only 100baht to hire them. Entry to the Palace is now 400baht, wow last time I was there it was only 100baht!
After the Grand Palace we went to Chin Jewellery - very nice jewellery place with good prices. I will not say what Sue spent here ha-ha.
Mr. Song also took us to the Rama X111 Bridge & Chao Praya River so we could have a look around the river area then walk up the stairs and across the bridge. Beautiful views from up there & the bridge is just amazing! From there we went to Jim Thompson Factory Outlet which is a long way out of the city area!
This place is massive, 5 floors of shopping, the first 2 floors are rolls of fabrics, then the next 3 floors are all sorts of goodies, clothes, furnishings, handbags, Manchester, everything you could possible thin of and the prices are fantastic. Needless to say we both bought quite a few things here!
Back to the hotel now for a couple of well deserved drinks before we walk over to the Baiyoke Sky Hotel for a buffet dinner on the 76th floor in the Bangkok Sky Restaurant, the price is 690baht ($22) and also includes admission to the Observation deck on the 77th floor and the revolving View Point on the 84th floor.
We were surprised at the choices of food in the buffet, it was huge and there was so much seafood, we both thought it was good value. Oh & we had a lot of fun up on the Observation Deck interacting with the displays etc.
So now we are very tired and very full, so we start to walk back to our hotel around 11.30pm, oh no there are still little stalls open, so we stop, look & buy ha-ha, now its midnight & we are only a few minutesí walk from our hotel, but thereís a nice looking massage shop open, last massages at 12.00, we just made it inside the doors. I couldnít believe we were having a foot massage at midnight, it was fantastic ha-ha.
Well it is now our last morning in Bangkok, but we need to rush back to MBK for some lovely luggage Sue had seen. Mr. Song is picking us up at 11.30am so we have to hurry, donít want to miss our flight back to Phuket. Not a problem, Sue bought her luggage & I bought the same in hand luggage.
We had a fantastic 72 hours in Bangkok, packed a lot in but thereís lots more we want to see, so guess what guys, we are both going for a week next year so you can ride wherever ha-ha.
Just a little footnote, the guys had a good ride to Samui but did not like it there much, said itís expensive, plus the weather was terrible so they only stayed 2 nights then took off for Koh Lanta.
Bangkok Ė The first few hours Picasa Web Albums - Cathy Perkins - 2011 Bangkok ...
Maeklong Railway Markets Picasa Web Albums - Cathy Perkins - 2011 Bangkok ...
Damnoen Saduak Floating Markets Picasa Web Albums - Cathy Perkins - 2011 Bangkok ...
Jim Thompson, Royal Thai Wood Carvers & Patpong Picasa Web Albums - Cathy Perkins - 2011 Bangkok ...
Grand Palace, Chao Praya River, Lucky Buddha, Jewellery Outlet Picasa Web Albums - Cathy Perkins - 2011 Bangkok ...
Bangkok Baiyoke Sky Hotel, Massages etc Picasa Web Albums - Cathy Perkins - 2011 Bangkok ...