Monday, 17 December 2012

Bangkok

Bangkok from the longboat
Bangkok was quite the shock. When we arrived, we were greeted by a clean, modern city. Which is in stark contrast to the way in which Thailand is more readily known by the outside world. Bangkok is comparable to London in the noise, dirt level, and poorer areas, apart from the oppressive heat. It is amazing to think that this is the dry/cool season for Thailand. Anyway after getting over the shock of how modern Thailand appeared we firstly met up with a friend of mine, Nam, who I hadnt seen since Otago days, as we went to the nearest restaurant to our hotel. After not long enough of a sleep, we got up for our only full day in the city to explore it.

Wat Arun
Took the Metro (amazingly clean) to the main train station, as our place was to explore Bangkok from canal. Got out and of course could not find a tuk tuk driver that was willing to be fair about price, so we started walking. Along the way we meet a lovely old man, who explained to us our plans wouldn't work as the boats didn't run and suggested an alternative. He organised a tuk tuk (for a local/fair price) to take us to the docks, where we then got a private long boat to take us around the area. Total cost was 2000 Baht for both of us which was mostly ok, until the guide refused to take us the full route we wanted. We did enjoy driving around in the long boat, and seeing more of the places where "real" people lived, and going thru the locks. We got dropped off at Wat Arun at the end of it. Wat Arun, was the highlight of Bangkok (50 baht). The temple has amazing detail and colours, and the view over Bangkok city from the top most point is impressive. It was also very interesting to wander around the complex and see all the burial points and how different it was to a NZ/Czech perspective.

Reclining Buddha
After having our fill of this awesome place, we got the ferry (3 Baht) across the river, and had an iffy lunch, then headed onto Wat Pho. Wat Pho is similiar to Wat Arun, but is not as tall, and has different coloured ceramics on the towers. This temple is famous for the massive gold reclining Buddha which is worth the 100 baht to visit.  Afterwards we walked to the Royal Palace and Emerald Buddha, but did not go in. At 400 baht and overcrowding this place isn't worth the hassle if you have a tight timeframe. That night we meet up with another friend (from my exchange semester at Corvinus Uni) at the famous Terminal 21 mall, and tried a local BBQ delicacy that originates in Bangkok. Its a combo, steaming, frying and boiling apparatus that you get way too much yummy food to cook on.

Bangkok streets
The next day we relaxed a bit, before meeting a friend from Toronto for lunch, and heading on the train north to Ayutthaya.




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