We flew to Bangkok, good opportunity to visit the neighbouring countries. It fair to say our base country was Thailand from there we kind of branched out to other countries like Cambodia, Malaysia and of course Koh Samui.On Arrival we chose to stay @ The Landmark Hotel with swimming pool. Elegant, centrally located, good service, excellent breakfast. Overall we were satisfied with it.We arrived around 6.00 am at Bangkok and decided to have some breakfast at the hotel at the terrace until our room was ready. And oh the ice cream is recommended especially in this heat!
What you notice about this city straight away is the intense humid and pollution mixed with the constant vibrancy of a city which make this city unique in it own way.
With our luggage now tucked away in our room, we set out to explore the capital. Best part of any holiday if you ask me.We arrived in Thailand at the end of May. Very hot and (I cannot emphasise this enough) very humid. Apparently it was the raining season according to the locals, but it barely rained in my opinion.
The city boasts quite some interesting sights. That feeling sensation of now you are in a new environment is overwhelming and one of the first things that grab your attention is the distinctive architecture, most buildings with sharp end of the triangular roofs in some places. Apparently, they were built on that particular shape because it scares bad spirits away. An interesting little fact we thought, don’t take our word for it.
Time for some summer gear shopping, we took the local underground ride to one of the nearby main shopping centres to see what’s on offer.
I don’t think I have ever seen a crowded and compact shopping mall as this, you need a compass just to find your way around here, easy to get lost, a bit a like a maze. Be prepared to haggle here though your negotiation skills will take you far. The unspoken rule here is only make an eye contact with a store attendant if intend to buy. Other it automatically presume that you are interested in buying.We finally emerge from the chaotic maze with handful bags and considerable empty pockets.
We spend a considerable amount of time buying stuff, more than we expected. Our purchase included sweets and souvenirs, from chai tea (which Ana loved) to some more summer clothes.
After a quick lunch, and off we go again. What better way to walk of the lunch by exploring the city some more on foot. Ana thought she knew where she was going but she didn’t. I wasnt going to argue and it paid off (almost by coincide) we came across the Golden Mount Wat Saket Just an hour before it closed, which was perfect as there was no queue and we could enjoy it much more.
You may also want to avoid it during worshipping in November as this is a sacred pilgrimage place. It gets so packed that you would literally struggle to make your way to the top,Phu Khao Thong (or the Golden Mount) is an artificial hill inside the Wat Saket compound. The initial construction, under King Rama III (early XIX century) supposed to be bigger, more magnificent, but it collapsed. It wasn’t until the end of the century that the Wat was completed under King Rama V.
The 318 steps were more than worth it! plus they were well-paved which made it more pleasant.
Our second tip: Try and you visit the landmarks during day time, preferably before 5pm if you are considering visiting.
Even though it was getting dark, you don’t take note very much when you are on holiday. In our case we want to see as much as possible.
As we kept walking on the streets of Bangkok, we came across the Giant Swing, Sao Ching Cha.The name is quite descriptive. It is actually a “giant red swing” of over 21 metres heigh. What you may not know is that it is also a religious structure. First built in 1784, has been seriously damaged until its replacement in 2004 by golden teak crafted swing.
Since we adopted Bangkok as our base camp via the wedding in Kuh Samui, we travelled around Asia for a couple of weeks and came back to Bangkok before we departed home for London.
Radisson Blue Bangkok was the choice for our second visit to Bangkok in two weeks. We would put this place on the same par as the Landmark, Not a lot to choose between this two in my humble opinion.The only exception was that we did not have breakfast at the hotel, so can’t really same much about that. Apart from that, service was very good, the hotel is quite elegant, rooms were of good standard for a 4 star hotel and the swimming was really cool. One of the best things was that the swimming pool at both the Landmark and the Radisson were empty for some reason. Could have something to do with the time of the year who knows.
Another of getting around the city apart from Taxi is the local taxi commonly known as Tuk Tuks. Before going back home, we had to try the Tuk Tuks – It is quite an experience – I would recommend it if you are good at haggling (always negotiate the price before you jump on). And hold tight once you are onboard, guaranteed to have the ride of your life, who needs a roller coaster ride when you’ve got Tuk Tuks:).
We took another Tuk Tuk ride to The Grand Palace – The most important buddhist temple in Thailand. If you have time while here, this is truly a must see in Bangkok. The Palace used to be the residence of the King of Siam (later Thailand), the Royal Court and the administrative branch of government. Today, the Palace is still in use for royal events and religious ceremonies.
There is a fee to access the compound (500 bath) and a dress code: shoulders and legs must be covered, just in case you prefer to carry your own clothes. It opens from 8:30 to 15:30 so don’t leave it late.
Little interesting fact, the Palace was initially made out of wood due to a shortage in funds and materials and replace by marsony over the course of the following years.
We went on another mini Tuk Tuk tour around Bangkok. Word of caution here: Don’t get caught in the traps or tricks some of these Tuk Tuk operators employ. Run away as far as you can if they offer to take you on some kind of city tour, otherwise you will be taking around through various business and shops you have no interest in and be persuaded to buy something or to donate money of some kind – And we just happened to bethe latest victims – Eventually we stopped at a Shirt factory which we had no interest in and after that we were taken to Wat Intharawihan the Standing Buddha Temple. Famous for its 32 metres standing Buddha statue, it is been dominating the skyline since 1927. It is believed that she blesses the devotees with success. It’s a free admission and opened from 8.30 to 20.00.After that, our Tuk Tuk driver was upset and left us stranded because we refused to go along with their crafty little scheme any longer. No worries, we flagged a licensed taxi back to the hotel once we found our way back to the main road.
We think the two days are enough to see the landmarks in Bangkok, if you organise your time well. However, if you are planning to stay longer, and into shopping, restaurants and local celebrations on the street. Nochance you will get bored in this vibrant city.
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