Situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya river, the origins of the now bustling city of Bangkok can be traced back to the 15th century Ayutthaya Kingdom the precursor to modern day Thailand.
A trip to Thailand can be a varied experience depending on ones interests. From a very rich cultural history to pristine beaches to a vibrant nightlife, there is a whole spectrum of things one can do in Thailand. In any tour of Thailand exploring the primate city of Bangkok is a must.
‘A’ had to give a talk in Auckland in December 2019, we thought this provided a good opportunity to stop on the way in Thailand. We had a week to spend and had to decide between spending more time in Bangkok, or head South to the beaches or North to Chiang Rai, we decided to have a more relaxed stay in and around Bangkok. An excellent guide on where to stay can be found at nerdnomads.com. We decided to spend some time in the more cosmopolitan Sukhumvit and then really get to know the city in the older Riverside area.
We stayed at the Rongratana Executive Residence in Sukhumvit, the apartment was very nice and clean and the staff very helpful. After checking in we rested for a while, then had a quick lunch at The Hen and The Egg before heading to Lumpini Park, this lush green here is very welcome relief from the surrounding concrete. There is a central lake, with boating facilities, a running track and a small temple. D was quite taken in by the statue of the Buddha there. We had some excellent Thai food at the Ninth Café. The next day we lounged around at the Sindhorn Village across from the hotel, went to Lumpini Park in the afternoon and the headed to Center World Mall in the evening.
We moved to the Theatre Residence in the Riverside Area the next day in the Sriraj neighborhood, the hotel is a walking distance from a huge temple complex Wat Khrua Wan. Riverside seems to be the heart of the city with the many historic temples and buildings on the backs of the Chao Phraya River. We took a boat tour the next morning, stopping to visit Wat Arun, Wat Phra Kaew and the Royal Palace. This took up a large part of the day, towards the evening we stopped at the Yodpiman Pier for a leisurely stroll and dinner. Dinner was at the Mango Tree restaurant, both the dishes and the view were delightful, we topped it off with some good coffee and desserts at Me Chocolate and Nut a quaint café on the Riverwalk. Since we had missed the last boat home, we took a stroll through the flower market and caught a taxi back to the hotel. The cab ride itself was bit of a challenge as our pronunciation made communication hard, thankfully a passerby was able to translate the directions and we made it to the hotel. The following morning we spent sometime at the Wang Lang market near the hotel, before taking a water taxi to ICONSIAM a huge mall on the waterfront. Got a few items we needed from the variety of stores including a very decent bookshop on site. Had some really good Chinese food at the Hong Bao restaurant. We spent quite some time at Sooksiam on the ground floor of the mall, had some coffee and sandwiches and watched the dancing fountains with D found to be an absolute delight.
We had booked an early morning taxi to Hua Hin a three hour drive from Bangkok. As we had decided to spend more time in Bangkok and were not headed to the more popular beach resorts, Hua Hin was a compromise, a resort not too far from Bangkok. The cab driver was a jovial fellow, although the language gap made conversation a little difficult. We had rented out a condo in the Ban Sansuk complex a couple of miles outside of the Hua Hin near the Khao Takiab beach. Besides the beaches, vibrant night markets are another attractive feature of the city. There is a big night market in Hua hin along with a weekend ‘Cicada’ market just outside the city. The condo was very nice with access to the beach, unfortunately it turned out that the high tide during December makes the beach inaccessible from here and one needs to go to Hua Hin proper to access the beach. The night market was fun to explore with its various street vendors. We stayed for three days before heading back to the Rongratana Suites in Sukhumvit, Bangkok for a day before flying out of Thailand. Our first trip here has convinced us that we need to be back and explore more of a country that has much to offer. Until then ……. ลาก่อน