Bangkok – Back To Where It All Began

Hua Hin umbrella thief!
This little Hua Hin guy tried to steal my umbrella!

Back in Bangkok for our last few days, we have a couple of outstanding things on “the list” to see & do before heading home. Since it was close to our hotel in the Sukhumvit district, we decided to take in Soi Cowboy in the daylight hours & returned the next evening to check out the action! This very short street/laneway or ‘soi’ as they are called here, becomes a red light district after dark, is home to over 40 bars & is one of Bangkok’s most visited tourist attractions, it’s even listed on Trip Advisor! The soi is named after T. G. “Cowboy” Edwards, a retired American airman who opened one of the first bars on the street in 1977. A tall African-American, Edwards got his nickname because he often wore a cowboy hat. Relatively tame during the day, it becomes a neon lit, go-go dancing party-land, catering primarily to the lonely hearted!!!

Soi Cowboy daytime
Soi Cowboy daytime
Soi Cowboy after dark
Soi Cowboy after dark

Victory Monument is a major landmark & the transportation hub for most public buses & vans. The skytrain also has a station here, making it very easy to access the various districts throughout the city or hop one of the vans to beach towns, e.g. Hua Hin, or areas outside the city such as the Maeklong Market. Needless to say we are quite familiar with this area now.

Victory Monument
Victory Monument
Skywalk Victory Monument
Skywalk Victory Monument

The Maeklong Train Market, known as the world’s most dangerous market, was an experience we didn’t want to pass up. Build in the early 1900s in the town of Maeklong, about 80K from Bangkok, this busy railway line has a one of the busier Thai markets built alongside & on the rail line. The market is very large, taking up several streets & has been a fixture in Maeklong long before the rail line was ever built. Several times each day, 7-days a week, the whistle blows with a flurry of activity following. Vendors remove any awnings, quickly move their stalls, produce & wares to make way for this slow-moving train chugging its way through the market. Within minutes of the train passing, everything is back to normal, stalls are rolled back out with seemingly little casualties. Quite the experience to say the least & truly amazing!

Treating ourselves, we headed to one of the top 20 rooftop bars for sunset drinks & dinner. Bangkok at dusk is just beautiful & becomes magical as darkness descends upon the city. Our 47th floor rooftop view on one of our last nights in Bangkok will be one we’ll remember for years to come.

Bangkok - 47th floor view
47th floor view of Bangkok

Our final day in Bangkok was a day of ‘lasts’ such as that last delicious bowl of soup you can find on almost every street corner, enjoying the predictable sunshine & heat, hopping on the skytrain to explore a new district, people watching, discovering unique & interesting artwork, a foot massage after walking miles, etc., etc.

Hard to believe we are heading home & by the time you read this we’ll be well on our way. Our whirlwind tour of Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia & Myanmar was thoroughly enjoyed, our only regret is that we didn’t wandering to these far reaching places years ago. We’ve already started to ponder where well end up next year. Again, thanks for travelling with us, it’s been a blast!

❤️Adios Asia 💋

The Big Mango Revisited

Bangkok! This pulsating city with its throbbing sea of humanity is Asia’s most cosmopolitan cities. We have more than filled our 4-days here & have walked until we dropped.  We have seen & experienced magnificent temples & palaces, taken the river boats on the canals, visited busy markets & have had a little glimpse of the vibrant nightlife. Spending a day or two does not do it justice, so here we are back to see the sights we didn’t have time for last year.

Although the city has two distinct areas, the old & new city, it is split into 50 districts. Our hotel is very central & we have also been using the skytrain to maneuver our way throughout the city.

Points of interest have included Jim Thompson House. This historically significant house, assembled from six traditional Thai-style houses, was built by the infamous CIA operative Jim Thompson who revived the Thai silk industry after World War II. It is beautifully  maintained with stunning Thai artwork & jungle-like gardens.

What would a city be without a China Town! Cramped & crowded, the main thoroughfare is lined with towering neon signs, shops of every kind & description spilling out into the sidewalks. After dark is comes alive & has some of the best street food in Bangkok. Getting there was half the fun as we maneuvered our way through back lanes with ramshackle housing only to stumble upon beautiful temples.

The Grand Palace, former residence of the King, is not just a palace, but also includes Wat Phra Kaew, the most sacred temple of Thailand.

It feels like we have walked a thousand miles & have seen most of the sights that were on our list. Needless to say a visit to the biggest market in Bangkok, Chatuchak Weekend Market, an incredibly vast, 35-acre indoor and outdoor market with more than 8,000 vendors selling anything and everything under the sun. To put that number in perspective, if you browsed every stall one minute each, non-stop for eight hours on every Saturday and Sunday, it would take you around two months to visit them all!

We are headed to Kanchanaburi, about 2-3 hours west of Bangkok next.

NOTE: double click on the pictures to get the caption.

 

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