Monday, August 27, 2018

#617 : Cĥxp pîng! Bangkok Trails


Do read the first two parts in the series here - Part 1 Part 2 

After that relaxing stay in Krabi we boarded a flight to Bangkok. We picked the Thai Lion flight which landed by afternoon in the Don Muang airport. This is point in the trip when we experienced our first major difficulty. Bangkok is rather infamous for it's horrendous traffic jams. We were scheduled for a cruise dinner which was to start by 8PM. Our pick up was scheduled at 5PM and we hadn't reached our hotel only. We learnt about the pickup time from our local contact just as we landed. There was some kind of a mismatch between the final vouchers PickYourTrail sent and the timings on the website that we booked. After frantic calls using the pathetic internet connection we had, we managed to check in and start out by 6PM and make it on time too. 

The Chao Phraya cruise was the first activity in Bangkok that we choose. The prospect of cruising peacefully enjoying an international meal and admiring the landscape of Bangkok was enticing. However, it turned out to be quite the opposite. The ship was filled with just Indians, with blaring Hindi/Punjabi music being played and Indian food being served. By the time we got back to the hotel, I had a severe headache. I was pretty convinced that the our agency had probably booked us specifically onto to some kind of an Indian special cruise. I have nothing against Hindi Music or Indian food, but at that place and that setting, I wanted to experience something global. The view was the only thing which put me out of my misery that day. 

Day two in Bangkok dawned, after a sumptuous breakfast in our hotel, we headed for the Buddha tour. We managed to visit the famous Buddhist temples in the city. Yet again, not the kind of the experience I was looking forward to. The whole tour seemed slightly commercialized. I was looking to experience Buddhism, but we ended up roaming around the temples like tourists. The temples however were truly beautiful. Simply wished we could understand the culture better. It was a half day trip and we went back to the hotel.
 
We stayed in the famous Sukhumvit area. It was quite a busy place with crowd pulling massage parlors and restaurants. One restaurant worth the mention was a Lebanese one - Nadimos. Unfortunately, the Thai cuisine doesn't have much to offer for vegetarians. Lebanese food came to our rescue!


We decided to visit the famous Rod Fai night market. That trip was one hell of an adventure. It wasn't a part of the package, which meant we had to find our own way to reach the place. Without Google maps and a proper internet connection, we knew that was big risk. The valet in the hotel where we stayed managed to flag down a cab and convince him to use the meter. We reached the place safely and managed to find our way into the market which was safely tucked out view thanks to a mall. Filled with cheap cosmetics, dresses, accessories and street food, that market was the pure Thailand experience for us. The place was a local hang out spot and didn't really pull in the tourist crowd. A couple of guys from my home town who were there in Bangkok for their jobs were the only 'tourist' sort we met. It was such fun to try to communicate and shop for things in that market. Language was a big barrier but it didn't hamper the overall experience. Food was the only thing we really struggled with. With literal non existent vegetarian options, we had to settle for desserts like Pancakes to fill our stomach. 

Our trip back to the hotel was the highlight of the trip. Getting a cab back to the hotel was fast turning into a nightmare until one guy stopped and agreed to take us back while with meter rates. There was girl who was seated in the front seat. Having heard stories about flesh trade and prostitution, my imagination went wild very quickly. We didn't know the language nor did we know our way around, we simply were easy targets to be cheated on. However, that driver and the girl put in so much efforts to make us feel warm and secure as they sensed our fears. In spite of not knowing English, she communicated so well with us using google voice and translate. Technology really came to our help that day. Faith in humanity = restored. 

We woke feeling all warm and fuzzy from our previous night's experience and looked forward for a relaxing day at the zoo. Little did we know that we were in for a rude surprise.  Bangkok Zoo turned out to be a bad idea. Filled with unruly horde of tourists, all from India, it was such a bad experience to move around and get seats in the various shows. I realized that we Indians, lack that discipline to stand in a line and move around as a large group. I vowed never to visit a place which would be possibly flocked by fellow Indians. 

After that hectic time in the zoo, we decided to go shopping to relax. Nothing more relaxing than indulging in some retail therapy! The people in PickYourTrail recommended that we hit the Prutnam Market and the Platinum mall. We shopped for clothes, accessories and cosmetics - all of which were available in dirt cheap rates. Here is a small list of things which are worth indulging in. 

1. Earrings - You can't possibly chance upon better quality and designs anywhere else in the world! 
2. Handmade soap - That smell and that shape! It got me as excited as a 5 year old. 
3. Cosmetics - There is this 99% Aloe-Vera lip balm and strawberry lip scrub which is working wonders to my lips. If you have oily skin like mine, the Srichand
4. Clothes - Dirt chip and are of good quality. 

After that fab shopping session we decided to unwind and experience the world famous Thai Massage. The hotel that we stayed in had an attached massage parlor. We picked Aromatherapy massage. The masseurs were well trained and professional. 

Next day dawned, it was time to leave. We took the Thai airways flight back home. Though the trip wasn't really what one would call perfect, the time off worked magic for us. 

PS. I've not uploaded pictures for personal reasons. If you want to peek into my album, give me a shout out, will share it privately! 

PPS. I know this is such a delayed post. My day job had me clamped to the desk. 



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3 comments:

  1. You just reminded me of my Bangkok trip. I was in Pratunam for my journey. The midnight markets and the experiences in Chinatown markets was out of the world!

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    Replies
    1. Totally right! Bangkok is such a lively place to be.

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  2. It is on the cards n your post has instilled more attention towards Bangkok visit.
    #MyFriendAlexa #ilaenjoys #Blogchatter

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