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 💋

Thwa dau mai (Goodbye) Myanmar, Sawadee Cau (Hello) Thailand

 

Goodbye Myanmar, its been sweet!

After spending another day exploring Mandalay, it was time to move on, so with Air Asia ticket in hand & a 1-bedroom condo booked for a week through VRBO at the last-minute, (we’re not big planners, needless to say), we headed back to Bangkok, then on to Hua Hin on the Gulf of Thailand. We quite enjoyed ourselves in Hua Hin last year, but initially thinking it would be good to try someplace different, we considered going to Pattaya. However we were strongly warned by several folks throughout our travels to NEVER, EVER go there! The sex industry is still going strong, (a key money-maker for Pattaya),  the beaches dirty, streets overrun with bars & overall just not a nice place to visit.

Hua Hin was initially established as the location of the summer palace of the Thai monarchy. Today the current King & Queen mainly reside in Hua Hin. On any given day you can see navy boats patrolling in the Gulf. Thai people are extremely proud of their heritage & the town offers a real glimpse back into Thailand’s history with its old colonial buildings, active fishing industry & quaint timeless streets. They are devotedly loyal to the monarchy as evidenced by the many billboard portraits of the King & Queen on almost every corner. A jail term is guaranteed if  the monarchy is disrespected, such as the recent case where a man was given a 3-year term for mouthing off about the King!

The King of Thailand
The King of Thailand

It is now considered low season in Thailand, perfect for us as accommodation costs are very reasonable, tourist traffic down, weather predictable – sunny & 33C during the day, 27C at night. Our condo is at the south end of Hua Hin & we have the option of turning left to Monkey Mountain (so called because of the monkeys that inhabit the area) & walking the fairly populated Hua Hin beach into the downtown area of Hua Hin or turning right & walking Had Sai Noi beach (aka Seapine Beach), a relatively unpopulated beach, to Had Khao Tao, a small fishing village with a temple complex at the beach end. Each direction is about 6K one way, so needless to say we are getting our daily exercise! We much prefer turning right as the latter beach is bordered by a golf course & military compound – safe & unpopulated due to the discrete military presence.

It is always amazing the interesting things found along the way, such as one funky spot, that is sooooo Martha (Bob’s sister & our ‘artist extraordinaire’). This remote area on the beach has a make-shift fence of fishing net with colourful flags flapping in the gulf breeze, item such as lighters, drinking straws, toothbrushes, stuffed animals, hats, shirts, plastic bottles, mismatched flip-flops, etc., no doubt things washed up on shore & things people have added, woven into the netting. So bright, colourful, unexpected, but such fun.  We, of course, added to the project with random things found on the beach. Another day we came upon a young newly married couple having their professional photos taken, a surf-board riding beagle & a movie shoot of some kind, with the whole crew, lights & props. Something new & different every day.

Pedicure time
Pedicure & massage time

We couldn’t pass up having a foot massage & pedicure, followed by a Thai massage one afternoon (ouch!). We had great fun with the staff at the Thai Thai Spa & when one of the girls found out we had a single son back home, she was ready to pack her bags & head to Canada with us…better watch out Mike!!!!

There is so much in Hua Hin to keep us busy as we wish, but we are also enjoying relaxing & kicking back after moving every two or three days these past few months. With less than a week left in our travels, this beach & pool time is really being being enjoyed!