Monday, January 3, 2011

Our Time in Bangkok

3 days wasn't really long enough to do all we wanted to do!! But we did do a fair bit considering we had 3 little kids :-)
Lyndon had organised the driver that took us to Hua Hin to pick us up again last Tuesday (28th Dec) and take us to our hotel in Bangkok, but unfortunately the driver's English wasn't that good and we ended up back at the airport! haha So saw a bit more of the countryside (and had an extra hour or so in the van!). Oh well ... all part of our adventures!
We stayed in this hotel, Lyndon has stayed there several times before as it's near the Thailand office of his work. So we had a couple of rooms (one for Mum and Aunty Ruth and one for us 5). It was ideal because we had a door in the corridor we could lock and then leave our room doors open so we could go in and out :-) Here's the hotel from the street ... power lines & all!

And views from our rooms out over the city.

Sorry about the glare from the window in this next pic - but I wanted to share it. The street the hotel was on was a real mix of modern buildings (hotels and other accommodation, Starbucks, etc) and also grotty little shops, authentic local restaurants (hehee), flash restaurants and then in behind it all was these run down, total disrepair houses and most of them had people living in them - complete with chooks running about too! So fascinating for us to see especially in the middle of a very very busy city. There was a house under those trees just above the middle of the pic and they had an outdoor dining table. Mum said she saw them having breakfast each morning! :-)

The Tuesday we arrived the porter at the hotel told us about a market within walking distance. So we had tea at one of the local restaurants and then walked (and walked and walked!) only to find the market didn't exist anymore! We could see where it had been, but is now completely derelict and we understand there is to be some big shopping complex going there in the future. Anyway since we had walked so far we decided to walk a bit further and check out an awesome Christmas light display at a mall, and then enjoyed an ice chocolate at Starbucks before we got a taxi back to the hotel! ;-)
Maddison loved Snow White & the 7 dwarfs display.

Aaron checking out Donald Duck.
The tuk tuks in Bangkok were smaller than the ones in Hua Hin. They only had one seat, so we needed 2 to get around :-) Some of them are so rough it's amazing they are still running! I didn't get a photo of it, but the back of the seat on this one that Lyndon, Aaron & Mum went on was nearly rotted out! (Glad it didn't give way while they were on it!!!)

Pram roped to the back of our tuk tuk.

On the Wednesday afternoon we took a taxi to visit some friends and we met up with some others from Australia and discovered they were staying at apartments on the same street as us! (imagine the odds of that!) So we caught the train back to our hotel with them :-)
This next picture was before it got REALLY crowded! At the next stop there wasn't even room to sneeze! Samuel hated it and just cried and cried - it was awful.
Wednesday night's bedtime story :-) (Thanks Nana & Grandad for that awesome book - it's been read nearly every night since Aaron opened your present!) :-)
Thursday morning ... EARLY start! We had to wake the kids up which was such a shame. (And so typical that they slept past 6.30am on the very morning they could get up early!!)
We had breakfast and then got a taxi to the floating market village which was about an hours drive from the city. Great experience ... our advice - do some google searches first and learn what not to do!! (we did our search afterwards and learnt we paid WAY to much and didn't see all there was to see! Never mind, I'd love to do it again one day and we'll know for next time right!!!) ;-)
FINALLY I have a photo of a squat toilet to show my NZ readers heheee This one is actually really clean even though it didn't have built in flush system! You had to use the dipper in the bucket of water to flush your business away :-) There was also toilet paper which was an even added bonus! (You aways carry a packet of tissues in your bag when travelling around over here - especially in Malaysia!)

Love the spelling we saw ... I didn't get photos of all of them, but we all had a laugh when we saw their "English" spelling hehee
So ... we got on our boat and away we went! The excitement was almost too much for Aaron! He was sitting up the front with Aunty Ruth! She got some great pics of his glee :-)

The place was busy! Lots of boats, lots of stalls selling stuff including complete tourist junk, lots of fruit, and a few boats with ladies cooking goodness knows what, and we saw a couple of boats with fish (and flies) and one with pork (and flies!) hehehe In the main part there were stalls both sides of the canal. At a squeeze you could fit 4 or 5 boats across! VERY important to keep your fingers inside the boat all ALL times ... you just never knew when you were going to scrape alongside something!

