April 22-26, 2016
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A short one hour flight on Nok Air from Hanoi, Vietnam and we landed in Bangkok, Thailand. A city that we have heard “just get out” or “you will love it or hate it”, we debated avoiding it all together. It did not take long to figure out that after coming from Vietnam we were going to love the refreshing change. We jumped on a bus from the airport to get to the metro line. It was organized and easy to find. As we drove down the freeway, vehicles appeared to obey the typical rules of the road and there was an incredible feeling of calm in a city with over 8 million people. It was instantly apparent, no honking! Drivers used blinkers, they actually let people in front of them, there was a courtesy we never saw in Vietnam and it was soooo awesome! We concluded that folks who did not enjoy Bangkok clearly did not just arrive from seven weeks in Vietnam. Bangkok was going to be like enjoying a piece of cake … a triple chocolate overdose fudge cake with chocolate raspberry butter icing.
We jumped on the metro to get to our hostel thirty minutes away (Bankgkok is huge). The metro is spotless. Folks are standing quietly. Folks are smiling. Folks let people get off the metro before rushing to get in. I was falling in love and Christine was just happy that she did not have to deal with a grumpy old man. A young (28yrs) lawyer on the metro started a conversation with us. He was intrigued we were traveling for so long with just our “small” backpack. He was bored with Corporate Law and was finishing his final week of work and then thought he would try some extended travel – we hope we inspired him to just do it.
Equipped with a metro pass, our two feet and a map we found Bangkok to be a breeze to navigate. The heat was brutal, but there was shade to be found under trees or in the shadow of a building. Ice cold drinks in an amazing variety were everywhere we turned.
Naturally, Bangkok has everything. The biggest surprise? Krispy Kreme Donuts … complete with a line longer than we have ever seen at the local Tim Horton’s back in Canada.
A mall we stopped at for air conditioning ended up being the coolest car dealership experience I have enjoyed. This mall had Bentley, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, BMW, Ducati (I LOVE Ducati), McLaren and even Mini. I saw a seriously cool Mercedes wagon (ultimate Sport Activity Vehicle – everyone knows I LOVE my wagons) that we will never see in Canada. Sob.
Most of the dealerships were behind sealed glass walls so that the rif-raff from the mall do not smudge the paint jobs. I believe I choked out loud when I learnt that a $30,000 Canadian (Cdn) Mini Cooper S would cost me the equivalent of $102,565 CDN in Bangkok. A heck of a deal, my $29,000 Cdn Ducati Dioval would only set me back $40,000 CDN. Cough.
I will never complain about the price of vehicles in Canada again.
Bangkok has some seriously cool Wat’s (Buddhist monestary or temple). We saw the largest reclining Buddha at Wat Pho while melting in the sweltering heat. We experienced the eerie life likeness of Buddha statues. Temples with Buddhas too many to count. Probably the coolest experience was entering a temple during a ceremony where monks were offered gifts in exchange for blessings. We sat on the floor (with toes pointed away) listening and mesmerized by the chanting while receiving a blessing (soaking of blessed water) from the abbot (head monk).
The best deal in town? Buy a $0.75 boat pass and ride up and down the Chao Phraya River. The boat ride takes you past Wats, orginal homes on stilts before the monstrous highrises moved in, shopping districts, coffee stops and parts of the local University. The boat ride also provides fantastic views of the sunset.
Our time in Bangkok was just three days. Long enough to see what we wanted and short enough before our opinion of Bangkok became tainted or soured.
Mark and Christine
Sample Expenses in Bangkok, Thailand (Currency is Thai Bhat, 1$ CDN = 27.4 Bhat). All expenses in Baht unless noted
- 9 Baht ($0.32) McDonalds cone
- 13 Baht ($0.47) 1.5 L water
- 50 Baht chicken at the market
- 17 Baht ($0.62) 2 bananas
- 158 Baht ($5.75) 2 6″ Subway subs
- $25 CDN @ Sleep Dee Hostel – with only an oversized towel for blanket!
- $296 for 2 NOK Air flights from Hanoi to Bangkok
- $0 for 30 day visa on arrival