The day started early and we awoke to the sun shining and the beautiful view out of the room for the final time. We had pretty much packed up the night before, so we just popped along to the restaurant for breakfast and our last taste of fresh coconut jam!! From there the car was waiting to take us to the most beautiful airport in the world but there was one last mini drama to come. We had checked in and Naomi realized that she had lost her mobile phone! Yet again, Thai hospitality came into play and in the nick of time, her phone was brought to her at the airport just before we had to board our plane!
A quick trip later and we were back in the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. We had thought that we might have an issue with our bags, but luckily they were checked all the way through form Koh Samui to Dubai so we headed out to grab a cab as we wanted to see the Grand Palace.
We hadn’t been able to on the way to Koh Samui because the Red Shirts were protesting and we were advised to avoid the area! The people of Bangkok were still celebrating New Year and as such the Grand Palace was packed. You also have to respect the dress code, which meant no shorts. Luckily they cater to this for you and I was able to hire a pair of trousers from one of the women outside. It was absolute chaos and I was very unsure of how I was going to get these trousers back to her, but the chaos is well practiced and when we came out, I gave my trousers back to someone and got my deposit back!
To add to the hordes of people, the humidity had shot up and it was quite uncomfortable, especially having to put trousers on, so we kind of raced around the palace taking the obligatory pictures (pic) and then getting out as quickly as possible – doing this though meant that we still had some time before our flight, and a plucky salesman outside the Palace asked if we would like to do a boat tour. We said no initially but then changed our minds, agreed a price and followed him. We seemed to be walking for quite some time and it was at the point that we turned down a somewhat narrow dark alley that the thought flashed across both our minds, of what on earth were we doing blindly following a complete stranger down a dark alley in Bangkok! But we needn’t have worried; we eventually popped out beside the river and jumped on a traditional boat, to what turned out to be our own private tour.
As I mentioned earlier in the post, New Year was still being celebrated, so as we were given the tour we were once again soaked by locals at the side of the river. Whilst this usually wouldn’t be a problem, we were wearing the clothes we would be traveling in and being soaked with water from the river that runs through Bangkok wasn’t a pleasant thought and keeping the camera dry was proving difficult as well. What didn’t help was our driver thought it was funny to slow down whenever we came across these ‘assault’ points so we could be properly drenched, even after we told him not to. Naomi was not happy!!
The whistle stop tour was good though and gave us a chance to see Bangkok from the river and it is a vastly different city to the one you see when you are on dry land. Highly recommended and you will always find a willing guide outside any of the other attractions in the city who will happily sell you river trip – but be prepared to barter and you’ll always get a better price.
Our time was at an end and we made our way back to the airport, slightly damp and slightly sad to be leaving this amazing place.
Needless to say, the experience had provided me with the reasons why so many people go back to Thailand religiously. Having been lucky enough to travel quite a lot, I know that there is so much out there to see, that I had never understood the concept of going back to the same place over and over again. Thailand showed me why and we’ll be going back some time soon.