Thailand has always been a dream trip for me, especially Phuket. I guess we've all visioned ourself at the paradise white sand beaches from "The Beach".
But before getting to the relaxing part of the vacation, we've decided that getting to know the culture of the country is always a good ideia. And what better place to do that, than Thailand's capital - Bangkok. After having a bit of a disappointment arriving at the hotel due to some pretty noisy neighbours from the construction next door, and relaxing by the pool, it was time to hit Bangkok's nightlife.
The first night we went to Cloud47 rooftop bar, located at the 47th floor at Bangkok downtown. We chose it because it rained at the early evening and it has a covered part, so a you can still appreciate the great views without getting wet. And the views (and cocktails!) were really great!
Bangkok's nightlife ends quite early - most bars close at 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. tops. So, it was good for us as we were able to wake up on time to enjoy a full day getting around. Or so we thought. Outside on the streets the chaos was complete! We were not able to get inside the Grand Palace because we were not dressed appropriate. Right at the entrance a man yelled at us "No sexy clothes!" as we wore shorts and crop tops (it was so, so hot and humid!). Then we tried to get a tuk-tuk to the floating market we wanted to visit, but could not get the negotiation on point. And suddenly, a guy with a Tourist Information tag approached us, seeing we were having troubles dealing with all the tuk-tuk and taxi drivers. So, he was so nice and "professional", he lied to us that the floating market we wanted to go was closed on Sunday (actually, it opens only on weekends), and tried to sell us a tour that supposedly passes on another floating market. Oh, and he was offering us a special discount as Sunday is the "Buddha Day". Right! Quick change of plans and we were already getting in the temple just next to the Grand Palace. At least there no one was yelling at us and we got the see the tribute people pay to Buddha.
After leaving the temple (and going a little further) we finally got a taxi to a local weekend market. I don't remember the name of it, which may be is a good thing. It was huge. Takes place in several enormous tents, without really dividing the stores and mixing all kinds of goods at the same area. So, at one moment you're in a t-shirt store and the next moment you are in a restaurant, passing between the tables. Then you find yourself in a shoe store. And from every side there is people approaching you, trying to sell you something. It was a chaotic, unique experience, filled with all kind of aromas, so typical for Asia. Our next stop (via tuk-tuk) was the MBK centre. This is actually a shopping centre with one main characteristic - you can negotiate in the stores! Seriously?! At least it was air-conditioned. And had Burger King, as we were starving already.
While having a late dinner at the hotel and not being able to go out at night because of the rain, we found out that there is this special law in Thailand about selling alcoholic drinks in the stores. We simply wanted to buy a bottle of wine and drink it at the balcony of the room, but as it was already past midnight, the stores refused to sell it. So, in Thailand you can buy alcohol from a store in a specific timetable - 10-12 a.m. and from 10-12 p.m. And all the bars in the area were already closed.
Our last day in Bangkok was the one we enjoyed the most. Woke up quite early (as we had no hangover lol) and walked to the Grand Palace. On our way we found squirrels...
Visited Wat Arun - the Temple of Dawn...
And passed by the Giant Swing - 21-meters high, one of Bangkok's most remembered religious structures.
The construction of the Grand Palace began in 1782 during the reign of King Rama I, the founder of Chakri Dynasty, to become a royal residence, and it has been the utmost architectural symbol of Thailand ever since. The Grand Palace served as a significant royal residence until 1925 and is now used for ceremonial purposes only. Therefore "no sexy clothes" (as we were yelled at the day before) are allowed and all visitors should dress appropriately. And today we were prepared. We wore maxi dresses and brought t-shirts to put on top at the entrance. It was not the most fancy outfit, but it worked beside the heat and humidity.
From all three areas in the Grand Palace, only two are open to visitors: The Outer Court, home to royal offices, public buildings and the Temple of Emerald Buddha...
And the Middle Court, where the most important residential and state buildings are.
The Inner Court is exclusively reserved for the king, his queen and his consorts.
And after it rained again and had a quick dinner, it was time to take the most of our last night in Bangkok. So, we went to a Ladyboy Cabaret Show at Calypso (located in the Asiatique market). A quick and easy (you don't need to negotiate the price) way to get there is by boat. The tourist boat ticket is 40 bahts and the regular boat ticket is 14 bahts. And from the boat we got to see the Wat Pho Temple with its 46-meter-long Reclining Buddha, built in 1832. The Calypso hall is not very big - around 400 people which is nice, as you get to see the faces of the Kathoey (ladyboys) dancers. From another point of view, it was too small, and you get to see a little too much, like the suspended strings of a bass guitar, one of the dancer supposedly was playing. So, yes, it was all on playback, which I guess was expected - the ticket for the show was 900 bahts and includes a drink.
At the end all dances go to the lobby for you to take fotos with them... And to give them a tip! One of them was even choosing the notes from a girl's wallet.
Do you see the money these ladies are holding in their hands?
After almost running out of Calypso, refusing to give the dancers a tip, we got a tuk-tuk (craziest ride ever!) to take us to the Sky Bar Rooftop at Lebua tower. This is the rooftop from the Hangover II movie. If you go there don't miss to try the Hangovertini - the drink, specially created for the crew of the movie while filming there.
If you are willing to spend a little more you may also have dinner there. But as the tables are located a bit lower than the bar, in my opinion, the views are not so great.
And of course, we were the last ones to leave. What a surprise! After they kindly invited us to leave the bar area, we went upstairs with our drinks, to continue appreciate the views over the Chao Phraya river. No one bothered us anymore. But when we looked back, all the security team (dressed in black) was standing in a circle around us.
You were not that friendly in the beginning, but we took the most of you in the end.