In 2005 I got married in Thailand (to a girl from the Wirral before anyone asks 🙂
I had 3 fantastic weeks there and even visited Vietnam and Cambodia.
On the trip my oldest friend Frank came with me. On the last day of the trip, I told him we were going to get a taxi to the airport the next day and he was welcome to share it with us.
He said it was OK, and that he was going to hang around in Bangkok. I smiled and agreed. I remember saying why not its such a beautiful place, why not have another week or two here.
No said Frank, I’m actually going to stay here for good. And there with a bag on his shoulder smaller than the one I carry to work his only possessions, he set out to make a life for himself there.
I always promised to go out and see him (although it was never as frequent as I’d have liked and I really missed an adventure companion who was up for anything here in the UK).
Well, Myanmar (Burma) recently opened to the world after years of being closed to tourists due to its Dictatorship. We were flying into Bangkok to start the trip so I was determined to go there and catch up with him.
I left for the airport straight from work. A stopover in Abu Dhabi and after 25hrs of travelling, were finally in Bangkok.
Were here for 2 nights and we’ve got a lovely hotel Nikki has stayed in before, on the bank of the river.
We decided to get out and stretch our legs.
My first exposure to Thailand, was a noodle bar in Manchester called Tampopo (which I believe is still there, 20 years later).
I remember reading on a menu, something called Pad Thai, described as a popular Bangkok street dish. I’ve been to Bangkok 6 times, eaten Pad Thai hundreds of times, but never actualy bought it from a street vendor.
So here we are, 20 years later buying Pad Thai, which was delicious.
We were going to meet Frank at his wife Na’s shop.
Won’t bore you all with the details, but I didn’t research it properly and instead of getting a taxi, decided to walk.
The map above showed our route across Bangkok on a Sunday.
Along the way, we found this building where the road runner gets all of his revenge ordnance from.
Ended up with Nikki and I finding a place in a shopping centre and messaging Frank on Facebook explaining that I couldn’t find where he was.
Turned out, he was just upstairs in the building and popped down to join us for a drink.
The people of Thailand were still in mourning over the death of the king and like many, Frank was wearing a black shirt out of respect.
We popped upstairs to see Na at her shop.
I had a really good shot lined up then an enormous African woman came over to buy something from the shop. Money is money, so I got out of the way and left them to conduct their business.
Also, Na’s lovely friend Lek wasn’t around either. For this reason I’ve used a picture from a previous trip.
From here, Frank took us out for a walk around Bangkok.
I’ve been here many times and I was looking forward to seeing what sort of “outdoor/adventure” walk we were going to have.
I shouldn’t have wondered, Frank took us to this spot where the UDD red shirts had an uprising against the military (I remember seeing it on TV and it was surreal to actually be standing there).
We head for a really nice place called Lumpini Park.
It’s name after Lumbini the birthplace of Buddha.
There were some awful swan shaped boats in the lake.
We carried on walking past the lake and through the length of the park.
We continued walking. After about 50 minutes, he showed us this cycle path he’d found.
It was raised above the houses and shops bellow.
It was really quiet and relaxing here and we were able to just walk along and catch up on old times.
At the end of the path, we cross this wobbly bridge and this “jungle with skyscrapers in the background” scene.
We find ourselves in a sports bar.
But instead of tv’s with sport on, it had dozens of pool tables. The regulars their seemed surprised that 3 people had just come in for a drink, but they were very pleasant and gave up their seats at the bar for us.
Wandering back into the “normal” Bangkok, we visit cheap Charlie’s, which is due to be demolished.
By now, its getting Dark.
Na has finished work and joins us all for a for a delicious meal at Zaks restaurant.
Two hours of fun and interesting conversation then sadly, it has to come to an end. We say goodbye to Frank and Na, Na negotiates the price of a taxi and we head for home.
In the morning, we have breakfast at the hotel, then head for the airport for a 4 day trip to Luang Prabang in Laos.
Having completed our trip to Luang Prabang and Mayanmar, we’re back in Bangkok.
We arrive around 10am in the morning and were due to fly out at 8pm in the evening.
Nikki has cleverly booked us in at an airport hotel. We relax by the pool have a few drinks and something to eat.
Nikki decides to have a swim. A very relaxing way to prepare for the end of a holiday.
I leave the pool and go for a wander around.
I find a really smart bike shop, that sells coffee.
I have 2 cups of coffee, while I watch Thai Boxing on the TV.
Another 90m minutes by the pool, then 30 min lie down, shower and complimentary taxi to the airport 3 miles away (and all for £15).
Back home in the UK, I spend the morning on my own, have a nap then head out.
I head for the lock keeper where I take of my whistle and have a pint of beer.
My transition to normal life is complete.
Nikki texts me and asks what I want to do that evening (I’m back at work in the morning).
There’s really only one thing I can think off…
After 2 weeks of oriental food, its off to Harkers for Sunday lunch, with gravy and Yorkshire puddings.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me, so I’ve found a picture of this attractive woman eating the same meal that I ate (well not the “same” meal, but you know what I mean).
Another amazing trip complete.