Category Archives: Thai Food

last days in Bangkok. 8th Dec 2016

Its the last few days. Who would believe that 10 weeks has gone so quickly yet memories of India seem a life time away.

We still hear from some of the gang (mainly through Facebook) who are still traveling but inevitably some have dropped off the radar.

Given this is perhaps our 4th or 5th visit to Bangkok we’ve done all the usual tours, most of the ‘Wat’s’ the reclining Buddha and the palace so there hasn’t been a lot of must do stuff left.

We walked down to Asiatique on our first evening, mainly because there is a place there that does great BBQ Ribs and i was in need of some meat.

Since we’ve been away our diet has changed considerably. Not only have we eaten much less meat, but the portions have also been drastically reduced and we now find we don’t need so much food to fill us up, which is a bummer cause we took a breakfast included package here at the Chatrium and it has plenty to tempt you.

The first morning I slipped and had Canadian Bacon (like English Back Bacon) with my Fried Egg’s, French toast and a sausage. By the end I could hardly walk and i felt pretty uncomfortable for the rest of the day.

Since then Ive started with porridge (yeah i know, with all that choice I choose Porridge) and this morning i followed the porridge with Sushi.

The rest of that day was spent lounging around the pool area. It was a bit overcast but still warm so it was a nice temperature to sit out.

Tuesday we caught the water taxi (Tourist boat) from Sathon Pier up to Pier 10 (Wang Lang) and visited Wat Rakan Kositaram. (40 Baht each).

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It was much like any other Wat but it gave us a reason to take the boat. Then we caught the ferry across the river for 3.5 Baht each and walked past Wat Pho the temple of the reclining Buddha and down to the flower market. Pak Khlong Talat. This would have been a great photo opportunity had we arrived earlier but at this time of day they were clearing things away and many of the flowers had gone.

Then we hopped back on the Tourist Boat and retraced our steps to Sathon where we caught the Hotel water taxi for the final leg.

Wednesday was quite interesting as the Hotel was being transformed.

Firstly they were putting up the christmas decorations which consisted mainly of foliage and flowers with some very pretty ornaments mixed in.

Secondly they were setting up the patio for a Sikh wedding. This was a very grand affair which took over the whole out door space along the river.

From 1400hrs we could hear the music and we were attracted down to the pool area where we could watch the celebrations. There was a full stage set up and each guest (or rather each group of guests) were expected to get up on stage and dance to a particular song or tune.

Interestingly they were announced as .”Friends of the bride. Cousins twice removed. People from the village”. They would all clamber on stage in their finery, get in position and when the music started, strut their stuff. Interestingly the music would suddenly stop, mid way through and that lot would be ushered off before another group took their place.

The bride and groom witnessed all the action from a little tent set up right in front of the stage.

All the men mean time, were busy eating and chatting and they all seemed to have worn very brightly coloured Turban’s for the occasion.

We didn’t go out that night. Jaki went down to the 7 Eleven and bought some toasted sandwiches, peanut’s and a few doughnut’s and we listened to the music and watched the water traffic.

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At about 2130 we led on the bed and watched some TV on the laptop before nodding off. There are two perfectly good flat screen Tv’s in the apartment but we’ve been following a few series from home which we recorded on the computer.

This morning (Thursday) were both suffering from a bit of constipation which is strange seeing as we’ve spent the last 9 weeks darting from one toilet to another.

So we wanted to find some thing to do that didn’t require too much walking.

We decided to take a Long tail Boat trip through the maze of canals that criss cross Bangkok.

Our starting point was Sathon Pier where the touts are always gathered trying to sell this trip to tourists.

We agreed with the first one to approach us that we would take a one hour trip and we would pay 500 Baht each rather than the 800 he had asked for.

When we got to our boat there was already a guy sat in his seat so we were obviously sharing.

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Jaki and i tumbled into the boat which sits in the water well below the dock side and there is nothing to hold on to. Once in we were joined by two Indian Guys who got out again at Pier 9.

