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Trip report - first time in Bangkok - long and rambling - sorry

Trip report - first time in Bangkok - long and rambling - sorry

Jan 23rd, 2006, 04:23 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Trip report - first time in Bangkok - long and rambling - sorry

On a recent trip to UK from Australia for Christmas my 15 year old son and I stopped over in Bangkok in both directions. I consider us more tourists than travellers and this was our first trip to Thailand. We had great fun. It was a challenge getting a mix of activities that suited both of us, but we succeeded even though some may be regarded as gimmicky by others. My son is a great kid but is no culture vulture, there was a limit to how much history he could absorb in our 6 week trip. I didnít want him to turn off before we even got to UK. I felt totally safe in Bangkok and was surprised how clean everything was especially all the toilets, not one bad experience (we had a few horror experiences in Malaysia a few years ago). The Thai people were absolutely charming and made us feel very welcome. We mostly used taxis to get around as they were air conditioned and cheap. We had a couple of tuk-tuk rides which frightened the life out of me much to my son and the drivers amusement.
We stayed at two different hotels, the Princess Pathumwan and the Rembrandt. Both of these hotels were terrific value for money with great services, facilities and staff. . We preferred the PP because of its proximity to the MBK and the fact it had a basketball court which my son used on several occasions. He is a bit of a fitness fanatic and wanted to keep active every day. The PP also has tennis courts and badminton courts if you are that way inclined. The pool area at PP was very spacious and better laid out too. I went to the spa at PP one afternoon. It was the first time I had ever been to one and spent about 3 hours being pampered for about 1800 bht which was a great bargain. Jack had an hour long massage one afternoon which was an interesting experience for him, I probably should have warned him about the disposable underwear which was provided.
We hired Ratt for several days and this was brilliant. She is a lovely lady and was very kind to my son. She kept buying him little snacks to eat (he is diabetic so we had to be a bit careful not to overdo the fresh coconut juice and fried bananas which he loved) and provided water and diet Coke for us every trip. It was great having someone pick us up at the airport when we arrived at 1am. The first day she took us to the Grand Palace and organised a guide to be waiting for us. We then went on a klong boat trip stopping at the Royal Barge Museum. Then to Jim Thomsonís House for a pleasant lunch and finally Wat Po.. It was a fantastic day and a great introduction to the city. We were pretty tired after all that so just ate in the hotel and crashed.
The next day we had to ourselves so we explored the MBK and priced some of the things we wanted to buy. We are not huge shoppers so it was mostly clothes for my son and the odd DVD and computer game plus some gifts for relatives in UK. We loved this shopping centre and spend hours looking around. We had lunch at the food court which was very cheap. In the afternoon we headed for the weekend market. we did not really enjoy this much, it was too hectic for us and we could not see anything more that we had seen at the MBK. We had teppenyaki at the MBK and had another early night.
An early start on day 3 as Ratt took us to the floating market. It was very pleasant drive and after the market we went to a wood carving studio before heading to the Tiger temple. This was my sonís idea and he thoroughly enjoyed it. I wasnít as impressed, maybe I am just being cynical. It seemed to me that the tigers were very lethargic or drugged. They did not show signs of life except they were breathing! Anyway Jack and I both petted tigers and he was very happy about that. A long drive back to the hotel with stops at a couple of food stores to buy Thai goodies which we ate over the next two days. That night after dim sum at the MBK, we went to the Night market and the puppet show at the Joe Louis theatre. The show is only in Thai, but if you read the synopsis of the plot from the programme beforehand it is very easy to follow. We both enjoyed it. The market was OK, but again we could not see any bargains compared with the MBK.
Last day before 10 pm pick up for the airport. We used the pool for a couple of hours and my son played basketball before we headed up to have lunch at the Central Chidlomís Loft food court which was fantastic. It is the best food court I have ever been to. Every sort of taste is catered for. Upon entering the dining area, you are issued with a card with a bar code printed on it.. All you need to do is to select the food of your choice from any of the stalls and produce your bar coded card for scanning. It really is that simple and highly efficient. You pay as you leave. We had some barbeque pork and duck dishes, plus drinks and desert for less than 400 bht. We could have eaten here for every meal and not got bored. For the rest of the afternoon we wandered down Rama I road looking in the shops and went to a movie in the Siam Discovery Centre. Dinner at MBK before being picked up by Ratt for our drive to the airport.
On the way back from UK we only had two nights in Bangkok and one full day so Ratt took us to the Samphran Elephant Park. It was great fun. We had the obligatory ride on an elephant and a good lunch at the restaurant before the shows. We enjoyed all three shows. Crocodile wrestling, magic show and elephant show. We both thought the whole thing was very well done. On the way back to Bangkok we stopped at the Rose Garden and saw the cultural show. Again we were pleasantly surprised as most people tend to bag this place. The fact my son sat through the whole thing without complaining was a plus for me. We watched the elephant show here and did a bit of shopping before heading back to town. Had dinner at the hotel and packedour bulging suitcases.
Final shop next morning at the MBK before heading home. I think the reason this shopping centre appealed so much was because Jack could go off on his own with his own money and buy stuff without me worrying he would get lost. We just met up every half hour by the lifts. He bought a ton of stuff for next to nothing (he said he bargained, but Iím not sure he did). All the 100 bht T-shirts have been through the wash with no colour runs and no shrinkage plus the DVDS and computer games work fine.
We would both visit Bangkok again and be a bit more adventurous in exploring this city. Ratt had some great suggestions for an overland trip to Chiang Mai for our next trip! I just have to pay off my VISA following my trip to UK, but that is another story.

marthagrif is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2006, 04:34 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
Martha
I enjoyed reading your report. Thanks for taking the time to write down your adventures.

I have not stayed at PP but I do go to MBK a lot when in BKK. I was just there yesterday, as a matter of fact!! And you are right about the bargains there.

Glad you had such a good time. I'm sure you will return to BKK.

Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2006, 05:58 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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great report...glad you liked bkk and now you will return often as we all do...
rhkkmk is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2006, 06:42 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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I always enjoy reading people's first impressions of Bangkok. I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for sharing.
Kathie is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2006, 06:59 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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Thanks for the report!!
LA_FadeAway is offline  
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