Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Big Mango

I flew down from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and met my parents coming in from Glasgow. After a short wait we managed to meet up and get a taxi to the hotel in the midst of Bangkok spaghetti junction. Situated between roads, flyover, tolls and trains.

The first night we headed out for a stroll around the hotel, lurking underneath a bridge stood the dark mass of an elephant. In Thailand they are sometimes taken round pubs where patrons can purchase bananas to feed them. Headed along Petchburi road we stopped at a restaurant having some Thai food server up by an...erm flamboyant waiter.

With only 2 full days in Bangkok it was full speed ahead. Flagging down a taxi, the first stop had to be the Royal Palace. We headed inside to be confronted by the splendid grandeur of the temples. Very exotic and glitzy! Next, it was over to Wat Pho to see the giant lying Buddha, which barely fits inside the building. Round the back we dropped some 25 satang coins into the bowls, we all ran out of coins before the end of bowls.

Back outside we waited for a boat back into town, having to wait a while for the next free boat as the first boat was crammed full with people. After arriving back Taksin Bridge a nicely timed Sky Train arrived to take it back to Central Bangkok. On the skywalk we walked past the Erawan shrine, where a few dancers did a short performance. Continuing along the walk we headed out the heat into the air-con comfort of Central World. Up 6 or 7 levels, we found a Japanese restaurant for a late lunch. The rest of the afternoon was spent browsing around the huge shopping mall. A quick taxi ride took us over to backpacker central, Khao San road. Strolling down the road for a nosy, we ventured onwards to Soi Rambuttri and found a busy seafood restaurant where Dad ate more fish, Red Snapper, I opted for a tasty Chicken Matasaman curry while Mum had a spice Red Chicken Curry. All washed down with some Chang Beer, a very busy first day in Bangkok.

Next day we headed to the Marble Temple, a beautiful temple made from (yep you guessed it) marble. And a lot of gilding. The outer courtyard holding different Buddha statues from near and far.

Then a walk through the leafy Dusit area, past the European styled Ananta Samakorn Throne Hall, and eventually round to Vimanek Mansion. However as this was Makha Bucha day the mansion was closed. Not to worry another taxi ride brought us to Jim Thompsons House, where we had the guided tour round the house and gardens. And just enough time for Mum to do some shopping. Crossing over the road we headed into MBK and up to Fifth Avenue for lunch.

Diving through the maze of interconnected walkways and shopping malls we arrived at Siam Paragon. Here Dad and I went and watch Jumper on the IMAX while mum continued shopping.
Later after some navigational difficulties we made it down to the basement. Located here is Ocean World. Heading in we walked past many large tanks, the main one 6m deep. We even took a glass bottomed boat to ride on the giant fishtank (definitely weird being in a boat, inside the basement of a shopping mall!) Saw some sharks and stingray and wonderful fish, all the water and glass really clean. Enough watching fish, now for some eating. We walked over to a seafood restaurant where I tried the sea bass.

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