Thailand – short stop in Bangkok
Stayed: 4 days
When: 18 March – 22 March
Accommodation: 3 star hotel with a rooftop pool (or two we later found out).
Our introduction to Thailand was at the Aranyapratet / Poi pet border. Crossing from Cambodia is slow and confusing. Whatever mode of transport you take to reach the border in Cambodia does nothing to change how you pass the two customs checkpoints. You will depart your vessel and gain no insight whatsoever from this point until you meet your transport on the Thai side. So for the next two to three hours you will walk for a kilometre, past a hotel in no-mans-land, markets, trucks, cars, beggers and some uniformed men who will do nothing to assist you apart from point in the direction of Thailand, up some stairs into the sweltering foreign checkpoint and out to an unmarked waiting point.
To make our crossing even more interesting we were met by Thailand’s border crossing crooks who wanted to remove us of more money before letting us travel to Bangkok.
- Wat Pho temple. The reclining Buddha is very impressive but equally striking was the number of signs posted all over it telling us that ‘pickpockets’ were present and to watch our personal belongings.
- City tour – oh that’s right we started one but our tuk tuk driver dumped us at Wat Pho, never to be seen again???
- Chao Phraya River Cruise – If you approach any of the stops located along the river and ask about a cruise, you will find one. There is absolutely no need to go through your hotel or a tour agent for this.
Food – we love our Thai food and could not wait to get to Bangkok.
- Chicken skewers – easily the best we have tasted
- Pork skewers on the side of the road – they were cooked right in front of us and came with packets of sticky rice
- Pad Thai – this dish is available every five paces as you walk along Rambuttri or Khao San Road. Stalls pre-cook the noodles and have all ingredients ready for the hungry traveler to purchase and eat on flimsy chairs or take away to eat at any of the pop-up bars.
- While bars are not food they deserve a mention. We saw some of the most creative pop-up bars both in Rambuttri and Khao San road. They open about 5pm and close when there is noone left drinking. We sat at one near our hotel and laughed when three Canadian girls were shocked that they couldn’t order water. The staff told them to get one from the 7/11 behind them and return to drink it.
- Grabbing a bargain was easy at the markets in Khao San Road. We purchased a tropical pair of thongs for our youngest daughter and two travel neck pillows.
Best experience as voted by the whole family:
- Touring the canals was really the only thing we did and it was only slightly better than swimming in the hotel pool, as voted by the kids.
Worst experience as voted by the whole family:
- Eating insects – strange, funny and awful all in the one.
Would we go back?
- We want to explore the country more but would skip Bangkok. The location we stayed really isn’t for children but we are sure there is plenty to see and do for youngsters elsewhere.