We were all encouraged to put our life jackets on and I was glad we did as the conditions were pretty choppy especially when the driver opened up that big engine.

Once we had dropped off the two guys we crossed the river and sat patiently waiting for the lock gates to open.

When they did, 6-8 Longtail’s emerged from the lock like spears all jockeying for position. We and another 5-6 boats went in and after a short time we were deposited out the other side.

The ride around the canals was interesting primarily because you see a side of Bangkok that is often missed. We took plenty of pictures, saw what the driver said was an Alligator but which might have been one of them Giant Lizards we saw at Lumpini Park, as well as shoals of fish.

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We did stop at one point and a guy waded out to us and offered to sell us Beer. When that didn’t work he tried selling us souvenirs, but we resisted.

So I’m now back at the Hotel catching up with the blog for the penultimate time.

Tomorrow we check out of here and check in to a small hotel near the airport which offers free shuttle bus.

I shall miss the Chatrium. I shall miss Bangkok. I love just walking round it (often completely lost) and just absorbing it. I shall miss the anarchy and the humour. The traffic on the river which is fascinating. Eating by the side of the road and sitting out late at night when its still sweatily hot.

Our flight home is at 1115 hrs so with a fair wind, we should be back in Bristol later on Saturday evening.

I hope you have enjoyed following our adventures as much as we’ve enjoyed living them.

I think 10 weeks was about right but I’m looking forward to getting home.

I miss Georgia terribly. Im looking forward to catching up with mates, seeing my sister and preparing for Christmas.

Any longer and we just wouldn’t have the stamina to continue.

The packing and unpacking has driven Jaki mad.

The organising of flights and accommodation has been far more stressful than we’d expected.

Some of the accommodation has exceeded expectations where as others have left a bit to be desired.

I have given honest feed back on all Hotel’s to bookings.com when we booked through them and Ive also tried to review hotel’s, restaurants and attractions on Trip Advisor when ever possible.

But like the blog, these are only snap shots of a particular moment in time and I know other travellers have had totally different experiences.
Jaki summed it up quite nicely.

This has not been a Holiday it has been a series of experiences.

I hate to say it, but I think she’s right.

 

NB: there are Videos on You Tube if anyone is interested. 

Samed Pavillions Resort. 18th Nov 2016

On paper I should really like this hotel.

It is reasonably priced at THB 20,047.50 for a week thats THB 2863. per night (or about £68) which is well over our budget and something we wont be able to repeat very often.

It’s in a good spot just off the beach.

The room’s are clean and comfortable (if you ignore the pillows which are rock hard) and the air-conditioning which is either on or off) a reasonable size and there is sufficient space to put things down, which is often lacking in hotel room’s.

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Typical room .

But  for some reason, i just haven’t taken to it.

When we arrived there was no help with the bag’s, the staff all seem to congregate around the reception area, which is also the dining area (they advertise a restaurant but there isn’t one. They do serve food but it’s eaten in the reception area or on tables around the pool).

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vanishing Restaurant

There are a large number of staff on duty at any one time, including four people behind the reception desk, and at least one at the travel desk next to it, where you can presumably book activities but its primary function seems to be to provide a surface for staff to lean on. But they aren’t Customer focussed.

I don’t quite understand how they expect to know a guest has arrived from their vantage point at the Travel desk when the Taxis stop at the front of the Hotel, a long way away. So there is no possibility of them being able to greet anyone.

This seems to be symptomatic of the culture of the Hotel.

Breakfast is from 7-10am but they start clearing away at 0945. So, if you go down a bit late you are likely to find yourself surrounded by activity as they hurry to get the breakfast stuff moved and return the area to its original condition.

Toward 0945 food starts to run out and its not replaced (unless you ask one of the staff for it, then they will go and get more) plate’s are no longer available and the tables around the pool start to vanish. Yesterday Jaki got up from the table to get more Coffee and when she returned her table was gone.

It’s like they cant wait to get rid of you. This is the only time I’ve seen the staff animated.

