12 November 2008

Another Day In Bangkok

Yesterday (Tuesday) we started the day at Wat Arun, which is the third of the big Buddhist sites after Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho. It's not quite as striking as the other two sites but it's still worth a visit as you can climb about half of the way up the 82m high prang to get views back across the river to the rest of Bangkok.
The buildings and temples here have an unusual look from up close as they are decorated using broken porcelain which was used as ballast in Chinese trade ships.

Some monks on the way to the temple . . .

We then caught a boat downstream and headed for the Silom district which is the financial heart of town. Right next to the pier from where you disembark the boat is the original Mandarin Oriental hotel. Once again we put on our best posh act and waltzed in to make the most of the 5 star ambiance with a cocktail at the riverside veranda.
Just down the road form the Oriental is (another!) bar called Sirocco. We had seen a lot about this place before as it often crops up in the Worlds best bars lists. The big wow factor is that it's on the 64th floor, giving great views of the city (and beating our 61 floor altitude record for the Macau Tower). Unfortunately we soon came down to earth with a bump.
Upon exiting the lift at the 64th floor one of the bar hostesses informed Liz that she would not be allowed in because her foot ware is too scrubby! Oh the shame . . . I won't let her forget this one in a hurry.
We instead ended up at a place called the Sky Garden, only a mere 20 floors up but still with great views of the city. Unfortunately they were accompanied by some rather ropey keyboard playing and out of tune singing thanks to a local band who were playing.
We continued down to the far end of Silom to Patpong. Bangkok's most infamous red-light district, home of the go-go bar and ping pong show. You can barely walk 10 paces without a tout approaching and shouting "Ping pong show" repeatedly at you. Before you ask . . . no we didn't . . . I'm more of a badminton man myself.
It's not all sleaze though. There's a fantastic night market selling all types of knock-off stuff like fake watches, clothes, bags, shoes and jewelry. They even had fake Tiffany stuff complete with the presentation box and bag. That's where I got Liz's wedding present. We had a very entertaining evening in Patpong sat at a pavement side bar watching the touts, hawkers and punters.

Today we are going to have a bit of a quiet one as it's a holiday in Bangkok due to the Loi Krathong festival that is taking place this evening. We'll be going down to the river with the locals to see an illuminated boat parade. We also get to set off onto the river some small lotus shaped boats made out of banana leaves illuminated with candles. It should look really pretty.

Tomorrow night gets us back into something more macho as we will be going to the Ratchadamnoen Stadium to see some Muay Thai (Thai Boxing).

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