Three nights in Bangkok
Returning from Chiang Rai on Saturday, on Sunday Sally and I went with Nicola to her friendly, English-speaking Church – Chaengwattana Community Church in Nichada Thani, Pakkret, Nonthaburi.
It was refreshing to join in worshipping God with familiar songs, despite being thousands of miles from home. Yet another reminder, if one was needed, of how small the world is. After the service, following tradition, we went for lunch at the local Mexican / American / Thai restaurant.
Following an excellent meal (the food over here has been wonderful – I suspect the scales will confirm that when I get home) we walked to the main street to spend three nights in Bangkok.
Once we had found a taxi that would actually take Sally and me to our “guest house” in Bangkok (they are very choosy), we set off. We didn’t have to worry about him finding the right place and check-in was very easy. Not so the two flights of stairs – I wasn’t used to taking my shoes off before climbing wooden stairs yet. But taking shoes off and putting them back on is a skill that is required if one is to start out on the Wat trail. (I should probably explain that Wats are Budhhist temples and, as a Christian, I was respectfully visiting them as tourist attractions.)
Our Guest House was opposite the Wat Pho (pronounced What Po) so we decided to make that the first on our agenda.
The decision to leave the Reclining Buddha to last was fully justified; the queue had disappeared by the time we arrived around 5pm.
I was impressed with the length of the icon at 46 metres but I see there is one in Burma 182.9m long. I don’t think we saw all the Buddha statues at Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn (Wat Pho’s full name) – there are around 1000, I gather.
Next on my agenda was an evening with a boating friend from the English Canals; he is working in Bangkok for 12 months. I managed to find a taxi that would take me to the “Wictory Mon-u-ment” (there is no V in Thai, so explaining my destination was not easy) but I broke the first rule of Bangkok taxi finding and agreed an inflated price, as he refused a fare on the meter. (We found it almost impossible to find a taxi driver near Wat Pho that would would accept a fare on the meter – as obvious tourists we were waved away several times.) However, this time entertainment and education were included in the price! And my trip home after an excellent evening was “on the meter”.
On Monday morning, an early start meant the queue for the Grand Palace was minimised, though the eccrine glands’ production wasn’t.
Even in the shade it was very hot and humid. I had forgotten to bring a bottle of water but didn’t fancy drinking out of a shared cup chained to the drinking water taps – another lesson learned.
The Palace is a large estate and I was very glad to have Sally as my guide as she had visited before. It’s an extremely impressive place – I suspect my photo count will be very high, but my poor wi-fi and tablet at the condo doesn’t make that sort of thing easy.
A rest in the afternoon prepared us for another highlight – an evening out at the Siam Niramit Cultural Show. I won’t go into detail in case you might want to see the show but I will tell you it’s set on the stage which features in the Guinness book of world records.
Before a buffet, all-you-can-eat dinner we toured the village but the show was amazing. Cameras, however, are banned during the show – they have to be deposited before and collected after.
On Tuesday, we took yet another taxi, to the Jim Thompson house.
Another ‘Lord Lucan’, American collector Jim Thompson disappeared while on holiday to the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia but he left behind a little oasis of significant memorabilia.
Just behind the houses was the canal. I naturally had to take a picture of the canal taxi and had to restrain myself from shouting “slow down – breaking wave”!
Some souvenir purchases followed, together with window shopping at the nearby MBK shopping centre. The food hall on the 6th floor was incredible value. In the evening, I joined my friend again for a burger and fries meal(!), this time using the SkyTrain to travel. Afterwards, I returned to the guest house by underground and tuk tuk.
Our final visit, this morning, was across the ferry to Wat Arun, my favourite temple, I think, with its sparkling white towers.
Thence we caught the river taxi boat from Bangkok to Nonthaburi and our penultimate taxi to my condo.
Now I am looking forward to seeing the children again. I don’t look forward to having to say goodbye on Friday. I’m glad to have had a good report on how they are, from Nicola.
This was a very sketchy report, I know, but if anyone is thinking of visiting Bann Fueng Fah orphanage with 1Step2Step, I hope it might give you some ideas if you want to combine it with a trip to Bangkok. I’m actually posting it back in Lancaster as I had no success with the condo wi-fi in Thailand this time.