The breakfast, (as is often the case with help yourself buffet style) is a ‘Bun Fight’ with pinch points around the popular item’s (Bacon and Sausage seem to be the most popular with all visitors) and a volatile environment of hostility around the toaster.

Yesterday the two slices of toast I put in were taken by some one else whilst I went for butter and Jam and today an English guy with a pony tail pushed in front of me to serve himself some sausage’s.

The Egg’s are fresh cooked at a separate table out on the terrace but they keep running out causing a minor queue. They also rush to try to keep up so the fried egg’s are often served up broken or underdone. The Omelette look’s good but I’ve not been hungry enough to have the patient’s to wait for one to be cooked.

There are a lot of  heated Tureen’s with strange combinations of rice or noodles and this morning there was Spaghetti Bolognese which didn’t prove very popular with anyone!

In reality they try to cater for every taste and maybe they are trying too hard. Gordon Ramsey would say, cut down on the menu and deliver better quality.

I think he may have a point.

NB: Since writing this I have discovered a book in our Hotel room promoting the Hotel Restaurant which is called ‘JEP’s’ which aparently has internationaly recognise cuisine. However, we have been unable to find this restaurant and beliee it is no longer operational. WE will continue to search.

They don’t do decent English Tea in Thailand (at least not in Hotel’s or Restaurant’s). The best you can get is a Lipton’s Tea bag which is weak and insipid and tastes of fag ash.

So we bought decent ones in a supermarket in Bangkok and use them.

There is a big electric tea urn for hot water but its never turned up full. At best you get hot water rather than boiling but usually it’s no where near hot enough to make a cup of tea as they keep topping it up with jugs of cold water.

The staff here aren’t particularly friendly, they don’t make an effort to speak if they pass you by, they don’t make eye contact unless necessary and they tend to stay in groups talking amongst themselves rather than engaging with guests. I haven’t had a joke or a laugh with anyone so far which is surprising as the Hotel staff to date have been great.

There may be a management culture at the bottom of all this.

Their default position seems to be one of mistrust, which would explain the need to have a 3000 Baht cash deposit for damages to the rooms?

This perhaps explains why the Air con remote control is glued to the wall by the bathroom rather than left on a bed side table where it would be useful at night.

There is a note to guest’s in our bedroom headed.

“Welcome To Samet Pavilions Resort.”

It’s hardly a welcome notice though.

It lay’s out the following charges for any guest who dares to breach the rules.

1000Baht per hour surcharge for late check out till 1700hrs then a full day rate.

3000 Baht fee if guests smoke in the room.

2000 Baht fee if guests allow pets in their room.

300 Baht fee for loosing a towel.

In the event of loss or damage, guests will be charged accordingly.

Wifi is supposed to be available in each room but we have found it very difficult to access and even then it isn’t a strong signal. We found going to one of the beach bars and using theirs was a better option.

The TV has a selection of channels but picture quality is poor though the TV in the Main reception (the one the staff watch) has a perfect picture.

The Pavilion doesn’t have sun beds on the beach (as most of the other Hotel’s  do) which means an additional fee to rent a sun-bed from some one else.

These are in short supply, primarily because during the day the tide has been high and there is little dry sand to put a chair on. Most of the beach is washed by at least one wave capable of floating away a stray flip flop.

We’ve taken to walking around to the next beach where for 50 Baht you can rent one of the oldest deck chairs in existence.

They are falling apart with bolts sticking out of them and frequent running repairs are needed throughout the day usually to accommodate rather large Russian guests.

But, they are surprisingly comfortable, offering a rather Bohemian way of getting a sun tan, well at least on the front. You cannot lie on them so theres no way of tanning your back other than by lying on the sand.

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There are a range of restaurants which are all on the beach. Most offer the same selection of meals.

The bigger Hotels Like Samet Villas (Not to be confused with our accommodation which doesn’t offer any eating  on the beach) look very enticing.

Nicely lit by coloured lantern’s, clean table cloths and candles.

