This post will cover a day in Bangkok by ourselves, and then the start of our next tour with g adventures, IndoChina Discovery, or ATID.
As this tour moved at a much faster pace than the other, occasionally one post may cover more than one destination now – so I’ll endeavour to not only write ‘Day such-and-such’ but also to provide a destination for each subheading!
Day 41 – flight to Bangkok
We flew to Bangkok via a rather weird route. As ever, when we booked flights (way too far in advance, with hindsight), it seemed cheaper to do it this way, and we flew to Bangkok from Hong Kong via Kuala Lumpur! We were with Malaysia Airlines, much to the chagrin of some of our friends and family members…but we (touch wood!) made it safe and sound!
It was incredibly easy to travel to the airport from Urban Pack Hostel, as the bus stop for the airport bus is right round the corner, and the bus is 24/7 (the internet was a little useless here, claiming the first bus as 6am, which wouldn’t have suited us as our flight was quite early…no, we got the information from the very helpful guy at the hostel desk!). The bus claims to have free WiFi but it took far too long to connect to be of any use on the forty five minute bus journey. Also, the bus doesn’t give change so be prepared!
Our stopover in Kuala Lumpur wasn’t really that exciting. We landed practically next door to our next gate. Here the free WiFi worked and we chilled with some snacks (chips and rather vinegar-y tomato ketchup) for a bit at a café. It was hard to find a café on the level we were on, an insane number of chocolate shops though, but we didn’t want to go exploring the airport as we didn’t have that long a gap.
Transfer from the Bangkok airport to our hotel, Bangkok Centre Hotel, was straightforward – an airport train and then the metro. Everything is signposted in English as well as Thai, and directions are clear. There’s a vague security check on entering the metro but it’s not a bag scanner – it’s an airport style people scanner only and one individual with a torch shining it in a disinterested way into people’s bags. As with China, I feel that it’s not a very ‘secure’ check again, and more of a deterrent!
I think it appropriate to mention here the intense, intense heat in Bangkok. The platforms and train/metro are air conditioned but the walks in between are not and the full force of the nearly 40 degrees (Celsius) hit us with an unexpected harshness. We had thought Hong Kong ‘rather warm’ but now realised we should have been grateful!!
The atmosphere is like a quieter India and China. People don’t shove quite as much and smile rather than stare (like, without prompting I mean – Chinese people usually smile too if you chat and engage!). There’s a lot of crazy traffic but less crowded and much less honking. Roads are dusty and as ever, wherever you see poor homes, rich skylines are usually in the immediate background – a running theme in a lot of the East!
In the evening, after checking into our hotel, we popped to a lovely little find (thanks Tripadvisor!) a ten minute walk away called River Vibe Restaurant which offered lovely river views without hefty prices. It is a little difficult to find but if you use Google maps before heading out and keep your eyes peeled, you can find it – we did. The food wasn’t bad, either – a massaman curry in actual Thailand was lovely, and excited me greatly for cuisine to come!
Note – we had been rather scared by the reviews on Tripadvisor about the hotel. We needn’t have been. The room was decent, the WiFi was great, and the staff were friendly and helpful. It might not be ‘amazing’ but it isn’t a five star, so we didn’t expect it to be.
The next day it would be time to start our second tour, Indochina Discovery, also with g adventures.
Day 42 / Day 1 of ATID – Bangkok
The next day, we had to check out and check in again as for some reason on the prior night we had managed to book a ‘deluxe’ room, which is not what was included as part of the g adventures tour.
In between, we visited The Temple of The Golden Buddha, a comfortable walking distance from our hotel.
Unfortunately, I did not realise that legs had to be covered up to enter the actual room where the golden big buddha resides and had worn shorts. I didn’t particularly want to rent a scarf to cover them or walk back in the sweltering heat to the hotel and as such, I explored the rest of the temple whilst Dave headed up to the main room. I was pretty happy doing this.
After, we dropped into a nearby café on the outskirts of Chinatown (I still felt shattered and was not up for long exploratory walks through Chinatown, as was the original plan, in the sun! And I knew we’d be returning to Bangkok anyway after the tour) where we had the very Western menu items of nachos (weirdly served with warm salsa) and grilled ham sandwiches, before heading back to the hotel to chill.
We met the group and CEO for this tour at 6pm, and it was a completely different one to our last tour. There were fifteen of us, and most people were around eighteen to twenty-three years of age, making us feel old!! In the evening we went to a local restaurant, the little kind with plastic tables and chairs sprawling out into the street, and once again, I was very happy with the food!
About two thirds of the group headed to the famous KhaoSan road but we headed back to the hotel to sleep, again reasoning that we had a few days in Bangkok after the tour, which not everybody did. Oh the other reason we headed back was also because we’d done a rather ambitious sink wash earlier in the day and we weren’t convinced everything was going to dry by the next day and so were planning on attacking difficult items with the hotel hairdryer…
Note – I may have used the word ‘tour facilitator’ in the past – the two terms, CEO (or Chief Experience Office) and tour facilitator are essentially interchangeable as far as this blog is concerned, this link explains their role within g adventures.
Next post – the border crossing into Cambodia and our experience of Angkor Wat amongst other things!
Thanks for reading 🙂