Submitted by derms on Mon, 13/12/2004 - 5:46am.

Lotte and I have spent a four days in Bangkok so far and it's been a lot of fun. It's pretty crowded (6 million people live here) but there's lot to do. Some of the transport is quite antiquated - the fastest way to get to the city centre from our hotel is to catch a rickety old boat that travells up and down a canal. The benches are so small that I struggled to fit in my seat. The fare - 5 baht (about 15 cents) - is collected by a boy who balances himself precariously along the side of the boat to reach all the passengers.

The city itself is cluttered with hawkers trying to sell you counterfit goods - diesel, Louis Vuitton, Von Dutch etc. To get around, they best way is by taxi. There are also two types of taxi's here - a "tuk tuk" and a "taxi-meter". The tuk tuk is just a motorised rickshaw where as the "taxi-meter" is a conventional taxi. If taking a tuk tuk, you have to haggle with the driver over the price - and as expected they do their best to rip you off. One of the tuk tuk drivers had the audacity to ask for 500 baht ($17 dollars) to take us somewhere that was only a few kms away. I mean, it only cost us 250 baht to get to the hotel from the airport - which is 40km away. The tuk tuk drivers get pretty annoying after a while - everywhere you they just keep harrassing you ("Where you go? where you go where you go? You want tuk-tuk? tuk-tuk? TUK-TUK!!"). They also try to bring you to places where you don't want to go because they get a commision for doing so.

Some of the sights we have seen so far include the Grand Palace, which is the former royal residence and Wat Pho - The Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Jim Thompson's house was quite interesting. He was a American Thai Silk entrepreneur who built a traditional Thai house and filled it with rare art from the region.

We've also spent a considerable (read too much) time shopping here. Clothing here is rediculously cheap, especially in the markets (as long as you can haggle). They had some weird t-shirts with extremely bizzare english on them, so I decided to start a "stupid t-shirt collection" (well I did for about half an hour) - will post the pictures of my collection when I get a chance.

The night life in Bangkok is suprisingly good and is partly the reason Lotte and I have stayed here for so long. Highlights include a "Supper Club" (ie a nightclub where you can get gormet food) callled "Bed" (check out the website - its pretty cool). The place looks like a Space Station with beds all around the club. You can dine on deluxe cusine or sip on expensive cocktails while lying down in maximum comfort. We also went to a few New York style lounge bars (which are apparently "in" at the moment). Got chatting to a few locals. Interesting...

The Thai people are obsessed with the Royal Family. There are pictures of them everywhere. No one has a bad word to say about them - possibly because you get sent to jail for 7 years for doing so, but anyway. The national anthem (proclaiming how good the King is) is played twice a day at the train stations (and also played at the beginning of movies). When the national anthem is played, you have to stand up for its duration. Lotte and I decided to go to a movie to witness this phenomenon. Sure enough, just before the movie the anthem came on and voila, everyone in the cinema stood up. Strange...

( categories: Thailand )
Submitted by jason on Wed, 15/12/2004 - 2:53pm.

sounds fun. i've never been to bangkok but have heard great things about it. was it much like KL? also have you seen many crazy thais running around crazily after popping their strange pills?

Submitted by derms on Sun, 19/12/2004 - 3:17pm.

Bangkok is a lot better than KL - much more to do and you can actually walk on the street. I haven't seen many crazy thais running around crazily after popping their strange pills, but I will keep an eye out for it ;)

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