Posted On: 05/03/2015
By: Scouse Bird
The first thing you notice when you arrive in Bangkok is the sheer size of it, if it stood next to New York in a bar then NYC would look like the 5’4″ mate that no one wants to date. What is with that by the way? I mean I get it when a tall girl will only date a tall lad, no one wants to be on a date looking like the BFG in 6 inch heels but when a 5’2″ girl says she won’t date anyone under 6’4″.. please, you can’t even reach him, stay in your lane! Anyway, Bangkok, it’s a huge glittering mass of skyscrapers and by night in particular it’s absolutely breathtaking. By day it’s congested and extremely crowded but I personally dont think that takes away from its appeal. I’ve heard some people describe Bangkok as a dump… well you’ve obviously never visited Cairo, they literally have rubbish dumps and slums everywhere. It’s just a different way of life with different standards to the UK.
You’ll find Buddhist shrines on nearly every street corner with offerings like fresh flowers and bottles of coke (full fat coke, diet coke is like rocking horse shit in Thailand I’m warning you). Buddhism is the main religion here and just like Gemma from TOWIE has decided to convert, this is one religion I can get on board with. It’s not about living in fear of the wrath of a (ficticious) deity but about gratitude, tolerance and karma. This is one reason why the kathoeys (the famous ladyboys) are completely 100% accepted in society – if only we could be so enlightened. Although talking about enlightenment, sexism is rife in Thailand, if you’re with your boyfriend/husband/latest gobshite then you need to get used to the fact you’re basically invisible. Still I suppose it’s nice having a few days off from being the boss.
Leaving an offering on a giant Buddha toe (he could do with a pedicure)
You’re not short of ways to get around, whether you want to go with the traditional Tuk Tuk (definitely worth a go at least once) or choose a taxi (easy to spot, they’re either hot pink, orange or yellow and green), the prices you pay will be much cheaper than in the UK but can vary wildly from driver to driver so agree a price before setting off. It advertises that all taxis are metered but they ain’t – if you can find a driver who’ll actually switch his meter on then the fares will at least halve from what they want to charge you. They know the pound is strong against the baht and unfortunately they’ll manipulate that. You’ll find tuk tuk drivers who’ll give you a tour of the city for 100 baht (about £2) but they also work on commission from the suit shops so you’ll have to do mandatory stops at a couple of the famous Bangkok tailors where you’ll be treated to the hard sell. To be fair, if you’re after a good quality tailored suit you can pick one up here for less than £80 so if you need one do it. They try to make out like this cheap tuk tuk tour is some government initiative to keep tourists coming back and to make sure they don’t get sold poor quality suits but seriously, are you trying to kid a kidda?
We tried to visit the Grand Palace twice but it was shut, it closes at 3.30pm. The second attempt they were having some sort of ceremony where they dress Buddha in summer clothes – what are the odds? it looked amazing from the outside though.
The giant standing Buddha at Wat Intharawihan temple was definitely worth a look and totally free to visit.
My favourite thing I did during the whole time in Thailand (and I kissed a baby elephant) was visiting the floating market at Damnoen Saduak – there’s a few floating markets around Bangkok and at over an hour away this definitely wasn’t the closest BUT this is the most famous and it was brilliant. You can explore the market on foot (just why?) or for £3 you can get in a wooden boat, powered by an old Thai lady, and float round the stalls. Top tip – don’t point at anything because you will literally get hooked and pulled over by the stall owner. Also don’t buy things at the beginning of the market where it’s at its busiest, wait until you get to a quieter part, you’ll get a better deal.
Not that you’ll spend much anyway – Thailand is unbelievably cheap. We got some Thai street food and beers and it came to £2.50, not each, between us. If you’re feeling adventurous you can get to the market by bus or you can get a minibus trip for like £10 each.
Of course no trip to Bangkok would be complete without a trip to see the famous Bangkok ladyboys. The most popular of these cabaret style shows is The Calypso at Asiatique. Asiatique is a really cool maze of bars and restaurants along the Chao Phraya riverfront. Tickets for the show are around £20 each which includes a drink and it really is an amazing night. Some of the kathoeys look way more feminine than a lot of girls and it’s a headscratcher as to where they hide their other head… All performers are pre-op and use these shows as a way of saving up for the change although once the transformation is complete they can no longer perform.
We spent 3 nights in Bangkok before getting an internal flight down to South Thailand (for about £40 I might add), one more night would’ve been nice just to get to see the palace etc but really that’s about the right amount of time to spend there. I stayed in a great hotel ‘Furama Silom’ which had a rooftop pool overlooking the city and a glass bathroom (deluxe rooms only) which is perfect for a romantic trip with your fella, providing you’re at the point where you can wee in front of each other of course. Rooms including bed and breakfast are around £40-50 per night.
Thailand: The South and the islands
Cheats guide to saving thousands on your holidays – for how to get to Thailand on the cheap.
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