Sunday, February 7, 2016

Thailand (30 Jan - 6 Feb 2016)

Because Pat and I had a free week, we decided to go to Bangkok, Thailand. The map below shows the areas we visited while there.

Saturday, 30 Jan 2016

Flew to Bangkok on Tiger Air and took a cab from the Suvarnabhumi Airport. Although we were offered transportation in a limo for THB$1000 (about US$28), one of our friends in Singapore told us to ignore these offers and go directly to the taxi stand. Good advice - taxi cost us THB$400 (US$11).

Traffic was terrible, especially the short drive up Soi 11 to our hotel. This road, that we often had to walk to get around, took at least 1/2 hour for the taxi to make it to our hotel. The road is probably only a 1/3 mile long (or less). Bangkok is a big city and the traffic is worse than most big cities. Motorcycles are everywhere, cutting in, out and between lanes, and many times on the sidewalks.

We checked into Fraser Suites Sukhumvit, a very nice hotel. This hotel is located in a popular area of Bangkok and is reasonably close to the Nana Skytrain Station, where we could catch rides to other parts of the city (when we didn't want to walk). We rode public transportation most of the time, especially since Bangkok is not walking-friendly - the sidewalks are either clogged with food carts and tables for their clients, or people parking motorcycles and cars on the walks. Very often you have to contend with motorcycles riding on the walks. So, all in all, it makes sense to take public transportation.

Location of Fraser Suites

Fraser Suites on Sukhumvit Soi 11

Looking over Soi 11 from our room

This first evening was spent relaxing: drinking beer and eating at the Old German Beerhouse (it was close and looked good, so we stopped - did not disappoint). Normally, we would have eaten Thai food on the first night, but....


Sunday, 31 Jan 2016

This morning we had booked a trip through Viator (our go-to tour site) for the Mahachai Train Tour from Bangkok. The purpose of the trip was to see 3 different markets, two of which the train actually went through. I had seen videos on YouTube of the market at Mae Klong, and we were to see it as well as the one at Mahachai.

We started early, taking a taxi to a hostel very close to Chinatown. We met our tour guide, Tae, and 3 young ladies. From the hostel we walked about 1/2 mile to the SkyTrain, road it for about 3 stops, then walked to the Wong Wian Yai railway station. The train trip took about an hour.

Our guide, Tae

At Wong Wian Yai Station

As the video shows, there is not much clearance on either side of the train. The train cars are not air-conditioned and the windows are all open. When we stopped, we had to brush off the leaves from the shrubs we swiped.