One Weekend in Bangkok

It’s stopped raining now that the weekend is over but we’re still eating noodles and trying to work.

Barry had a conference to go to over the weekend, so we left the apartment (and the swimming pool) and moved to the ‘right’ side of the river, the posh side. Instead of the fancy hotel, we stayed in a fancy hostel across the road, tucked in behind one of the few Hindu temples in Thailand.

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Pleasant wee guesthouse with a nice area downstairs for working, even though the walls were thin and we could hear water running through the pipes

My friends, Cassie and Grant, who live in Singapore, were kind enough to make the trip over to Bangkok to see me so I got to be a tourist and go to markets and do all the things Barry doesn’t have the patience for.

Friday night was torrential downpours again and there is no better way to spend a rainy Friday evening than with friends, eating too much Thai food, drinking beers and cocktails.

Saturday arrived warm and sunny and we headed to Chatuchak Market, the world’s biggest outdoor market (or so it claims, and I’m inclined to believe it). There was an overwhelming number of stalls, selling rip off Calvin’s, Diesel and the like. Denim wasn’t really on my shopping list so I was most excited by the food. Colourful fruit stalls, busy coconut ice cream stands and all manner of good things to eat, some of which we got for lunch. Boxing gloves and Thai Boxing shorts almost made it onto the list though but I thought better of it.

After lazing about by the pool in Cassie’s hotel in the afternoon, we headed off to the river to get the shuttle boat to a new dockside development, Asiatique.

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According to local advice it’s full of ‘shopping, dining and happenings’. We had an excellent dining experience, wandered the shops and tried to find the happenings. Not a lot of luck on the happenings but we found some beer.

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I have to admit it felt like a fake town, maybe a Disney Asia with it’s Ferris wheel, ‘Main Street’ and toy-like tram running through the area. And I never did find the Calypso Theatre.

Sunday found us down at the pier again, this time getting the boat-bus up the river to Wat Pho temple. You can get a traditional long tail boat for lots of baht or The Express Tourist Boat will take you up and down the river as many times as you like for 150 baht for one day. Or you can just jump on the boat and pay 15 baht per trip. You can guess which one we did. It’s a great way to travel, washing along the muddy Chao Phraya. You get a completely different perspective of the city. It’s my favourite way to get around Bangkok.

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Charo Phraya, Bangkok

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With the lyrics of ‘One Night in Bangkok’ running through my head (they’re in yours now too, huh?), we entered my first temple in Thailand, Wat Pho, where the largest Reclining Buddha in Thailand, well, reclines. S/he is enormous – 46 metres long and 15 metres high. That’s just a little bit bigger than I am.

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S/he’s covered in gold leaf and very shiny. I found the feet most impressive, inlaid with mother-of-pearl and laksana characters.

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It wasn’t really explained, but it was the practice to put a coin in every bowl along one wall of the temple building at the Reclining Buddha. I’m sure it’s for blessings or good luck for my future or something.

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The rest of the temple is large and incredibly colourful.  Some styles felt very Japanese, others were truly Thai and very Buddha.

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We capped the day off with a tuk tuk ride, hurling us through the streets of Bangkok with much hilarity.

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We just had to have a massage after that experience.

5 thoughts on “One Weekend in Bangkok

    • They are fab. It might make you feel better to know that we are now on Koh Samui but I’m not lying on the beach, it’s bucketing down…

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