I will tell you about our trip to Thailand. We toured much of the country visiting the most typical places like Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. To travel to Thailand as a tourist for a stay of less than one month, no visa is required. It is only mandatory to have a passport valid for 6 months. Not only has it been a different trip for the destination, but also in terms of the preparations.
Normally we plan the trips well in advance, but this time there was no way to book anything with time because up to three weeks before we did not know for sure that we could go, and that was the time we had to organize everything. We took a travel insurance that included cancellation and health insurance.
The long-awaited day of taking the flight to Thailand arrives. We board the direct flight to Bangkok. For the first time we flew on an A380, the largest plane that exists, with two floors, the upper one destined for first class. We had never flown in an A380 and the experience was magnificent. It is the plane where I had more space for legs in economy class. There was wifi, and the entertainment system on board was great.
We took advantage of to sleep a little and at 13:25 local time we landed at Suvarnabhumi Bangkok International Airport. We collected suitcases and we went out to get a taxi. Once we arrive in that wonderful country we meet the guide who take us to the hotel. We had chosen hotel in the Silom area because of its proximity to metro and sky train. It is 12 in the morning so there is time to get to see that wonderful city.
We check in at the hotel. The room was large, the bathroom was right, the beds comfortable and the wifi powerful, although the furniture was already very old. We have wonderful views from the room although we did not have time to see the pool. But the main problem with the hotel was that it was in the middle of Patpong, one of the nightlife areas of Bangkok. So in the weekend it was very noisy.
Once set we have a quick shower and we decide to go shopping. The shopping centers of Bangkok are magnificent, modern, luxurious and of course at a much higher level. There are conventional shopping centers called Siam Discovery and Siam Center. Further east is the Siam Paragon, the most luxurious shopping center in Bangkok and throughout Thailand. Inside there are luxury boutiques, car dealers such as Maserati or Lotus, the Siam opera and the Siam Ocean World, the largest aquarium in Asia with more than 30,000 fishes.
Following the street is the Central World, the largest shopping center in Southeast Asia, with 8 floors, parking for 7,000 vehicles, a convention center and a hotel. In front of the Central World there is one of the few pedestrian spaces of the city where there is a colorful food market. Other nearby shopping centers that we do not visit are Central Chidlom and Terminal 21.
We go to the MBK Shopping Center. It is a kind of flea market inside a shopping center with hundreds of informal stores and stalls in the corridors that sell cheap and low quality items. Here we eat at a Thai restaurant and we go into the shopping center.
There is everything we can imagine and that is when I go crazy and do not know where to go to buy. There are clothes of all brands, footwear, handbags, watches, personal computers, video cameras, photo albums. The sight is a madness for women and a great stress for men, who no longer know in which hand they will put their partner's shopping bags.
It does not take too long to get tired and we want to relax for a while, taking a beer anywhere. Between shopping and bargaining (always with a smile on the lips) we buy shirts of all brands, watches, and some long pants. We went around the center to see what we could buy the next day, before we left we went into the supermarket area and bought something for dinner at the hotel, in addition to a few bottles of beer for after dinner.
We took a taxi and go back to the hotel. Upon arrival we wanted to swim in the pool. It was a great treat to bathe at night with those views. After another shower, we feel more relaxed, and have dinner before going to bed.
The poor alarm clock must have sounded on time but we did not hear it. We had breakfast with what little we found ready, of pancakes with delicious bananas. The driver come to pick us up at the hotel to go for the tour. The bus is where we meet the people with whom we will do the circuit (from the first moment we had a good time).
We find people who stop to ask where we are from, plans and others, to give us useful advice. Many of these people do so with the intention of sending us to jewelry stores and other stores. Some told us to visit the Lucky Buddha temple and they wrote us the name in Thai on our map.
We went to the area of the Grand Palace. When arriving at the great palace it turned out to be closed for some celebrations. So we decided to visit Wat Benchamabophit, built in marble and relatively modern, and the Wat Intharawihan, where is an imposing standing Buddha. At noon, we returned to the palace area, which should have opened. Then we went around the royal palace and we had the chance to see the changing of the guard.
The Grand Palace, built in the eighteenth century, consists of a complex of buildings that include the former royal residence, the temple of the emerald Buddha and various buildings used as government offices among others. The most impressive area is Wat Phra Kaew, where the famous Emerald Buddha is located.
This temple is in turn a labyrinth of temples, chedis and Buddha sculptures and mythological beings to each more spectacular, especially for the brightness of its colors, since most of it is covered with small colored crystals and gold leaf. Here we began to realize the wonders that the country and the Wat Phra Kaew temple with emerald Buddha offered us.
Outside the palace, but next to it, is the Wat Pho temple complex famous for being the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, an impressive image of more than 40 meters, and for its Thai massage school. In the style of the palace temples we find many buildings, chedis, sculptures and beautiful gardens.
The temple is gorgeous, and although the most famous is the impressive reclining Buddha, the largest in all of Thailand, we did not tire of going around the courtyards and other sanctuaries. It also has the largest collection of Buddha images in the country.
Right in front of Wat Pho, on Maharat Road, is a place to eat. Here I tried my first pad thai of the trip. The basis of Thai food is fried or cooked rice with meat and vegetables and rice noodles called Pad See Ew. The famous Thai Pad are sautéed noodles with prawns, bean sprouts and vegetables, although there are many more varieties.
Already full we went to another temple, the Wat Arun. We were able to cross the river from the jetty of Tha Tien without any problem. The jetty was a bit flooded, but they put some planks very well and we did not wet our feet. The Wat Arun or Temple of the Dawn is another of the most visited temples in Bangkok. The central Khmer-style tower is 82 meters high.
