After a fleeting visit through Bangkok in early September we were back to spend just over two weeks here, see some sights and catch up with some more family.
We are fortunate that Logan currently has a cousin living in Bangkok and they kindly offered us some accommodation during our travels. We couldn’t refuse such a generous offer and arrived back in Bangkok from Chiang Mai after a quick 70 minute flight via Thai Smile Airways. We arrived the day after Brad and his family had taken off on their own little adventure to Bali, so we had the place to ourselves for the first 10 days and have spent another 7 days with them so far since their return. They have a beautiful home here with lots of space and plenty of New Zealand touches that made us feel like we were back home. The boys have been able to ride the bikes and scooters, play with their cousins and their selection of toys and games and enjoy some different books.
In-between the Bangkok thunderstorms we managed to visit a few spots –
The world’s largest weekend market and just an incredibly vast amount of stalls to look around, the Chatuchak Markets are open from 9am-6pm. We tried to head there early one Saturday but the previous night’s downpours had made some of the roads nearly impassable in parts and there were plenty of shop owners in full clean-up mode trying to pump and sweep water and mud out of their shops. Our Grab ride was over an hour and a half long to get us the 15 or so kms, so thankfully the fare was fixed and it only cost us 340 THB/$13.60 NZD which also included the 50 THB/$2 NZD toll to take the tollway/highway. It wasn’t hard to decide to take the MRT (underground train) and BTS (Skytrain) for the return trip, slightly cheaper and a lot quicker than the road trip there. After arriving at nearly 10.45am we started to wander through the stalls before deciding to get some early lunch. We found a restaurant stall that suited our taste buds and budget and we enjoyed another tasty Thai meal. This is just an incredible marketplace and even after a few hours I didn’t feel like we had even seen half of what was on offer.
Khlong Toei Market
These markets were not too far from Brad and Jess’s house so we headed here one Friday to take a look around and have some lunch. After checking the location and some TripAdvisor reviews, Logan commented that we might want to wear enclosed shoes as the streets around the market and alleyways get quite wet. We then promptly forgot and all slid on our jandals as we walked out the door!! We managed to get through the fresh meat section (with some animals even still alive at that stage) without too much trouble but there was plenty of water on the ground in parts; especially in the areas where the water has nowhere to drain away. A common problem we have seen in many parts of Thailand. We found a little stall selling chicken and pork cooked over charcoal (so damn tasty) as a little snack before finding a place for some chicken rice and beef noodles – all of this for around $12 NZD and the boys were also given lollipops.
The khlong (canal/river) boats are an interesting (and very cheap) means of getting around Bangkok, but due to their minimal price they can also be very crowded. We headed to the nearest pier around 10am on a Monday and didn’t have to wait long for a boat to arrive. When we first hopped on it was pretty crowded so Braxton sat with Logan a couple of rows behind Lincoln and I. Lincoln had to start by mostly sitting on my lap but once a few people hopped off at the following stops we had a bit more room to spread out. The boats have plastic curtains along the sides that are controlled by a hand pulley that you can pull down if you need the curtain to be raised to give yourself some protection from the spray, especially if you pass another boat going in the opposite direction.A little video of riding along the khlong, such a shame about all the rubbish in the water but unfortunately you do get used to it –
After we accidentally hopped off a little early, we got back on another boat and this one wasn’t so crowded. A few more stops are we were at the end of this particular line and very close to our destination of Wat Saket, commonly referred to as The Golden Mount.
Wat Saket/The Golden Mount
As Jess had warned us, the tuk tuk drivers at the end of the khlong boat line tried to tell us that the Golden Mount was closed and they could take us elsewhere but we politely declined and walked the 200m to the entrance, which was indeed ‘not closed’. We paid the adult entrance fee of 20 THB/$0.80 NZD each and walked the 300 plus steps to the top. The staircases are nicely spread out as they coil around the man-made hill and in between there are beautiful bells and gongs. Upon reaching the top you are treated to experiencing the amazing 360 degree views of this expansive city.
Here is a little video of the views –
As the midday sun was beaming down on us we found a cold ice block to enjoy on the stroll back down the steps and headed to Chinatown to look around and find some tasty Yum Char. Which we most certainly did at Hong Kong Noodle.
Bangkok Art & Culture Centre
Many of you may know that the King of Thailand, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IV, the People’s King of Thailand, passed away just over a year ago (13 October 2016) after over seven decades on the throne. For most Thai people he was the only king they have known and has done so much for his people. The Thai people entered a year-long mourning period and they are incredibly loyal to, and passionate about, this king. We have seen numerous tributes to the king throughout the country, some large and some small, after entering Thailand just under three months ago and it’s a very interesting occurrence to witness first hand.
I saw that the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre had a few free exhibitions currently showing, so one afternoon Logan and I arranged for someone to watch the boys and we went to have a look around. The exhibitions we saw were –
- ‘Earth – Water – Forest – Air’ – The Royal Inspiration
- Remembrance of the Great King
- Through the Lens of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej
Quite interesting to get a small snippet of what this man meant to his people and the photographs that he took himself as this was one of his favourite interests and he often used it as a means to record royal projects, of which he initiated over 4,500.