Visiting Bangkok this time was VERY different to the first time we were there, only a fornight beforehand. Since the Thai new year was no longer being celebrated, you could now actually walk the streets without being pelted with waterguns from all angles. We noticed a great deal more food stalls and markets out on the streets this time to and in general, people were a lot less crazy. Even although the streets were still very busy, it was calmer! It was the kind of atmosphere we had first expected to experience in Bangkok.
This time round, we stayed in a hotel named ‘The Waterford Diamond Towers’ (sounds fancier than it was) although we did manage to get a really good deal on it when booking through hotels.com. We managed to get ourselves a studio for cheaper than the price of a basic room (not sure how that worked, but definitely not complaining). The studio was huge!! It even had it’s own kitchenette. On the first night staying here, we thought we would make use of actually being able to cook our own food for once. So we popped out to the supermarket across the road to buy rice, tuna and veg and cook on the hob. After arriving back and searching all the cupboards for pots and pans to cook our food in, we came to the conclusion that the hotel staff had forgotten to leave them in our kitchenette. So Gav went to reception to ask if we could get some only to be told that because it is a budget hotel, you have to pay 300 baht per night to rent them. 300 baht (equivalent of £6) is what you would pay for a meal in a very nice restaurant in Thailand! Therefore we refused to pay it to rent a pot. Instead we tried to use the kettle to boil water, and then the microwave to cook our bought in dinner. This was comical and the end result was a very unsatisfying dinner!
The next morning I got up early to make use of the hotels gym and gav lay by the pool for an hour or so. We then both went back to the room to get a quick shower before making our way to Khao San road. Along the way we bought various different kinds of street food to try such as fresh crab spring rolls, spicy boiled eggs and pork dumplings. I used to be so much less adventurous with food. I knew what I liked and I stuck to it. However, since coming to Asia I have definitely branched out in trying and new and unusual foods that I never thought I would like. In Bangkok there is so much variety of street food, elsewhere in Asia the street vendures all seemed very similar. Therefore so far, Bangkok has definitely been my favourite for street food!
When we arrived at Khao San road, this time, it was just like we had imagined it- exactly what you see in the movies! Stalls everywhere selling foods, clothes, bags, purses and as soon as night fell, the street came to life with colourful, flashy lights, loud music and ladyboys everywhere! We spent the rest of the evening here, wandering the market stalls and getting food. We then met up with our American friends Jess and Steven for drinks. We found a bar called ‘Roof Bar’ which played really good live music and had a great buzz about it. After a few rounds here, we made our way back to our hotel. On the way back, we popped into a tourist booking office, where we booked a day trip to go to the train market and floating market the next day.
The next morning was another early rise, with our pickup time for the market trip being at 6.20am. However, the markets were a good bit away (around a 2 hour bus journey) so we managed to get some sleep on the bus. First stop was the train market. As the name suggests, the whole market is based around a train track. We arrived here around 8.30am, just in time for the 9am train passing through. This was pretty cool to see! Just before the train comes (literally seconds before), all the owners of the market stalls move their products back from the tracks and as as it passes they immediately whip them right back up again and continue as normal. After the 9am train, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then got back on the bus to go the floating markets. Again this was another completely different, unusual market set up. Arriving here, we got on a traditional Thai boat to go around all the markets in. On the way to the main market area, we passed many other boats. Half of them were packed with tourists and the other half were local Thai people selling products from their boats. You could buy anything from these passing boats such as fruits, chicken, coconut ice cream, scarves, lamps, souvenirs and so on.
Gavin and I stopped a passing boat and tried out some coconut ice cream for the first time which was really good! Our boat then took us around all the main market stalls which were super busy, all the local Thai’s were just hanging their products for sale over the edge of the river and calling out to passing boats to buy. After spending about an hour or so going round all the markets via boat, we disembarked and made our way to the foot market where we were given an hour for lunch before heading on the bus again for our 2 hour journey back. Arriving back at our hotel, we spent the rest of the day chilling out by the pool and then both crashed out not long after dinner.
The following day was our last in Bangkok, we woke around 8am and spent the morning getting breakfast nearby and then back to use the hotel gym before showering, packing and checking out. We then still had the rest of the day as our bus/boat to Koh Tao wasn’t until 9pm that evening. So we left our bags behind the hotel reception and decided to make our way to ‘MBK shopping mall’ for the afternoon. We had been recommended to visit MBK mall by numerous people and it is even suggested by the ‘Lonely planet South-east Asia travel book’ so we reckoned it must be worth a visit. It took us a wee while to get there, having to change various train lines. When we finally arrived we were blown away with how huge it was and, like everywhere else in Bangkok, extremely busy! It had five floors, each floor had categorised all the shops into they products they sold. For example, the first floor was all clothes and shoe shops, the second was mobile phones and sim cards, third computers and gadgets and so on. We spent a couple of hours wandering around the shops here (and probably still didn’t even see half of the mall, it is that big!) Then got an iced coffee in a cute little coffee shop before making our way back to the hotel to collect our bags. From there, we got a taxi to Khao San Road (where our bus was departing from) and got dinner there one last time before boarding the bus at 9pm.
Next stop: Koh Tao