|The difference between Bhutan and South Thailand compared to Bangkok cannot be understated. Bangkok is a true Asian metropolis - sprawling, chaotic, open all hours, shopping galore and can appeal to all types of people. Oh and lots of roads, but horrendous traffic on all of them!
We spent longer in Bangkok than intended due to Neha's burn and her restricted leg movements.
Kiran managed to buy a new camera after drowning the last one. He pleaded his innocence at not sabotaging the camera to satiate his need to gadget shop and attempted to allay his guilt by not complaining when we went shopping (and a bit of drinking) in Patpong.
It was utter chaos in Patpong. Neon lights graced the sky and crowds of foreigners wandered through the 2 main streets. We couldn't actually walk through the streets and ended up giving in to the pushes that drifted us along. The women were heading towards the night market which sold fake designer anything and everything, whilst the men sheepishly eyed up the various bars and establishments.
After drifting along aimlessly for a while, we stopped at a bar for a drink accompanied by live music. There was so much to take in...the bad Thai cover versions of Western music; the Thai women flocking to any Farang (foriegn) man that entered (no matter what he looked like) and the farang women clutching onto their men in a show of utter possesiveness!
Laden with shopping bags and giddy from the Singha's, the journey home on the most mobile tourist trap we've seen so far - a tuk tuk - was fantastic Kiran couldn't work out whether bouncing around the tuk tuk was more amusing than Neha's mixed face of exhiliration and fear! That's when the new camera should have been used. Who needs an amusement park with rollercoasters when Bangkok's streets are filled with these tuk tuks?!
As part of our hotel deal, we were taken on a half day tour of Bangkok's Wats and shops. This translated into a visit to 3 Wats, followed by as many government shops as we could take before we shouted "no more please"...only 3 in our case. The guide accompanying us was a thai girl named Nancy who had a dirty sense of humour and some sort of attachment to Neha's arm whenever she told a joke. The half day tour was more than enough for us as we started to feel a little templed out and so the next few days were spent discovering the streets of Bangkok. This quickly turned into a discovery of air con shopping malls with cinemas and food courts. There was one on every corner!
Watching a movie was a unique experience as before the movie could start, the entire cinema hall would have to pay their respects to the King of Thailand. This involved standing for 5 mins while the screen showed a short clip of the King's family photos from childhood to present day. The serene music was then followed by loud American music signalling the start of the movie. Can't really see that catching on in England!
We managed to use Bangkok as a base for 2 local trips to historic sites, one to Ayutthaya - the old capital - and Kanchanaburi - the site of the Bridge over the River Kwai, the construction of which resulted in so many deaths during WWII. Both were great experiences and the return to Bangkok on both days made us realise how suffocating and chaotic the city can be. We would like to be 100% to do the place justice next time - possibly when we return from Cambodia.
Next stop is Chiang Mai in the North where we're looking forward to cooler weather and less traffic!
Top 5 highlights
1. Bridge over the River Kwai
2. Neha's face after a speedy tuk-tuk journey after a few beers
3. Riverside views from Bangkok restaurant
4. Catching up on films
5. Tour of Bangkok with crazy yet friendly guide