Wow, maybe we were a little quick to declare in our last post that our misadventures in Delhi were finally over. Indeed, we had written the article in the comfort of our hotel room on the eve of our departure from Delhi. Since it would be very long to tell you in detail what happened on our last day in India, we’ll give you the short version. What should have been a peaceful day, consisting in simply taking a taxi with a fixed fare to the airport and to relax on the flights that would take us to Thailand, has rather been in the image of our stays in Delhi: confusing directions (terminal not indicated on the itinerary from the airline), being brought on purpose to the wrong terminal by the taxi driver that then try to convince us to go with him to the right terminal (for a fee of course) and finally, the agent from the “free” shuttle at the airport trying to extort from us an exorbitant amount of money (paid cash in the gentleman’s pocket – please!) We ended up getting to the right terminal and once on the plane, it was finally over. We flew on Indigo, an Indian budget airline which operates planes that are brand new and spotless.
Arrival in Thailand
To be completely honest, we were a little nervous about going to Bangkok after hearing some people that suggested not to spend a lot of time in this city describing it as very intense. We were saying, after taking off from Delhi, that we liked our stay in India but that we had also found very intense and stressful. We thought that perhaps the problem was that we were not cut from the same cloth as the other travellers we met and who seemed to find it so much easier. Our fears dispersed as soon as we arrived in Thailand. Clean, modern, more relaxed, beautiful, Bangkok is amazing. We found a very nice hotel, with a very original design, in a quiet area of Bangkok, where our only concern was that we were a bit removed from the downtown action (one hour of taxi in traffic for $6-8 CAD was still acceptable). We immediately fell in love with Thailand. Thai people are very nice to tourists and children and they are always smiling. The food was delicious and very cheap (Pad Thai for $1.50 ?). Plus, unlike India, when we asked our food to be not spicy, they actually gave us food that was not spicy. The climate is tropical and rather humid, but it’s easy to get used to. All seemed to get easier and our fear of being too snug to be backpacking evaporated! We only had a few days in Bangkok and decided to focus on the activities in the guide.
The Asiatique Market and Lumphini Park
After all the action and the short sleep due to our late arrival the day before, we decided we take it easy by visiting a park and a market on our first day in Bangkok. We chose the Lumphini Park, a kind of Central Park where hundreds of Thais meet to exercise or to make use of the sports facilities available to all. A nice family walk in this beautiful park has allowed us to have a good time, to relax and do some people watching in order to become familiar with our new environment. After our long walk, we headed to Asiatique Market, a market developed for tourists that is much too modern and gentrified to resemble a traditional street market, but which was exactly what we needed after our month in India. We had the opportunity to eat our first authentic Pad Thai which was delicious, but very similar to those we eat in Canada. Strolling through the market in the evening was very nice and the boys have had much pleasure trying to find a t-shirt that Mom and Dad had promised to buy.
The next day, we headed downtown hoping to visit the Grand Palace and Wat Pho (What is a Wat you say? a Wat is the Thai expression that refers to a Buddhist temple and monastery). Since our hotel indicated us that the Grand Palace would probably be closed to foreigner due to the recent death of their King and at the sight of all the commotion around the Palace, we opted to start our day by visiting Wat Pho. Wat Pho was much larger than we had expected. This beautiful complex included, amongst other things, the largest collection of Buddha images in the country as well as the largest statue of reclining Buddha of the city. The huge complex also let us contemplate of multiple temples, buildings, sculptures, etc, We stayed many hours marveling at the beauty of the place. We came out of this attraction a little too late to get a chance to visit the Grand Palace and we unfortunately sadly found locked doors at the Siam Museum that looked very interesting but that was undergoing major renovations. Since we are so in love with Bangkok, we were comfortable to keep some reasons to come back!
Khao San Road and Poutine for dinner
We knew very well what we were doing when we headed to the Khao San Road, regarded as THE Street to visit for tourists in Bangkok. Like a bunch of sociologist-for-a-day, we wanted to see this jungle of tourists enjoying life to the fullest, spending their Baths (local currency) to party hard and eat insects. To be honest, the street was rather quiet and a bit disappointing in that regard in the afternoon, but maybe is it different in the evening. After spending a little time looking at t-shirts (day 2 of the intense quest from our boys to find the perfect t-shirts) we headed to the place we wanted to visit for some time already, Bangkok Poutine. We must confess that far too much time went by since we had the pleasure of enjoying this unique Quebecers delight. The small restaurant was very friendly. A hockey game replay was on TV and in the background a playlist that mixed Quebec and American music was playing. Our verdict on the poutine was excellent, with a special mention for the variety of potato they used which was a bit sweet like the Red potatoes and that, as we know, are much better than the Russet Potato Fries (sorry Ricardo, it’s a fact).
The MBK Center
On our last day in Bangkok, we wanted to make the children happy and what they really wanted to do was to go to the movies. We therefore took the opportunity to bring them to the famous MBK Centre, which is a bit unique since it mixes corporate stores with a lot independent shops of the same style that you can find in street markets. Finally, the children found their t-shirts! At the Movie Theatre, we took the opportunity to go see a movie that came out that very day, Fantastic Beasts and where to find them. We were very excited to see this movie before the rest of our friends, a benefit to have 12 hours of difference with Canada. Strangely, we had to get up and pay respect during an hymn to the King before the representation of the film. Since the film was shown in English, the room was virtually empty and it is deep-set in our seats that we saw this beautiful film, eating caramel popcorn. After the movie, the children and Karine took the opportunity to play in the arcades on Asian video games that were really original!
We really had a good time in Bangkok, a great city that will very easily make our top 10 at the end of this trip. We promised ourselves to come back during this journey or in the future.