Chao Phraya river cruise and getting lost in Sukhumvit
02.18.2009 - 03.18.2009 95 °F
Aboard the Chao Phraya Express
5 Star accommodations along the Chao Phraya
Bangkok's Skytrain - the BTS
Up with the birds to beat the heat, breakfast on the patio of Baan Dinso, and off to see Bangkok. I discovered that cabs here are just as cheap as tuk tuks, they come only in bright shades of pink, red, yellow and green, but mostly pink - the Toyota Corolla is the cab of choice. I bought my day pass on the BTS Skytrain, and was off to Central Pier to take the Chao Phraya Express Boat and see Bangkok by water. Very few slums here - such a prosperous town, and the architecture is magnificent (I think half of Thailand must be employed decorating temples and office towers with that unique Thai flair.) I did the entire river from Central Pier to the extreme northern boundary of the city, and saw that this boat was also used by residents just like a bus. The whole trip took almost 90 minutes, and by that time, I was glad to set foot on dry land. Next, on to Sukhumvit by Skytrain, and to find that Indian restaurant that I read about in one of the guide books. I got off at Phrom Phong since it was near Soi 35, but the address I had (#2 Soi 35) was nowhere to be found (I must have walked around the area for a good 45 minutes in the sweltering mid-day sun (all the while sweating as no other farang could). I gave up (my feet spoke up), and settled for a nondescript plate of fried noodles. Sukhumvit almost resembled the East Side of Manhattan (with tropical plants) - where the wealthy Thais shop and dine, and most upper-middle tourists stay.
Back to the hostel, showered and took a siesta. About 7:30, I dressed and went out looking for dinner. I headed for Khao San Road, but I was a little tired of all the noise and cheapness of the hood, so when I saw a likely place a few blocks away, I entered and sat down in the AC. I had entered a karaoke club by mistake - it looked just like any other restaurant, except for the middle aged man singing on the stage. I had second thoughts when I discovered it was karaoke (would they force me to sing too), but ordered a mango and pork salad and hot and sour shrimp soup. Everyone at this club knew each other, and many had full whiskey setups next to the tables. It turned out to be quite a fun evening, and the bad singing was fairly amusing (the food was good too). The shock came with the check - 455THB (an all time high for me in Thailand - about $12.)