17.02.2009 - 21.02.2009 35 °C
A night train brought us early into Bangkok. From what people had told us, we would either love it or hate it. It was almost like coming to a new country as it was so much more hectic and polluted than anywhere else we have visited in Thailand. The relaxing beaches seem like a world away. However, we were ready for it and were prepared for a shopping spree and some temples.
Whilst the shopping here is fairly good (there are markets practically everywhere), a major highlight is our hotel! Back in Chile an older Canadian advised us to book The Royal Hotel online. It is quite old fashioned but very grand. Its a bit more than we would normally spend but when in Bangkok, you definitely need some sort of peaceful retreat (with a pool!). The huge buffet breakfast has been an unexpected treat too! As soon as you leave the hotel lobby, it is back into a world of mayhem!
We visited the must see Grand Palace and the adjoining Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddah). The grounds were very impressive and the buildings magnificent. The lavish design and vibrant gold colours made for some great photos! We also stopped at the nearby reclining giant buddah at Wat Po. Inside a temple there is a golden buddah the size of a bus, lying down!
As for shopping, we have covered the main markets. The well known MBK shopping centre, Kaosan Rd, Pratunam market, Patpong market, Suan Lum night bazar and JJ's market (not only open on weekends we found out). It killed Yvette's foot to walk around and my shopping tolerance was wearing thin but we left much of our shopping until Bangkok, so it had to be done! We haggled the best we could and often got what we thought as a 'fair' price but nothing has been dirt cheap. In fact, Bali was cheaper. I guess in Thailand, there is always some other tourist around the corner who will buy the item if you do not! If anyone is considering a shopping spree in Bangkok, Suan Lum night bazar and JJs (weekend) market were by far the best destinations in our eyes.
I'd say that we fall into the 'love Bangkok' crowd just about - only for three days though!