A good sleep on the comfi overnight train from Chiang Mai and we wake up in Bangkok. Just in case anyone out there is thinking of taking this route, here’s a word of warning from the train company.

Not much time spent in Bangkok, only a few days, but what can I say? It’s a big city – impressively so! Be prepared for all the things that come part and parcel with traveling thru a big city. Pollution, traffic. Getting around takes time and money, tuk tuk and taxi drivers will attempt to charge three times the proper rate, and accommodation and food are relatively expensive too.

Though I must say that at no time day or night do I feel in any danger of being mugged or whatnot. (I think credit has to go to the Super Police.)

In the tourist district around Khaosan Road and that area there’s plenty to eat / drink / shop. Plenty of lights, night life and noise. 

If you want to do something nice, go to the river and hop on the ferry down to China Town. In the streets here you’ll be able to bargain on anything from fishing line to hair clips, sunglasses to the latest porn titles (sadly my laptop has no DVD drive so I can’t tell you much about that).

However the real hit is on one of the main roads called Thanon Yaowarat, a little further on from the White Orchid hotel. Here you’ll find several pavement restaurants, and one in particular we frequented was Lek & Rut Seafood – an absolute extravaganza for seafood lovers! 

Tom Yum shrimp soup (150THB): 

And last but not least, grilled shrimp straight off the charcoal BBQ only meters away (5 pieces 300THB !!!):  (I refrain from telling them what we’d call these “shrimps” back home as it might tempt them to hike their prices up a notch!)

A visit to the Emerald Buddha temple is a great day out.

Of course this story would not be complete without briefly discussing the question of the Ping Pong Effect: 

One night we ask some waiters for advice on where the action is and they recommend the Silom district, a few kilometres SouthEast of Khaosan. A lively place, full of bars and eateries, but mostly gogo bars, massage parlours and sex shows. Not knowing the best course of action Ebru steers us smack-bang into the middle of the gay district and we sit down at some bars for some beers. Good fun here I must say! Bit strange having the waiter blow kisses at me while I’m chatting to my wife but otherwise really good fun, and it seems the only place where they play a good variety of music and bars have a relaxed BAR atmosphere, unlike the more “lady-orientated” places. 

After that we move on and pop into a Ping Pong show – got to do it while we’re here no? Besides, I love Ping Pong! The tout outside the door tells us free entry and 150THB a beer; we confirm this with the mean mama at the counter inside and she agrees, so we order a couple of beers and sit down for the show. 

It’s not sexy, it’s not glamorous, it’s dark and seedy and the ladies aren’t exactly the pick of the crop either (skills aside) – those of them who are ladies, as half of them are clearly men with tits. Straight away some gals come over to greet us and move off again, leaving their rum-coke glasses on our table. Clearly suspicious so we move signal for the lady to take them away as we don’t want them. For the next half hour it’s all lubricated paint brushes and Ping Pong balls; nothing I could ever train my fella to do, so we get bored and decide to leave.

Mean mama at the payment counter has been tallying up and hands us the bill: 

2 x Beer 300THB
2 x Ping Pong Show 800THB
3 x Rum-Coke 2700THB
TOTAL: 3800THB! 

Of course we refuse to pay and as she threatens to call the mafia her girlfriend is straight on the cell phone appearing to make a call. How intimidating… We wave the 300 Baht in her face, turning for the door and she decides to snatch it before we head out and weave our way swiftly through the streets back to – you guessed it – the safe harbour of the gay district! Be assured that I’m not that way inclined, but if it’s going to be nights out in the smutty areas of Bangkok, this is the place for me (of course with my wife as a human shield). 

Aside from that what else to tell?

Worth mentioning is that we have managed to settle our ongoing shared-laptop woes with a day trip to Pantip Plaza, a massive PC / technology market on Petchaburi road. Now that I’m the proud owner of a little ASUS 1218, we argue less, we talk less and life is a bowl of cherries.
As Confuscius’ famously said: “Key to a happy marriage – make sure each have own laptop.” 

We have to leave Thailand in order to do a Visa Run to Cambodia, but then we return to Thailand and move Bangkok to the Southern islands. The night prior to our visa run we bump into Mikko, a Finn we met in Boracay a couple of months earlier. It’s a good excuse to celebrate and to Ebru’s dismay I don’t go to bed early but head out with Mikko and Bruno from Germany for a few drinks around Khaosan Road. Well, an innocent conversation over an innocent beer later and we’re off to a bar to do Tequila Suicides as a parting ritual…. two tequila suicides and a shared bucket of rum&coke later the Mexicans have firmly taken over the party and ensure that I have a nice, deep sleep all the way to Cambodia  the next day. 🙂
PS: Mikko if you’re reading this, we have to hook up so I can send you those videos somehow!  

One night we were fortunate enough to witness a beautiful lunar eclipse over the city.

Another night we get to ride on Bangkok’s fastest tuk tuk.

On our final evening in Bangkok, which happens to be the same evening we arrive at Bangkok returning from Cambodia, we get dropped off at the main train station, stash our bags at the left luggage counter and race straight off to Chinatown for our final Bangkok Shrimp and Tom Yum feast!

Washed down with a couple of Singhas, we’re satisfied to the teeth and board our night train for the islands in the South.

Bye bye Bangkok!