There is a BBQ item on the menu which allows you to choose your fresh sea food and they will cook it for you whilst you eat a salad starter but the portions are small and I’m not sure how good a deal this is.

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Lounge bars but beware the Happy hour sting

Others are old wooden tables weathered by the sea with paraffin lanterns that spew out a rather noxious smoke that I’m sure isn’t good for you but does keep the ever present Mosquito’s at bay.

Im not sure whether these rustic venues are any cheaper than the posh ones though?

I dont think the quality of food isn’t really any different.  Its all about the ambiance. If you want a pretty environment to eat in, you pay for it.

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We haven’t found a proper Bar yet.

We did try walking up the beach last night and we stopped and sat at two different places but no one came to serve us so we got up and left. So drinks are a bit expensive and you have to be careful of the Happy Hour deals which might not be as good as they seem.

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You are basically a captive audience, you take it or leave it as theres no where else to go which means the management of venues can afford to be sloppy.

Guess thats the price you pay for staying on a less commercial Island?

I’ll keep you updated.

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Watching the moon rise, a highlight

Bangkok to Samet. 15th November 2016

Struggling with pathetic Wifi signal here at Samet Pavillions so Ill have to add pictures later.

We decided to travel to Koh Samet because the weather here has been better than any other Island in Thailand. It appears they have a micro climate which keeps it dry and warm when every where else is horrible.

So we took a Taxi from the Chatrium Apartments to the Eastern Bus depot ( Ekkamai) in Bangkok, and bought two tickets for the ‘Big Bus’ to Ban Phe which is where the Pier for the Ferry to Samet departs.

There are different Buses available (including an express Bus) and Minibuses so our research got a wee bit complicated but the BIg Bus has space for suitcase’s (whereas the Mini buses don’t and you have to pay for an extra seat for your suitcases) plus they have an on board toilet.

When we got to the bus station there were several booth’s (desks or counters) with the name Samet (our destination) emblazoned on the front. Im assuming they will all take you to the same place but some are the Minibus providers.

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However, BIG BUS is clearly labeled as you go through the front doors on your left hand side.

I did approach the Information desk and ask for some sort of clarification but the lady didn’t speak much English so Im none the wiser.

We bought two return tickets to Samet and two return ferry tickets from Ban Pae Pier to Na Dan Pier for 780 Baht which seemed a reasonable price?

We were told our bus left from Gate 9 so we sat there and waited. There were plenty of Cafe’s and snack bar’s available so you wont go hungry and its not a threatening environment so you wont feel nervous either.

After a while we were allowed to load our bags into the locker on the side (which we obviously didn’t do properly as a lady came along and did it again later)  and then board the bus.

We sat in the wrong seats (check your ticket they are numbered) and had to move but  all the seats have good leg room, recline really well and I found them extremely comfortable. I slept for two hours and only woke up when a lady needed to sit in the window seat next to me.

I hadn’t expected additional stops but there was one at the end of Sukhumvit Rd, another after an hour and a half then one more pick up and two drop offs. Whether these are scheduled I don’t know as they were all used by locals.

The air conditioning is a bit fierce and I suggest carrying a blanket or scarf so you can cover up to avoid the worst of the drafts. The nozzles are adjustable but you cannot dictate what a fellow passenger will do with their jet of air and you may find it coming straight at you.

There are no luggage racks in the bus so you keep your bags with you or put them in the space at the back of the bus but then you cant watch them.

I didn’t check the toilets which I should have done as a good travel writer but during our trip no one used them.

We arrived at our destination after 3 1/2 hrs drive which is within the 3-6 hours estimated depending on traffic.

The coach dropped us in a car park and we had to walk across the road and through another large car park where we could see the entrance to the Pier. Ticket’s had to be produced or bought at a Booth and there was a Lady Boy trying to sell Hotel accommodation.

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Walking up the wooden pier was a bit awkward with our suitcases as the wheels kept catching between the planks and had to be partly carried. No one offered any assistance and it seems to be that Porters appear and snatch your bags from you only when they aren’t needed but there are none to be seen when its hard going.

