Hi everyone and thank you all so much for all your advice and info prior to our holiday. We had a fabulous holiday and we loved Thailand and the friendly smiling people. We spent 5 nights in Bangkok at The Century Park Hotel in a Junior Suite. We can highly recommend this hotel. Check in was welcoming and efficient. The Junior Suite was very spacious and luxurious. We had a problem with a faulty power adapter that blew a fuse but rectified very quickly. A maintenance man was there to fix it within a few minutes. Room service was quick and efficient and the staff were very friendly and helpful. Buffet breakfasts were delicious with a good variety. The pool area is glorious with poolside service and a spa and gym on the same level. The location is a little out from the main city centre but close to the Victory monument skytrain station. We used taxis a lot because they were so cheap. Make sure you make them turn the meter on though. We had dinner the first night at Robertos at the hotel. Lovely food (Italian) and prices quite reasonable for a-la-carte. The hotel has great facilities, coffee café, tailor, gift shop and piano bar area. The gift shop had 50% off everything and sold quality items. Bought a few handbags – leather and good quality.
Day 1 Caught the skytrain to Saphan Taksin Station near Tha Sathorn Pier and got the tourist boat to Wat Pho and The Grand Palace. What beautiful and spiritual places. It was a pleasant trip there but coming back the boat was extremely crowded. After a long day and a lot of walking in the heat it was definitely time for a foot massage. The perfect place was right next door to the hotel and only 200 baht. We went to the food court at MBK for dinner that night (by Skytrain) - Pad Thai (60baht) and on to Suam Lum Night Markets. These markets are huge with very reasonable prices. Loved them. We caught a taxi back to the hotel – only 100 baht.
Day 2 We decided to get a taxi to Chatuchak Weekend markets. The prices were probably a little cheaper than Suam Lum but found them a little stubborn to bargain with. It was extremely crowded and hot so decided to go to Pratunam (close to our hotel). We shopped in Platinum Fashion Mall for handbags, wallets and sunglasses. Good prices.
That evening we went on a sunset dinner cruise with Wan Fah. We really enjoyed the sights along the way and the meal was delicious. There was entertainment with traditional thai dancers. A good night.
Day 3 This day was definitely the highlight of our trip. We had a tour with Tong to The Floating Markets, Tiger Temple, and Elephant Bathing. Tong is one very special and kind lady. She picked us up at 6.30am in her air-conditioned SUV and we were spoilt all day with cool towels and cold drinks. The conversation flowed all day and she kept us laughing with her unique sense of humour. We felt instantly that we had gained a wonderful friend. She bought us all kinds of food at the Floating Markets and helped us with any purchases. We were so well looked after at the Tiger Temple. She made sure we were first in line for everything and gained us special privileges. She took all our photography which turned out professional. And being able to go into the cage with her to see Bam Bam the bear and to see how she interacts with her was just surreal. After leaving the Tiger Temple and on route to the elephant bathing we stopped to feed wild monkeys. That is when the battery in our camera died. In quick time she got the sd card from our camera and put it in her camera. Bathing with Duanpen, the elephant was the best fun we have ever had in our life. She squirted us and tossed us off. We shampooed her and had a water fight with her (guess who won?). The whole time she was like a gentle giant playing with us. Meanwhile Tong was there taking photographs and laughing hysterically. After we surrendered with exhaustion and laughter we rode her back, changed clothes and there was Tong waiting with a cold beer. Couldn’t have got any better than that. FUN, FUN,FUN! If anyone gets the chance to do this, grab it. You will have the time of your life. There was one more stop after that – The Bridge over the River Kwai. Tong took photos of us on the bridge while the train was coming (much to our horror). She told us that she likes to take ‘before and after shots’. Then told us to RUN! Funny lady. She told us an informative history of the Bridge on the way home. We arrived back at the hotel about 9.30pm exhausted but extremely happy with our adventurous day. She also arranged to have a friend meet us at the hotel to pick up our laundry which was well done and reasonably priced and returned to us the next day.
We love this lady. Thank you Tong for a perfect day.
Day 4 Almost as perfect as the day before. Another tour we arranged with Tong – The Fishing Village. We went with Jerry, one of Tongs guides. What a wonderful man he was. His english was perfect and was so very friendly and informative. Another friend made. We were taken to a village where we met a lovely family and the man (sorry can’t remember his name) took us in his very unique Thai long-tail boat for a tour around the very large scenic bay and mud flats. We were stunned when we drove straight over the mud flats in the boat. On route we stopped to feed swimming wild monkeys. We were shown cockle, mussel and oyster farms. Lyn mentioned that she loved oysters so the man climbed onto the oyster farm construction and bought back a very large cluster of fresh oysters which were opened for lunch. We were then taken to the family’s bamboo stilt house in the middle of the bay and given the most scrumptious seafood lunch. We were waited on hand and foot by the family and when we just couldn’t eat any more were urged to sit on lay back chairs to relax, chat to Jerry and take in the amazing scenery. We arrived back at the hotel early in the afternoon very relaxed. Thank you Jerry for a wonderful day.
Later that evening we headed out to the MBK shopping Centre for some light dinner at the Food Court.
Day 5 Sadly it was time to leave Bangkok for Phuket. We had an afternoon flight so had time to take care of some business. We went to the post office to post some of our clothes home. Of course we overpacked – we didn’t listen to all the advice. And we just had to make room for all our purchases and the shopping to come in Phuket. It cost about $60 to send a box home airmail. Cheap compared to excess baggage costs. Singapore Airlines charges $55 per kilo excess. Took a taxi to the airport – about 350 baht.
We enjoyed our stay in Bangkok and found the people extremely friendly and helpful but felt we didn’t have long enough. So many more things we would have liked to do and see. So we will just have to return. Sooner than later we hope.
Cheers, Ray and Lyn