Once we said our goodbyes to Cambodia it was time for some touristy downtime in Thailand. As we didn’t have much time before our flight back home to London we decided to spend a few days in The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn – also known as Bangkok! As we haven’t had a holiday for a while I was really looking forward to some hardcore Bangkok sightseeing!
I’d never been to Thailand before but as soon as we landed in Bangkok, I noticed the city was very different to Phnom Penh. The airport was massive and filled with designer shops, and instead tuk tuks we had the choice of taking a bus, taxi or even a train to the city center. I hadn’t seen trains in over a year as they don’t operate in Cambodia, and I hadn’t realized before how massive Bangkok actually was. All these impressions, the lights, the noise, the cars, tuk tuks, mopeds and the millions of people were a bit hard to take in at first. I just wasn’t used to this hustle and bustle anymore, having spent a year in the relative peace and quiet of the charming Phnom Penh. And then I saw Mc Donald’s. Pah. The epitome of capitalism and personification of greed and unhealthiness. So what was the first thing I did? I bought a filthy cheeseburger. Yep, I know. Shame on me, but I just couldn’t resists this Western temptation which reminded me so much of home.
Wat Arun is also called the Temple of Dawn (whoever she is) and is on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. You can only reach it by taking a boat across the river. The temple itself is really steep and the steps up it are therefore very steep too. After some huffing and puffing and a few cramps we reached the top and had amazing views over the Bangkok skyline – a definite highlight of our little Bangkok sightseeing trip.
|Come back you|
Wat Pho is home to the famous reclining Buddha and is one of the oldest and largest temples in Bangkok. The reclining golden Buddha is 15m high and 43m long. He illustrates the passing of the Buddha into nirvana and was quite an impressive site. It is a definite must on a Bangkok sightseeing tour I think.
No visit to Bangkok would be the same without going to the (in)famous Khao San road. Made famous by the book and later film, ‘The Beach’, it is now still the place for backpackers to hang-out in cheap hostels, eat cheap food, buy souveniers, get Bamboo tatoos (ouch!), massages and party. But being as old as we are, which is ancient compared to those ubiquitous gap yah students (apologies to those early twenty somethings who are paying for their trips around the world with their own hard-earned income), we opted only for a bit of shopping and dinner, and left the partying to the youngsters.
Where to stay:
There is an endless amount of hotels to choose from in Bangkok, whether you prefer budget, mid-range, or luxury hotels. For me, it is the luxury hotels that really stand out in Bangkok though. The S31 Sukhumvit Hotel in the heart of Bangkok for example is a luxury hotel with many suites overlooking the pretty Bangkok skyline. The Nasa Vegas Hotel is a four-star hotel with gorgeous rooms, perfect for relaxation after a busy day of sightseeing. The Grand Swiss Bangkok is a contemporary hotel in downtown Bangkok with great facilities such as fitness centre or a pool – just in case you went a bit heavy on the Pad Thai.
All in all I actually liked Bangkok and would like to go back to discover it a bit more and do some more Bangkok sightseeing one day…
Have you done sightseeing in Bangkok? What are your favourite sights?