Do not travel: Bangkok

27 05 2010

After an exhausting 3 days of temple trekking we went to Bangkok from PP. We were a little hesitant since the Australian government had Bangkok listed as a ‘Do not travel’ destination due to the recent red shirt activity and arson on one of the largest shopping malls in Asia. We took a taxi from the airport where the driver blocked the meter with a pop-up DVD screen that played Robbie Williams live in concert, but fortunately this driver was not one that rips off tourists. It took about 50 mins and 400 baht to drive across town to our accommodation. Surprisingly, there were lots of tourists out on the streets and the guesthouse seemed relatively busy so not everybody was observing the government warnings.

We went out for a late dinner at the close-by May Kaidees, then walked through Khao San Road markets on the way back to our guesthouse.

We weren’t sure about travelling too far afield in case we were attacked by terrorists (not really!) so we decided to catch a river taxi to Wat Pho, a famous temple with a giant reclining buddha. Unfortunately, due to an inability to read the map we wandered around for 1 hour when it should have taken 2 mins to get to the river taxi. 14 Baht (50c) later we had caught the river taxi and followed the orange clad monks to the temple. There were lots of Indian/Sri Lankan tourists at the temple getting their photo taken with the buddha statue. The architecture was also distinctly different compared to elsewhere.

We had an expensive lunch at Ethos where vegan dishes were marked in red and vegetarian dishes marked in green. Benno spurged on an apple crumble with coconut custard for dessert.

In the afternoon we went to another Wat where there was a solid gold Buddha. We learnt that metered taxis are cheaper than fixed rate taxis.

That night we took a taxi to the other side of town where it took twice as long as we thought it would take, but eventually we had a Thai meal with Benno’s high school friend Nathan. We realised that curfew was coming up soon and we had to get back to our guesthouse. We caught a taxi and it took 10 mins to go 2 km. We thought everyone must be on the road going home. But then the traffic cleared, our driver went 90 km/hr and it took 20 mins to get back (compared to the 60 mins it took to get there) and we arrived half an hour before curfew.

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