Once at the end of the Pier I decided I needed the toilet so I made the walk of shame back down the pier and across the car park where I paid a lady 5 Baht for the privilege of going into a shit hole.

Literally.

This toilet was a hole in the ground with a bucket of water and a jug.

Now I’m not prudish but my knees don’t bend that far, so I was forced to sit on the floor with my Bum over the hole.

Not very dignified but needs must.

Luckily I came armed with hand wipes and liquid hand wash as the taps failed to deliver any water and the soap decanter had long ago been vandalised.

So what was I paying my 5 Baht for you might ask?

Well, bugger all really.

Back on the pier we were told to board a ropey old wooden boat that didn’t really look sea worthy (and probably wasn’t) if put to the test.

But These are things you have to accept when traveling like Taxi’s with no seat belt’s and drivers who can drink a can of coke, text and pick their nose whilst steering a cab, all at the same time. 

So between us we managed to lift the suitcases down the steps and up over the side of the boat where they were stored for the 40 minute trip to Samet.

It was quite pleasant, the sun was shining, sea blue and there was a cool breeze. It all seemed so idyllic.

When we reached the pier on the other side we were met with some rather strange statue and a much more modern port than I’d been expecting. 

Pulling our bags we were stopped from leaving the port building by a Lady who simply Pointed.Following the direction of her well trained and honed finger there was a Booth where we were expected to buy a ticket each (20 Baht) to:- “Help restore the Pier”

This was the second rip off of the day.

The first was when we tried to get some money from an ATM only to find that all ATM’s in Thailand now charge 200 Baht for the privilege of drawing your own money.

Except Citibank’s which don’t charge and there are three of them in Bangkok, one on Sukhumvit Rd.But we didn’t have time to go there before catching the bus so we paid.

The charges made by my ever helpful bank (Lloyd’s) are mounting up and I might do a separate rant on that later.

So we ‘helped restore the pier’ and then found a Taxi to take us to our hotel (which was maybe 5 minutes drive away) for 40 Baht each. This required us sitting in the back of a Toyota Pick up truck with 5 other people and our bags.

We’ve travelled like this before in Thailand. The secret is to sit up straight, that way all the shocks are managed, slouch and your spine will snap in half!

Sting number Three.

Because Samet is classed as a Nature reserve The Government charge each tourist 200 Baht to come here. So we were stopped by four men  dressed in military uniform at a checkpoint on the road and they demanded payment. The family from Nepal who were sharing our Taxi didn’t understand and refused to pay until I explained and then they reluctantly paid up.

At our Hotel there wasn’t a porter to be seen so we managed to drag our bags up and down several sets of steps and along miles of covered walk ways to the reception where swarms of porters immediately tried to grab our bags for the 3 metres journey across pristine tiled flooring to the desk.

At check in we were surprised to be asked for a 3000 Baht deposit which I was told would be returned to me when we left, if there were no breakages or loss (apparently the loss of a towel will cost me 300 Baht).

If I paid in cash they would return this amount upon departure, however  if I used a card, they would not return it for 2 weeks? 

I wasn’t best pleased with this, they had my credit card details, they had photo copies of our passports why would they need a separate amount for breakages. This is the first Hotel to ask for this in nearly seven weeks.

I suggested this wasn’t in Bookings.com contract but she produced a copy of the on line site and sure enough, hidden in the small print there was indeed a reference to having to pay this amount, though it didn’t explain about the delay for using a credit card.

We had of course no choice but to pay the amount in cash but I’m Still not happy about it.

Our room is quite pleasant and we will, Im sure be comfortable here.

The Hotel itself seems quite nice though the lay out is obscure. Like there was a crease in the initial drawing’s which have caused it to be spread out over different levels.

It’s advertised as 40 metres to the beach and I would say its less than that from our room. Walk past the Pool (not as big as the promotional photo’s suggested) down a ramp and your on the beach, which is a cove.

Walk along the headland a few metres and there is another cove. This we think is repeated all around the island.

