Saturday, 24 October 2009


We've been in Bangkok for the last few days. It's a pretty intense city, especially after a long flight and especially if you're too tight to pay for a direct flight and spend an extra few hours touring the airports of the Gulf...
I have some rather mixed memories of Bangkok from my last trip hear 12 years ago. The squallor of the Khao San Road flop house we stayed in was a bit much in such a hot city. Happy to say we're staying in a place with air-con and a shower and we've had a fabulous time. Flash huh ?
The sights in Bangkok are pretty special. We've seen reclining 30ft Bhuddas, 20ft standing Bhuddas and even the elusive emerald Bhudda. The Royal Palace and adjacent Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho are an amazing combination of religious architecture and ancient Thai art. The city is littered with hundreds of amazing Wats, but to be honest, you get used to them very quickly and having seen the best few, you start to just take them for granted and bearly notice some of them. Crazy.
So, what else have we seen and done ? Well, we've manged to avoid the 30 baht tuk-tuk scam on numerous occasions. We travelled the rivers and survived the loony-tunes boats with engines mounted on the stern with long prop-shafts and whirling propellors flapping about. We've gawped at the Royal Barges ( big Thai style ceremonial canoes ), failed to find China town, travelled the subway ( very good ), tussled with 'lost' taxi-drivers, stuffed our faces with fantastic food from night markets, happened upon China town by accident, been invited to 'ping-pong' shows ( didn't know table-tennis was so popular here... ), enjoyed a Thai Ska band and dancers ( ! ? ! ), got confused with the tonal subleties of the language ( no matter how many times it's explained to me, I can't hear the difference between the words for dog and horse ), toured the 19th century teak mansion built by King Rama V after his tour of Europe and been amazed by the collections of ornate Thai arts contained within.
Last night we treated ourselves by heading out to a Thai Boxing match ( how much ?!!! ). It appears to be an 'anything goes' type of fighting. Punches, kicks, elbows and knees are all used and it's pretty brutal stuff. We saw one fella stretchered off uncouncious... Here's a little bit of video for the blood-thirsty. We're off for some tea and a beer. We've an early train Chang Mai to catch tomorrow morning.