After a successful trip to Ecuador last year we decided to go back to South America. We even took Spanish lessons. Then one evening we sat down and started surfing the Internet. A couple of weeks later we booked two tickets to Bangkok. We are not expecting the Spanish to be very helpful.
It’s a long way from Ottawa to Bangkok.
We left home at 4:00am on December 26th. We flew from Ottawa to Toronto where I spent almost as long in line for Tim Hortons as we did on the flight from Ottawa.
We then boarded a 16 hour flight to Hong Kong. They feed us three times (including a cup of noodles) and the wine and beer were free but 16 hours is still a very long flight. You get that when you look at your watch figure out that you have now been on a plane for 8 hours and you are only half way there!
One cool feature of flying in that direction was that we had a sunset that lasted several hours!
We landed in Hong Kong and either the plane was late or the tickets were wrong because our 2 1/2 hours between flights was only an hour and we had to get boarding passes and change terminals. We made the flight thanks to a helpful employee who took us through the crew line. Which was very nice of him.
We landed in Bangkok and took the Sky Train into the city for B45 (Thai baht, $1 Canadian is about B25) each. The train goes right from the basement of the airport and it’s faster and cheaper than a taxi. We flagged down a metered taxi from the station to get to the hotel. The driver was willing but he was not sure where the hotel was and like most taxi drivers in Thailand he spoke very little English and read even less. Thai script has 44 consonants and 32 vowels so it does not translate easily to our roman script. Eventually he called the hotel and asked. Lesson learned, the hotel address written in English was not very useful but the phone number was really helpful.
The main roads were lit up with Christmas lights and giant pictures of the King and the roads themselves were what we expected filled with cars, buses, taxis, tuk-tuks, motorcycles and scooters.
The scooters and motorcycles were everywhere dashing around the cars between the lanes. The taxi cost us B67. He dropped us off at the end of our street which was full of pedestrians and we walked to our hotel. The New Siam 3.
We had to produce our passports in order to check in. We also needed them later to book train tickets and to change money. The room was basic but fine. Clean with a hot shower, no bugs and air conditioning. It took us a while to figure out that we needed to put the room key card into the light switch to get electricity. It was 9:00pm Bangkok time and 9:00am Ottawa time so we went out in search of a beer. Which we found, for B80.
Bangkok is a big city with a metro population of 9 million. Our hotel was on Soi Rambhuttri in the Banglamphu district. A very popular destination for backpackers. We were one street over from Khaosan road which is backpacker party central in Bangkok. Our street was its quieter cousin. After our beer we went for a brief walk around the area. There were people everywhere. A night market with all sorts of souvenirs and food of every type.