The mosaics of flowers and figures are made with broken pieces of Chinese porcelain that used as ballast the Chinese ships that arrived at the port of Bangkok and the Thai boats that returned after having sold the merchandise in China. We crossed the river again and decided to walk to another of the temples we wanted to see, the Wat Suthat. We really liked the mural paintings of the temple.
In front of the temple is the Sao Ching-Cha or Giant Swing. It was one of the places where a festival was celebrated in honor of Shiva. Rama VII forbade it, because the participating teams swung trying to catch a bag of gold hanging from a bamboo pole 15 meters high. Once the visit to these monuments was over, it was time to close the temples and the market next to the palace. As there is very little to do in the area, so we went back to Khao San.
This street is famous for being the backpacker's street. Here we find guest houses and cheap hotels, travel agencies, bars and restaurants with live music, a cheap clothing market, and in short a little bit of everything.
After the visit we returned to the hotel. We decided to first stop to eat at a restaurant that we get on the street. Then we went to the Chao Phraya River to take a walk through its canals for almost 2 hours.
After the tour they left us near Chinatown. So we took the opportunity to enjoy its colors and its people. We loved the bustle of the stalls, the smell of street food, the neon lights, the shops where they sold the most curious things we can imagine. Until then we had only seen the modern city full of skyscrapers and highways, but there we started to see the other Bangkok. Now there was no doubt that we were in Asia.
We see the Neng Noi Yee Temple, one of the oldest Chinese sanctuaries in Bangkok. The dragons on the roof protect the sanctuary from any external evil. I think I saw the durion, a typical fruit that they say is great (we did not taste it). Even though it smells so bad that it is forbidden to take it in airplanes, buses and some hotels. What we were encouraged to try was the street food.
Then we took a tuk-tuk and went to a night market that has a very large Ferris wheel. We reach the famous Suan Lum market (Lumpini). By the way, near the hotel there was a park called Lumphini with a statue of a Rama. There in one of the terraces we took some beers to get strength for shopping.
Already stuffed full in haggling we bought everything a little, from clothes to trinkets. As the bags weighed a lot we decided to stop by the hotel to leave them and go back to Patpong market to continue shopping. We took a walk down the street where are all the nightly shows and we laughed for a while trying not to get into the force to see some of them.
In the market we found a pub where we went to drink something. We were lucky that it was happy hour and we took a shinga beer. Then we continued with the shopping and then we went to dinner in the same market. The site seemed wonderful with spectacular views and a modern and cosmopolitan atmosphere. In the men's washroom while emptying against a glass wall I you enjoy the views of the city.
The prawn spring rolls in red curry was the best of the trip. As we were in the area of Nana, one of the famous red-light districts of Bangkok, we took a quick walk around. Here we came into contact with the lively nightlife of the city and especially with the abundant and ubiquitous prostitution of Bangkok. Several young ladies offered us their services as normally.
They also offered to attend a ping pong show, a show of doubtful taste in which some naked girls demonstrate what they are capable of doing. We took a tuk-tuk to return to the hotel (one of the best races I've ever lived). It reminded me of the taxi drivers in Egypt, of how the race would be. We arrived at the hotel crying with laughter and we gave the driver a well-deserved tip. It was time to go to bed as it was already 3 in the morning and that the next day we had another busy day.
We got up early at 6.30 and have a good breakfast at the hotel, on the terrace overlooking the river. To continue exploring Bangkok, we took a taxi and went to the Skytrain, very cheap and modern. It took us to the MBK where we keep shopping and buy a pair of shoes. Then we went to the National Stadium (soccer field). Then we went to the Jim Thompson house museum (it is worth visiting it).
In the clothing store that it has, we bought silk polo shirts and Egyptian cotton shirts. We ate at the restaurant there. Jim Thompson was an entrepreneur, architect and member of the American secret service during the World War II, who on one of his trips decided to move to live in Bangkok.
Once here, he realized the enormous quality of Thai silk and built in a few years a commercial empire dedicated to the sale of articles of this material. In the year 1967, during a trip to Malaysia he mysteriously disappeared forever. Near the exit of the house museum is the Erawan Shrine, a altar dedicated to Ganesha where worshipers are continually making offerings or performing ceremonies.
We decide to take a taxi to the Baiyoke building. We asked the driver to put the meter on and he told us that he will not put it and that he would charge us less if we stopped in a store of precious stones. We were inside for 5 minutes since he was given a commission for each client he took. We told him that we accept (we liked that he told us the things clearly).
Once the agreement was fulfilled he took us to Baiyoke. There we took the tickets to use the elevator that goes up to the viewpoint (they have a drink included in the bar). When we got up, we were amazed with the views of the city and the cameras got overheated from so much shooting. Then we went to the bar to have a cocktail and enjoy the wonderful views.
Outside the Baiyoke we find a market (Pratunam), in which we bought nothing (miracle) and went to the hotel to leave the shopping bags. We go to get a massage in the Silom area. We walk, since the distance was not much and that we could see where we wanted to enter. In the end we ended up in the Patpong, since the ones we saw on the way did not convince us.
A very nice girl gave us the price list of massages. The prices seemed good and we decided to enter. We sat in some chairs that they had in the street. They asked us what kind of massage we wanted to do. One of the girls enter and tell me that she can give me a foam massage and everything I wanted. I refuse but the girl's answer was that she did not care and continue insisting.
Finally I go in to get the massage. The thai massage the girl gave me was a joy. At first I thought that they were going to break me, but later I feel great. During the massage the girl had brushed and hinted at me. When I told her that I was not interested, she continued with her work without feeling offended. She also offers a happy ending but I say no, and she does not insist and continue with her work. I paid (tipped the masseurs).
Once the massage was given we went to the hotel to sleep a little as it was 3 in the morning. In the room we ate some nuts and some chocolate as we had not dined and go to sleep.