Bangkok – Arrival and first impressions

We arrived in Thailand at 4.20am after a very sleepless flight so, after getting our bags we ended up sleeping on a row of seats in the airport, just near the baggage carousel! Not the most comfy but it was a better alternative than arriving in the centre of Bangkok in the early hours of the morning.

Once out of the airport we noticed quick a change in temperature from Japan, not surprising as it was about 20 degress more, even at 6am!

Despite check-in time not being until 2pm we were lucky to get into our room before 9am so spend the rest of the morning catching up on our sleep.

In the afternoon we ventured out and along to Khao San Road, a famous tourist street packed full of market stalls, food stalls and pubs. I think my first impressions of Bangkok were very busy and very stuffy – the heat mixed with being in the city centre in amongst all the traffic fumes (there was a lot of traffic!) made it quite uncomfortable to begin with.
Khao San Road itself was non-stop sales pitches as you made your way along for everything from flip-flops and sunglasses, through ornaments and hammocks, to tattoos and tailor made suits! A quick no thanks was usually enough to get rid of them though. (And if not, an added ‘Dinae think so’ it a broad Scottish accent definitely was)

We have to admit to getting lunch at McDonalds that day, mainly as I was tired, hungry and not in the mood for being adveturous! We also popped into the Lucky Beer pub to take a break and do some people watching on Khao San Road. What a change from Japan to see so many tourists and Western faces!
Mo's Singapore Sling - Interesting glass!

To make up for our very touristy lunch we went to a Thai place for tea called May Kaidees (No that isn’t just another way to say Maccy Ds!). May was the owner of what was a Thai cooking school and restaurant and made everyone feel very welcome in the small restaurant. The menu was all vegetarian so while Mo was in her element, I was struggling to find something that appealed between the cashew nuts, mushrooms and Tofu. In the end I opted for deep fried seaweed which was very nice, however not very filling! Mo had curried tofu and veg with brown rice – a very plain sounded dish that Mo absolutely loved, to the point she now says its one of the best meals she’s ever had!

The second day in Bangkok we planned to head to 2 of the main sites, the National Museum and the Grand Palace.

Because everything we wanted to see was pretty close, and every form of transport looked pretty hair-raising we walked everywhere we went in Bangkok. The downside of this was the humidity and heat was much more apparent, so we were glad to make it into the air-conditioned National Museum. It is split up into various areas and buildings housing different parts of the country’s history.
Entrance building at the National Museum Martin in front of one of the pavillions

While we were in one of the larger building which housed gold, thrones, weapons and musical instruments, we noticed it started to rain…a lot! Typically this was just as were getting finished in this part of the museum and were planning on going outside to head to the next area. We got to the front door to see a proper tropical downpour outside, so we decided to hang around a while to see if it would ease off. It didn’t.

After waiting quite a while we made a run for a small area in front of the next building that was open but had a roof, and got pretty soaked in the process. We then sat there for over half an hour and watched the rain continue, and get even heavier! I’d honestly never seen rain like it before, and it showed no signs of stopping so in the end we had to brave it and run/slide/wade our way round to the cafe on the other side of the building we were in – we were soaked through! (Not so good for Mo in her white linen trousers!). Safe to say we sheltered in the cafe for a while and had lunch while we dried off.
Martin modelling the drowned rat look

After that we had a look at the amazing carriages used for Royal funerals – some of them were over 11metres tall, and all very shiny and gold!
Mo beside the funeral carriage

By this point the rain had stopped so we headed up towards the Grand Palace – gladly the air was much clearer so it was a bit more comfortable.

We already knew that the Grand Palace had a strict dress code of trousers and nothing more revealing that t-shirts so Mo had brought her pashmina to cover her shoulders etc as she was in a vest top. However that wasn’t enough so we had to join the large queue of tourists waiting to borrow an appropriate item of clothing! Mo had to leave a 200baht deposit for her lovely shirt
Mo in her borrowed shirt at the Grand Palace

Unfortunately that combined with the fact the entry fee was much higher than we had thought meant we didn’t have enough cash on us so Mo (reluctantly) returned her shirt and we decided that the Grand Palace would have to wait for another day.

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