Written By Kelly Silver
The last time I was in Thailand was twenty one years ago. That time I only flew in and out of Bangkok and spent the rest of the time in Hua Hin, so I was seeing Bangkok for the first time. After being in the very westernized Singapore, Bangkok felt instantly foreign to us. As we drove from the airport there was that familiar mix of high-rise buildings and malls with old shacks on the side roads. Slightly reminding me of Jakarta. It was evening when we arrived and pouring rain. We would’ve probably ventured straight out to eat, but ate in one of the hotel restaurants instead.
The hotel was situated some distance from the theatre and from most of the places we would visit in Bangkok, but it was a nice hotel with a fantastic buffet breakfast and spacious rooms.
We had two days to sightsee before going to the theatre, so we took a trip out of the city to the floating market. On the way we stopped at a sugar farm. It was interesting to see. We could walk around and look in the farmers home. I know they make some good money out of the tourists coming through, but I wonder how they look at us.
We boarded a small long boat which took us on a ride through the canals to the floating market. Either side of the canal were homes, exactly as you would picture them. Some really not much more than a hut, with clothes hanging out to dry and the occasional person sitting outside watching the boats go by. I find it so hard to imagine what their lives are like. So different from ours. Simple in the materialistic sense, but I would think very hard.
Once we reached the floating market we disembarked the boat and took a walk around the land market. We could buy some food from several boats on the side. We bought some coconut pancakes which a lady was making on the boat. They were so delicious, we went back for seconds.
Through the market to the other side we could board another boat. This time it was a row boat, so we could stop at different boats to shop. You would point where you would like to stop and the person rowing, an elderly woman in our case, would row you next to it. It was a lot of work for her especially in the heat. I was sure to give her a good tip. We were told that you have to haggle. Never pay the price they’re asking for. I felt quite uncomfortable doing this, but soon got the hang of it. Our first purchase had been at the market on land. Two dresses Olivia and Eliana had picked out. I had paid about 70% of the original asking price. We bought a piece of wall art and a bag on the floating market. Both I managed to buy for 50% of the original price. If you start to leave they call you back and drop the price even more. The girls thought it was so funny. Feeling happy with our purchases we left the market to go back to the hotel.
Our hotel was close to Asiatque. A night bazaar with lots of restaurants, a ferris wheel and a few other rides. You could walk there, but we took a Tuk Tuk, which was way more fun. We enjoyed walking round the market and had a really good meal at one of the restaurants. It was very inexpensive, especially after paying Singapore prices. We rode the ferris wheel and the girls went on a very strange rolling vehicle ride.
The following day we spent relaxing at the pool and went back to Asiatque in the evening for dinner. I had an awful night after that. Something I ate had disagreed with me.
Olivia woke with a fever. Luckily I didn’t feel ill anymore. I was worried that she had food poisoning after my night, but she had no other symptoms. I gave her advil to bring her fever down and she spent the day in bed. By the evening she felt much better. We made it to the theatre and through the tech run.
The Muangthai Rachadalai Theatre was located in a mall about a thirty minute drive from the hotel, but could take well over an hour with the traffic. Our dressing room had a great view of the night market from the window. It was also one of our favorite dressing rooms with cute red chairs and sofa. The mall had a good selection of restaurants to eat at. A lot of sushi, one of my favorite foods. Eliana continued her very own food video series trying anything different she could.
Unlike the other cities we visited, I didn’t see any advertising for the show. None at the hotel and no billboards on the street. I didn’t even see Shrek signage at the mall. Yet, this was the best selling city so far and the audiences were amazing. They laughed at all the jokes and gave a roaring applause each night. There were a total of eight shows over the course of five days.
My family from the UK joined us a couple of days before the end. My Uncle Alan, brother Richard and his partner, Jason. They came to see the show and then we would vacationing with us in Pattaya.
We only had an evening show on the final day in Bangkok, so we had some time to see a couple of sights with our family.
Our hotel offered boat service up the river to catch another boat to the Grand Palace. Knowing how bad the traffic in Bangkok was, this seemed like the best idea. Once off the two boats it was a short walk to the palace.
The Wat Phra Kaew, also know as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace are situated together. The ornate buildings and statues are spectacular. Unlike anything I’ve seen before. The palace is no longer used as a residence, but is used for ceremonial occasions.
We walked for about 10 minutes and visited the Reclining Buddha. The huge Buddha is 46 meters long, guilted in gold and takes up nearly the entire chapel. You walk the entire way around it. Another very impressive sight.
Bangkok closed that evening and the following day we were leaving for our family vacation.