There are beach bars along each cove, though they aren’t the hyper trendy types we found in Danang these are tin and thatch shacks with old home made wooden tables and chairs.

Mozzie repellant burners smoked away gently under each table adding an incense smell to the evening. There was the sound of music some where in the distance, people were having a few beers after a long day on the beach. The sun is starting to disappear behind the palm trees (were on the East side of the Island) and the sun beds were being replaced by white plastic tables and chairs outside the more expensive hotels and complexes. 

There were lots of Bungalows which are for rent along the beach front, from wooden shack’s with tatty curtains and a hammock on the porch to very modern  brick build affairs which I suspect cost a fortune.

Each is tucked into the undergrowth shaded by palms.

After a quick drink, we returned to our room and changed into our swimming costumes with the intention of having a late afternoon dip, but we got distracted by a bar that had sort of, soft lounging mats on wooden platform’s.

This looked inviting and the offer of ‘2-4-1’ happy hour persuaded us to stop for a drink.

We watched the Moon come up over the Ocean, it was beautiful. I was almost forgetting about all the Mishaps of the day. Starting to chill.

Two white wine’s were ordered (150 Baht each) and although they were apparently South African they tasted like Retsina from Greece. 

The happy hour deal we were told was for every two drinks purchased we got a third one free. So we were surprised to be presented with a bill for 900 Baht when we decided to leave.

When we questioned this the waiter told us that white wine wasn’t included in the happy hour offer.

Reminding him that he had told us otherwise on at least two occasions he said. “OK” and charged us 600 Baht.

That little encounter over we went back to ‘Our Beach’ and chose a table where we ordered some food. Jaki had the best Green Thai Chicken Curry and I had some Grilled meat with about a ton of lettuce.

A whole allotment supply of greens on one plate, none of which were eaten.

When we paid up we tried to put the meal on the Hotel bill but apparently this was Samet Villas and we were Samet apartments so we had to use yet more of our cash.

It seemed best to call it a day, we know when were beaten so we slipped off to our room where Jaki started her nightly Mantra before i had even cleaned my teeth.

At least there are some things you can rely on.

Exploring Bangkok. 19th October 2016

It’s my late Brother Andy’s  Birthday. Andy, I wish you could be here sharing this with me.

We’ve been to Bangkok a few times now but there were, we were sure places and things we hadn’t seen so this was an opportunity to put that right.

The plan was to get up early and get out. It went wrong at that point.

Neither of us set an alarm, so we didn’t wake up until 1100 hrs and by the time we’d farted around it was going on for 1400hrs.

We decided to explore using the SkyTrain (BTS).

Our local station on the Sukhumvit line (North to East) Nana is about ten minutes walk away so we set off for there. When you get there you can purchase ticket’s at the Booth or from a machine.

The machine is relatively simple. You know which station your in (in our care it was E3 and then you find the station you want to get to, in this case it was Siam) and along side Siam there is a number. That number is the cost of travel one way in Baht. So you put 30 Baht into the machine, choose two tickets and they come out the bottom, simple. Then at the gate you feed the ticket into the machine and it opens the barrier, you collect your ticket and your on your way.
AS long as you are on the right side of the platform heading in the right direction its fairly simple.
It gets complicated when you change from the Sukhumvit line to the Silom line ( Which runs West to South) at Siam which we did, purchasing a further ticket from there to Bang Wa.

Why Bang Wa you might ask?

Well, for some reason we thought China Town was there, which it obviously isn’t.

What we didn’t realise is there is a third way of getting around Bangkok which is the Metro Line (MRT) which is an underground train system.

If we had caught this and gotten off at Hua Lamphong  (the last stop) we would have been in Chinatown. But, we mistook the Silom line for the MRT when we changed at Siam and ended up at the end of the wrong line in Bang Wa.

There is nothing at Bang Wa, trust me so we planned to turn around catch the train back and start again. Then, we saw a tourist information centre and decided to seek advice.

This wasn’t the best decision we’ve ever made.

