Our time in Cambodia had come to an end and the next fixed point on our trip was a flight out of Krabi in South Thailand to London via Qatar. We were coming home!!! Although only for a 10 day whirlwind trip. We had just over a week until our flight so decided to make our way down to South Thailand with a few days spent back in Bangkok on the way.
We opted to take the bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok as it was by far the cheapest option, at an advertised 9 hours it wasn’t too much of a journey by South East Asian standards. The journey went smoothly enough and we ended up in Bangkok 12 hours later. We had decided to stay in a different part of town this time to allow us to explore more of Bangkok, our hostel was really nice, it had a great rooftop social area paired with a fantastic location; about a 5 minute walk from the Khao San Road. We arrived pretty late so after a pad-thai from the famous Thipsami restaurant, which was conveniently located 2 minutes from the hostel, we called it a night.
The next day we spent visiting some of the temples that we didn’t have time to see during our last visit to Bangkok. First up was Wat Ratchanatdaram, this newly repainted temple was stunning and really calming to walk around, we spent a lot longer than expected as touring around the temple was like exploring a labyrinth, each turn revelling a different statue, plaque or view. The other plus was that, other than a group of local school children, we had the whole place to ourselves. We followed this with a trip up to the Golden Mountain, nice views but that was about it.
Next up we caught a Grab taxi to the pier to catch the boat to the other side of the river to visit Wat Arun, this was very different type of temple & the detail that went into the intricate designs on each of the spires was unbelievable. As the temple is one of the major attractions in Bangkok we did not have the place to ourselves so after taking it all in we decided to cross back over the river for lunch.
Lunch was incredibly tasty, we hadn’t realised quite how much we had been missing the Thai cuisine during our time in Laos and Cambodia. In a taxi again we headed over to Lumphini Park, this 142 acre park is in the middle of Bangkok’s business district and acts as an oasis of calm against the backdrop of the chaos that is Bangkok! We strolled around the park and played on the swings, I managed to convince Andy to hire a rowing boat on the lake in the middle, we had a great time critiquing each others rowing technique and chasing monitor lizards around the edges of the lake.
Following our time playing at the park, we had intended to visit Jim Thompson House to learn about the start of the silk industry in Thailand following World War 2 however due to Bangkok rush hour, that visit will have to wait until next time we are in Bangkok.
That evening we went out along the Khao San Road, taking in the night life and the many offers for tickets to sex shows, which fell upon deaf ears.
The next day was market day, we had planned a trip to visit a floating market and the train market, both are a fair distance outside of Bangkok. We had looked at joining an organised tour to visit both but the price was ludicrous! Instead we ended up on a Claire and Andy tour for about a 5th of the price, using a combination of taxi, bus and tuk-tuk (a lot more fun!)
First we arrived at Amphawa Floating Market, this is commonly known as the second best floating market in Bangkok and we can’t say we were overly impressed, there were a fair few people walking around and a number of stalls along the river and a few boats selling their wears and seafood but nothing to the scale I had imagined. If we find ourselves in Bangkok again I think we will make a visit to the number one Floating Market, Damnoen Saduak, instead.
The Train Market was only a 5 minute ride down the road with a tuk-tuk driver who had a serious need for speed. He dropped us off just in time for us to get in position ahead of the 2:30pm train arrival. The market was fantastic, a fully functioning market on the train tracks I couldn’t imagine the scale of it until we got there. The vendors place all of their goods and umbrellas over the tracks, as the train arrives sounding its horn, the vendors hurry around to pull back the umbrellas and clear their goods from harms way, in some cases they just let the train glide over. The market was full of tourists and we almost struggled to find somewhere to tuck in before the train came past, although it moves slowly through the market, it is still a real thrill to be standing that close to a moving train.
We waited by the tracks for the crowds to disperse so that we could watch the train coming through in the other direction. Whilst we waited Andy took it upon himself to undertake his first experience of the Durian fruit, if anyone is unsure what this infamous fruit tastes like then Andy’s description of “it’s like eating an earthy fart!” is probably the most accurate I can think of.
For our final night in Bangkok we decided to check out Patpong, known for being one of the seediest streets in Bangkok, we had our fair few offers of ping-pong shows as we walked along, that was not on our agenda for the night but we did venture into a go-go bar, we had done our research and headed to one of the more reputable establishments, lets jut say it was an experience and leave it at that (no photos of this part… sorry).
The final morning and we only had one more thing we wanted to see before we flew down south to Krabi. That was a visit to Chatuchak Saturday Market for some souvenir shopping. We had visited a fair few markets in our time but none even come close to 15,000 stall market of Chatuchak it would appear you can buy absolutly everything in this market, except of course for the one thing we were actually looking to buy – bamboo straws.
As the time for our flight drew closer, we managed to find a taxi to the airport and after a bit of a shuffle unpacking our bags and wearing all of our clothes in order to meet the tight weight allowance, we managed to get our bags light enough to not incur charges and we were on our way to Krabi!!!