Having not been back to Bangkok for nearly seven years, I was intrigued to see how it might have changed since my last visit. I was very fortunate to be able to say I can pop to Bangkok for the weekend which normally receives plenty of ‘I’m jealous’ messages from friends and family.
To make sure that our trip to Bangkok didn’t involve just a re-run of our previous trip, I booked a scooter tour with best Bangkok and they have a variety of options including a food and drink tour but I chose the city tour as I thought it would be nice to see different parts of the city. The tour is not that cheap but it has some of the best reviews on TripAdvisor, so about 10am on the Saturday morning Susan picked us up from our hotel.
After chatting for a bit to get to know each other we headed out on the scooters with walkie talkies in tow. Susan rides her own scooter while we rode on the back of two scooters with local drivers. Having been on a number of scooter tours in Asia I wasn’t fazed but when instructed to make sure my knees and feet didn’t stick out too much I started to get a bit more nervous! The walkie talkies are used by Susan to communicate with you to provide a commentary as you go round on the tour. It was a great novelty and as you rarely pick up lots of speed it is easy to listen and respond via the walkie talkie without feeling like you’re going to fall off the scooter!
As we had been to the city before we went a slightly different route to normal, not really taking in the main sights but going more off the beaten track. At one point we went through some back streets to a restaurant hidden down these streets with a great via of one of the temples from the banks of the river. The rest of the tour involved scootering around Bangkok, weaving between the insane traffic that is in the centre of the city before finishing the tour in the centre of the city where we found a little place called Hemmingway’s, a little courtyard off of the main street which is a haunt of the expat community. We didn’t indulge in any Thai food but ate a delicious platter of continental cheeses and meat with a local beer which was lovely.
Following a walk back through the central park we enjoyed a few beers at a place called The Beer Bridge, a nice little bar and restaurant that serves lots of craft beers before heading back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.
We ate dinner in the Italian restaurant (I know sacrilege that we didn’t eat Thai food!) in the ground floor of a local hotel. The restaurant is very dimly lit with the tables pretty close together but we were pleasantly surprised after sitting down for our meal to be serenaded by professional opera singers, 6 in total, walking between the tables. It was a great experience sitting there eating and drinking lovely Italian food and wine whilst listening to Phantom of the Opera! One of the signature dishes of the restaurant is a mushroom pasta cooked inside parmesan cheese. I know it might be hard to imagine but try to picture a sphere cut in half and then the middle holed out, placed over a low flame, almost like a flambé table, then the pasta is placed in the middle of the melting parmesan and then served. We didn’t sample this dish but it looked delicious!
Our last day in Bangkok was spent going back to Wat Pho, the beautiful temple complex in the centre of the city. Although we had previously visited this temple that is famous for its large reclining Buddha it was nice to go back and to look at the temple complex again. The reclining Buddha is truly awe inspiring, the Buddha is so large that it fills the room in which it is housed, with its elaborately decorated its feet and golden colour it is a special sight. When you visit this temple remember to also look at the walls and the ceilings as these are intricately decorated with Thai scenes and I think this is a part of this room that many people miss as their attention is solely focused on the Buddha but the walls are just as inspiring.
After our visit to Wat Pho we managed to find the little café opposite the royal palace that we had previously had a drink in and had a well-deserved rest with an iced chocolate drink!