This stall had all sorts of spices.

Most essential tourist stuff (not!) hehee

The majority of the boats had motors, although there were a few that just had paddles. The next 2 pics are for the petrol heads that read about our goings-on! ;-)

Out in the main part of the river/canal.
Can you imagine doing this??? Doing your laundry in this filthy dirty DISGUSTING water! Ewwww - it gives me the shudders just thinking about it.
When we were back in the taxi we asked him to stop so I could take a photo and I saw this lady heading back home with her boat loaded up with her fruit & vege shopping :-)
Chillies drying in the sun on the side of the road!
After we'd been to the floating market the taxi driver took us to the Royal Thai Handicraft Centre (here's what you see in the working part of the place). It was interesting (pricey! but very interesting to see how they actually do the carving).
Outside there were several carved large & small elephants.

The showroom was full of beautiful furniture and artwork. Just amazing. This piece was truly beautiful - about 6 inches deep! So intricate.
After having a good look around there the taxi driver took us to a restuarant in the middle of nowhere for lunch! Rediculously expensive, but food was quite nice (thank goodness!). And their toilet sign made me laugh :-)
In Malaysia the majority of taxis are red (with the odd orange and blue one). In Thailand there are a huge amount of taxis! Most are pink, but there was also a lot of yellow & green and orange ones. Maddison was so funny - every time she saw a pink taxi (which was very frequent!) she would yell "there's anoder pink taxi"!!
And the power lines! Yay for underground cabling huh!
Friday morning while the adults were packing and tidying up, the kids played huts with the couch cushions!
We were asked to buy a couple of extra suitcases for a friend. So we had even more baggage to cart home (mind you we managed to fill them with our purchases hehee). So ... how many men does it take to pack a car????? Especially when the boot (it was an Innova, but didn't have the 6th and 7th seats like our vehicle) was full of gas tank and ENORMOUS speakers! Thankfully he had a roof rack so we were able to put the buggy & another case up there.
When we got back to KL we were heading to the bus with our trolleys of bags and Aaron needed to go to the toilet, so I took him and unfortunately we missed the bus that was nearly full and had to wait another half an hour before the next bus left. Then can you just imagine the traffic on New Years Eve when we arrived at Central Station at 11pm!! We needed 2 taxis and then had to pay extra because the boot wouldn't shut heheee Mum, I and the kids got in one taxi and left Lyndon & Aunty Ruth with the remainder of the bags and our driver was off with a hiss & a roar. We were hanging on I tell you ... we went this way and that way, and around this round-about twice because he decided the traffic was too bad to go out any of those exits and dived down what looked like a public carpark entrance and when I asked where ever he was taking us he said - I am dodging the traffic Mam - this is the police road!!! Mum and I laughed and hung on even more. We ended up getting stuck in traffic in our suburb though because of fireworks displays so Lyndon and Aunty Ruth bet us home (yay because they had the cases with the house keys in them hehee). So we ended up seeing the new year in even if we didn't plan to!! ;-)
Really enjoyed our time away - would definitely go back. But will have to do some research on markets first and what days they are open. One that I wanted to go to in Bangkok only opens in the weekend, so I missed that one! Might have to go back for a long weekend!! ;-)
Thanks for visiting and apologies for the photo overload!! hahaa


Mrs Frizz said...

OMG - I'm thinking I've got a something or other for toilets - cos I so COULD NOT cope with something that looked like that looking at me ... honestly, I couldn't!!!

The pink taxis made me laugh and little Miss M on the wee elephant statue ... delightful.

Loved reading about your travelling antics.

May 2011 be a wonderful year for all of you

Penny said...

very interesting!

penelope gan said...

The luggage... is that half the home??!?

Sounds like fun.
No idea how you do it super mom!


topkatnz said...

Hahahahaha! that toilet sign is classic! That's a pretty fancy squat toilet - the ones I've encountered have been pretty off in comparison! The water is probably that dirty BECAUSE of all the people washing in there!

Shirl said...

I really enjoy reading about your adventures in Thailand and Aaron's happy face was priceless! I had a good chuckle too when I saw the photo of the squat toilet... hehe...I remember seeing the horror on one lady's face at one of our smaller airport toilets :P