The lady running the information booth spoke very little English and apparently hadn’t heard of China Town (its called some thin like Bo Ana in Thai). She gave us a map that must have been drawn by Hannibal Lecter on a bad day as it proved almost impossible to read. She told us to go out of exit 3 and catch Bus 7.

Like Lemmings we followed the crowd of people down the stairs to the street below where we wandered around aimlessly for about 15 minutes before conceding we didn’t even know what a bus stop looked like.

Beaten we made our way back up the 6 flights of stairs  (which is hard with your tail between your legs) to the information booth to ask again for help.

Once again we were pointed in the direction of the exit and told to find the number 7 bus.

Before tackling the stairs again we decided to have one more stab at the map and whilst we were doing this the Lady from Tourist Information came and tried to help. We gave her the map and asked her to point to China town. This was a bit hard so we gave her an easy one.

“Where are we now”.? We asked.

There was a frantic session of head scratching, muttering under breath and general filly-bustering before she admitted, she didn’t know. This didn’t bode well.

However, her advice stayed the same. She was adamant we catch the number 7 bus and she asked us to follow her, she would lead us to the bus stop!
In reality we would never have found it in a million years. It was about 500 metres along a busy road and the road work’s had destroyed any semblance of a pavement, it appeared to be a building site we were crossing.

But true to her word, eventually there was a bus stop and not long after she left us, the number 7 bus arrived. Well, the blue number 7, the one without air conditioning (the red number 7 has air-con).
So we hopped aboard, paid our 20 Baht and settled down for a two hour ride from hell through Bangkok’s Rush Hour traffic. We were in fact retracing our journey back toward the centre of Bangkok but this time at a snails pace, in a cement mixer with toxic fumes.

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Magic Bus Bangkok style

Eventually the conductor (they still have them on every bus and every water taxi) told us to get off, we had at last after 6 hours travel, found China Town.

Well, not exactly.

We were clearly in a Chinese neighbourhood but it wasn’t the place we were looking for so we started to wander in the hope of seeing some thing that would lead us in the right direction.

It was at this point that we had a ‘Women from Venus, Men from Mars’ moment.

Given neither of us knew:-
A. Where we were.
B. Where we were going.

Any direction would have been a reasonable decision. Left and Right became irrelevant, we were just wandering aimlessly. Except that my aimless was apparently in completely contrast with Jaki’s aimless, the wrong direction.entirely  At every junction, if I went left Jaki would go right, if I kept straight, she would turn off.

In danger of a domestic we asked a Tuk Tuk driver where China town was and love him, he pointed down a road and said ‘five minutes’.

And it was.

We had been missing it by a ‘Gnat Nudger’ at every step.

Once we got there, the lights and the atmosphere were obvious. You just couldn’t miss it!

By now we were in need of a drink and we saw some Chang bottles in a fridge in an alley so we stopped and asked if we could buy a bottle?

This was clearly some sort of Cafe, though I use the term loosely as there were tables set up  but motorbikes were driving between them.

We didn’t care, we just wanted a drink.

Our request seemed to start a minor dispute between two ladies which we think revolved around whether the bottle of Chang lady A was going to give us was cold enough. Lady B didn’t think so and there was a bit of Argy Bargy which only made us want any beer at any temperature, desperately.

Once the dispute was settled we were given two frozen glasses one with some black stuff in the bottom that I think was a dead Ant and we sat there in heaven drinking and watching the activities of people who call this they working environment.

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Jaki was fascinated by the food being prepared at the end of the alley (more a viaduct really) so she went down and watched the lady at work.

The dish (fish on one plate sprinkled with a sort of crispy dust that was a bit spicy and topped with fresh coriander plus a bowl of clear soup with rice in it) looked so good we decided to try and the lady made it for us fresh in about 5 minutes. Served with a bowl of soy sauce and two sets of chops sticks and a spoon we were left to get stuck in. The secret was to pick up a piece of fish, dunk it in the Soy and then stir it into the soup. the combination of flavours was fantastic and the soup became increasingly flavoursome.

