Bangkok the capital of Thailand
Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is one of the most chaotic cities I have ever seen, but also one of the most charming, with its contrast between very modern buildings and ancient temples, luxury reataurants and street food, very big limousines and tuc tuc.
Once arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport, we took a taxi to reach our hotel, the Holiday Inn Silom. It was pretty nice, the room was wide (this time there were three of us, because Gianni’s daughter was with us), the hall was luxury… but above all it was very cheap, as most hotels in Bangkok and Thailand are.
What stroke me most were the girls at the reception, with their typical dresses, their delicate oriental charm and the way to greet by joining their hands as if they were praying. We settled in our room, had a shower and made a couple of phone calls to confirm the trips booked from Italy before leaving. and then we went to explore this incredible city!
Just outside the hotel, we found a tuc tuc. We were so very curious and we decided to try it, we negotiated the price (here in bangkok you have to negotiate about everything), then we asked our driver to take us to Siam Square. We wanted to go to Hard Rock , because we had promised some t-shirts to our friends. In the meanwhile we chatted (in English of course) and the driver asked us if we were interested in buying taylor-made clothes.
We had never thought about such a thing, but he reassured us that we could simply visit the shop without buying anything. So we accepted his offer. We were really amazed by the beauty and quality of the fabrics, and above all by the very cheap prices; and in the end we decided to order some shirts for Gianni and a dress for me. Two young and efficient young girls took our measures and invited us to come back after two days to try the clothes on. The tuc-tuc drivers said he would come to take us at the hotel: later on we found out that he would get money for every customer he took to the shop, even if no purchase was made!
At last, we got to Siam Square, it was all lighted up for Christmas, full of Fathers Christmas and a rock music band that was playing making a terrible noise!
Once we bought the shirts, we had a walk around the shops: the prices were so incredibly low! Gianni had to fight with me and his daughter, because we wanted to buy everything.
Then we had dinner in the most unexpected place in Bangkok: an Irish pub, where we had fish & chips, a beer and then back to the hotel!
The Floating Market
The day after we left rather early to go Damnerm Seduak Floating Market, we got on a boat and we had a panoramic tour; those houses on the river were absolutely beautiful. Each one had got its own little temple, and in the thick vegetation we saw some tourists riding an elephant… yes, that was the Thailand I was dreaming!
Il mercato galleggianteWhen we got down the boat, at last i could start shopping and negotiating; I bought a lot of things, shorts, shoes, hats, gadgets… I found out I was very clever in dealing with locals and I enjoyed very much doing it. There was a man with an elephant puppy, I bought some food for it and I loved a lot feeding it, especially when it tried to steal the food from my hands.
The guide told us it was time to leave, we got on the bus with our bags and boxes and we went to the restaurant. The place was very nice, it was just on the riverside, we enjoyed chatting with other people more than the food. In fact there were two Italians who didn’t speak English and two Brazilians that spoke it very well!
Our next stop was the Tiger Temple. I really wanted to see that place! It is a temple of Buddhist monks who breed tigers, there was the possibility to be near them and even touch them. About ten tigers were in a place called the Canyon, they were chained, very quiet while lying on the red sand. There were some boys who took us near the tigers and took us pictures. I must confess that it was a great emotion to be near so big wild animals, it seemed as if we were caressing big cats. The brochure we got when we arrived there stated that the tigers are not doped, but I am not so certain… And in fact we met one of the monks with a very very young female tiger, she was so beautiful but she had a strong temper, so we weren’t allowed to touch her. She wasn’t certainly doped.
While reaching the exit, we saw other animals, some deers, goats and a bleck bear; it was rather far and we couldn’t see it very well. We ended our day with a visit to the Bridge on River Kwai, the one that was celebrated in a famous film. Really disappointing: first of all the bridge is not the same of the film (of course, because it was completely destroyed). Moreover the place was crowded, while we were walking on the railway a train arrived, very slowly. Everyone was afraid of being run down, but nothing happened… nay, someone threw us some candies while the train passed.
When we came back to the hotel we had a shower and we had dinner in the hotel restaurant: it was a huge Christmas buffet, there were a lot of tasty delicious things!
The Grand Palace
The morning after we took it very easy, we had nothing in particular to do until the afternoon. We only had to go to the clothes shop to try on our clothes with our tuc tuc driver (by then we considered him as a friend)! We were very satisfied of our purchase. After a quick lunch, we left for the visit to the Royal Palace.
It is a real wonder; we enjoyed it a lot in spite of the hot weather. It isn’t easy to describe it, but I loved everything: the buildings with the coloured roofs, the elephant-shaped bushes, the little bells hanging from the roofs that sounded even with the wind. It seemed to me as if I was inthe movie “Anna and the King”.
But what fascinated me most was the “Emerald Buddha”, in the Royal Chapel: unfortunately you cannot take photos of it, and you cannot go very near.
When the visit was over, we made a panoramic tour of the city and we stopped in a huge jewelry shop; there, they sold almost everything, from precious stones to gold and silver jewels. The shop assistants were very friendly until they understood we were not interested in buying.
Bayoke Sky Tower
The program for the evening was dinner at Bayoke Sky Tower, the tallest tower in Bangkok; it hosts a hotel and a restaurant at 83th floor. A limousine came to take us with a very silent driver. The traffic was terrible so it took us about 45 minutes to get there. A waiter took us to the restaurant and to our table; a huge buffet was waiting for us. I really cannot say how long the table was, but the choice was fantastic! Just being sitting at our table, we took photos of the city from above, but they were not so good because of the window pane. When our meal was over, our driver led us up to the upper floor; we were in the open air and we could enjoy a breathtaking view of the city!
Coming back to the hotel was not so difficult, because the traffic had by then lessened very much! As soon as we entered the reception, a very kind lady informed us thare was a parcel for us: our new dresses! They had really been very fast, especially considering they had worked on Christmas day to be on time with the delivery!
Last day in Bangkok: we went to visit temples, a lot of temples! All of them are very beautiful. But I must say the one that amazed me most was the temple that hosts the Golden Buddha. It is a huge golden statue of a lying Buddha; and when I say huge, i really mean that! It is 46 m. long and 15 m. high. Considering its dimension, you can’t see it all together; you have to walk starting from the head and go down to the big feet.
In the evening, after dinner, we packed up… and it was not so easy, because we had bought a lot of things. Then to bed early, because the day after we were leaving for the beach! Our holiday was not over yet!