Our holiday of the month was in Bangkok. After the first day of foul, humid weather, and some light drizzle, it seemed like an aircon was turned on, and we got out on our Friday morning excursion to heavenly coolness that stayed put for the rest of our stay.
I have always associated Bangkok with ‘dealer conferences’ and, being a snob, was never been tempted to visit. This time, we went to meet Krishna, hang out in cafes, enjoy spicy Thai food, and catch a few sights. Managed all, and a bonus foot massage as well, and had a jolly good time.
Our Lonely Planet cautioned us about touts at the pagodas, who would ‘helpfully’ inform us that a Wat would be shut on that day, and our time would be better spent shopping for gems. We were prepared. And approached by at least half a dozen of them! They all seemed so friendly and helpful, approaching map-toting tourists like us, and give the same spiel. One of them posed as a ‘tourism authority’ and even gave us free advice on what all we could see with one ticket, except that the monks were beginning a long fast on that day, so the wat would be shut in the afternoon, and a tuktuk could take us to see something else, conveniently located near a (what else!) reliable gems shop! There were many who pointed us in the wrong direction, for no reason ‘wat’soever, without even being solicited for help. Finally, we decided to only rely on other tourists for help, and managed quite well. After that, every plan we made we put off by saying – “Oh, that place closed today; buy gems instead” – a great source of amusement!
We did a couple of walking tours, starting with Chinatown. Typically, each frame contained all primary and secondary colours. My only regret was that we did not head to Chinatown at night to see the madness, though we wanted too. Guess that’s a good reason to head back for another visit.
One of the joys of Bangkok nightlife for us was the live bands. Krishna picked out some restaurants with good live music, and reliably great Thai food including veggie options. One of the places he chose was called Cabbages and Condoms (a public service outfit) that was also recommended by Lonely Planet. The decor seemed to focus way more on condoms than cabbages :-), but the food was lovely and so was the ambience.
Street food was everywhere, and I could have none of it (all meat, you see!), except fruit, though Souvik enjoyed himself.
For the bizarre in the bazaar, we headed to Chatuchak weekend market, and it didn’t disappoint!