We arrived in Bangkok in the afternoon. The official taxi line was very long, so we went for an unofficial one. The taxi driver did not know where we where going, but luckily Gunnhild had saved the location on Google maps and could guide him. The hotel (Playhaus) was a theatre themed hotel and we got the Aladdin Room with an Arabic theme. In the room we had a bathroom with mostly (but not all) frosted glass. Luckily there were curtains! Other than that it was a great hotel with the best bed we had so far on this trip.
We chose this hotel mainly because it was close to many beer pubs like BREW, HOBS (House of beers) and Mikkeller. We also found a place named CRAFT with 40 craft beers on tap when looking for a tailor. In these pubs, they had a lot of beer that we had tried before, but also a descent amount of beers new to us.
We expected Bangkok to be dirty, noisy and way too warm, but was pleasantly surprised, so instead of going to Kanchanaburi as planned, we booked two extra nights in Bangkok. This way we could see the city and get everything in place before the liveaboard (laundry and some shopping) without stress. We didn’t do a lot of sightseeing while in Bangkok. Because of the river festival it was very crowded near the main sights, and getting around was quite hard. Sky train, metro and speed boats were the best options, but with just a few lines and limited transfer options, this took time as well.
We took an one hour boat trip on the Chao Praya river, through the locks and into the canals known as klongs. We could see why Bangkok used to be called “Venice of the east”. The klongs were lined by houses in all sizes and styles from small shacks to grand wooden villas. Locals were running their business here, people were fishing, swimming, doing laundry and selling food and d
rinks to boats passing by. We also passed several temples, shrines, restaurants and schools. It felt like a different city, and was a nice break from the busy streets. Our boat ride ended close to Wat Pho (the temple of the reclining buddha), one of the largest temple complexes in the city. It is famed for its giant reclining Buddha that measures 46 metres long, 15 meters tall and is covered in gold leaf. It was squeezed into a building just large enough to cover it, and was a quite impressive sight.
The rest of the temple was also nice, with lots of buddha statues and some funny looking Chinese statues guarding the gates and buildings. We skipped Temple of Dawn which was being renovated and Grand Palace where the dress code was too strict (we didn’t bring any shoes!). We have seen our share of Asian temples and palaces on previous trips though, so one was more than enough.
Our last night in Bangkok started at Cloud 47, one of very few casual rooftop bars where flip flops are allowed. We had dinner, a couple of drinks and enjoyed the sunset and the views. The rest of the evening was spent in the bar CRAFT, where Italian brewery L’Olmaia were launching their beers. We had a long talk with the head brewer and his team, got a guided tour in the back of the bar and spent the night talking to the owner and his friends and tasting a lot of good beer.