The total cost of this and two large beers was 320 Baht.

Opposite, a trader was doing roaring trade in selling Durian Fruit which stinks to high heaven but is in such demand that his stall almost ran out before we left the cafe.

We strolled through the streets amazed at the lights and the vitality of the place until we came across another road side cafe doing a roaring trade in BBQ Giant Prawns. So we sat down and orders a plate full which were served with two different flavoured chilly dips. They were beautiful and cheap too. At Rick Stein’s you would have to Mortgage your house for these babies.

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We walked some more but by now we were tiring and at last we gave in, flagged down a Tuk-Tuk and let the driver take us home for 300 Baht.

What a great day.

 

Thai Massage. 3rd Jan 2016.

We were the proud owners of a Free Thai Massage courtesy of the Christmas Eve prize draw.

Jaki and Georgia had already experience the full Thai massage and were less than impressed.  It was they said, a bit Physical. I don’t know if its true but i was told the CIA were looking at Thai massage as an alternative to Water Boarding.

So we’ve been putting off taking advantage of our ill gotten gains but as this was our last full day, we knew we would have to bite the bullet and get it done.

Jaki went off to the office to book a session for 1700hrs, that would leave us a clear day on the beach and then a massage before we went up and got ready to go out.

When she came back she looked a bit sheepish before telling me we had won two free thai massages and not one as we’d thought, so we were both booked in for a session. However, she had negotiated some changes.

She was now having a Foot Massage and i was having a Head Neck and Shoulder job.

Our friend Sabina (the German lady) had extolled the virtues of the head massage so it didn’t seem too daunting.

Come the allotted hour we made our way gingerly to the massage tent and met our therapists. On the surface they looked rather small and diminutive, though looks can be deceptive.

I was told to lie on my stomach and the lady immediately started digging her thumbs into the soles of my feet. I don’t think i screamed but at that time i was ready to confess to any crime.

She then moved up my body giving my legs a bit of  attention.

Given this was a Head and Shoulders Massage she expended an inordinate amount of time on my Bum, which she exposed for all the world to see by whipping down my trunks in one practiced movement, exposing two large mounds of Pink flesh like a Blanc Mange Bicycle stand.

This obviously offended her so she attacked it with a  vengeance, using her elbows and one foot.

She then spotted my back and considered this too an offence to Buddha, so she proceeded to rub this with the palms of her hands which were like two Industrial Surforms.

She was using an oil (advertised as Coconut) to lubricate the skin but i think she was cutting corner’s. The stuff she used must have been stolen from the kitchen as it smelt of Roast Chicken.

It was like getting a massage from Jamie Oliver after he had prepared a 5 Bird Roast.

Luckily this onslaught came to and end and she moved her attention at last to my head and neck which she twisted and prodded until it went where she wanted it to go.

I wasn’t particularly unhappy when the whole thing came to an end.

In comparison to the free meal we’d had the night before (courtesy of the New Years Eve Gala Dinner) which was excellent. This was a booby prize. It didn’t compare to the foot massage I’d had on the beach by one of the traders, which was gentle and very relaxing.

So we decided to treat ourselves to a last meal as compensation.

A couple from Manchester recommended a Restaurant called KOB Thai which was a short walk from the Hotel but out into the country side. It didn’t take long to get there but in the dark the walk was a little precarious and we had a few near misses with the scooters. Suggest using a taxi which would be very cheap.

It was worth the effort though. The venue was beautiful with tables set up on raised platforms around a pool that was available for a swim had we brought out trunks.

Sadly we had forgotten to pack a camera phone so i have no pictures however, this place is on Trip Advisor so I’m sure I will be able to Google some images to add later.

We chose the set menu for two which introduced us to a range of Thai dishes and including a carafe of very nice wine this came in at well under 2000 BHT.

We walked back to the Hotel and found Frank our German friend and his wife Sabina drinking in the Mariner bar opposite. So we had a fare well drink with them before heading back to the room for our very last night.

At least for now.