Having never been to Thailand I didn’t know what awaited me.
So after hours and hours of travelling, we finally reached our hotel by Nana Station called The Landmark Hotel. The hotel was lovely; very grand with rather old-fashioned décor and a lot of gold plated furnishings and extravagant whirls. They located us on the 25th floor, so the view from our window was absolutely breathtaking – Bangkok’s city skyline with dramatic skies – a perfect postcard!
Drinks at Red Sky Bar (less touristy)
Red Sky Bar is an open-air restaurant on the 55th floor of a plush hotel. It wasn’t far from where we were staying and it looked right up my street. The restaurant cuisine was not Thai, but had more of an international side to it, with some French influences in particular. The restaurant was lovely, with mellow music playing and very low-lit light.
Get a foot massage in Nana Plaza.
Nana Plaza is the main site for the ladyboy club convention. This also happens to be the main point of gathering for all the tattooed chavs (if I must), who go to Bangkok for a two-week holiday just to spend their evenings (and, seemingly, nights) in Nana land. As we were walking around in awe, I couldn’t help but think that these girls and boys have had a lot of surgeries done; but why would you spend all that money on your face and boobs just to be a prostitute??! Baffling! Well, I guess they make more money doing what they do, than what they’d earn selling bubble tea.
We stumbled across an exquisite gem; a place in Nana, where they do massages with no (G-)strings attached. This place had professional Thai women dressed in polo t-shirts: What a calming look for an anxious British eye, as you don’t get a lot of that in Nana plaza! An hour foot massage was 200 Baht, which is £4 (52 Baht is £1 at the current exchange rate, so you do the maths), so we decided to pop in for a treat. And what a treat it was! As we reclined on the leather pedicure chairs, closed our eyes and let them do what they do best – give massages… it was divine, and I intend no blasphemy!
Get a private boat to the temples and the smaller floating market.
However, it was not the floating market, which you see in all the pictures! Initially, we thought we had got bumped, but it was later explained to us that the other, rather busy-looking market is actually located outside Bangkok.
This floating market was a local market where all the locals were having their Sunday lunch, although they were not quite like the ones we have back home – more Thai-style. We bought some dragon/lychee fruit, some banana pudding things wrapped in banana leaves and a sticky mango rice pudding. As you can tell by my purchases, I wasn’t feeling particularly adventurous that afternoon when it came to my food and trying out new things. After a short half an hour stop off our private captain dropped us off at the Royal Grand Temple.
Another piece of advice: make sure you are wearing something that covers your shoulders! I had to rent a shirt as my scarf was not efficient cover!
We got a guide named Jackie, who was a butch Thai lady – we debated whether she was indeed a woman or a man. Jackie had been working there for 21 years and, in spite of all that experience (or, maybe, because of all that experience), she guided us through on autopilot. It just all poured out of her without full stops, commas or exclamation marks, a little bit like my unedited content! After a short while, I stopped listening to her and just enjoyed the views and took plenty of pictures.
It was all very beautiful and so detailed, but my breath was not taken away by it all for some reason. I really wanted to go and get a massage done at the Thai Massage School, and to see the huge Buddha inside the other temple.
Don’t get scammed like we did!
As we were walking there, we got stopped by a guy who was being exceptionally friendly and told us that it was not open until 3pm, because the Monks pray and do their thing there until then. He suggested that we go to some other temples and more Buddha statues, and then come back on time for the opening, which was about an hour or so away. He said that all of that would cost us 100 Baht on a tuk tuk (about £2!!), so in spite of me being me, and not trusting this man, I went along and got into the tuk tuk, which was already conveniently waiting for us.
This tuk tuk ride was my first experience of a tuk tuk, the driver was an old Thai man who was definitely a veteran in the tuk tuk game. He indicated and drove very sensibly, I felt like I was being chauffeured in a Phantom… or gently blown away on a puffy cloud… or being lulled by the ocean waves. You get my drift; not at all like the crazy tuk tuk rides I have been hearing about, to my delight!
Our tuk tuk man told us in that ingenious we-don’t-speak-each-others-language-but-i-will-make-you-understand sign language that he needed to stop somewhere before he dropped us off back at the reclining Buddha, so we went along with that. Random mini-adventure?! SIGN ME UP.
As the tuk tuk driver shot off to carry out his errands, we got out of the tuk tuk into a street, which looked like the protesters’ district; there were only Thai people there; no tourists, apart from the two of us.
People were making loads of noise, some were queuing up, getting some slush puppy-like desserts and not paying for them, so as the self-proclaimed Freebie Queen I made sure we were having some of that! When we queued up, everybody was looking at us like we are aliens, but they welcomed us with a smile anyway and gave us generous portions of the crushed ice and pink syrup dessert. It was delicious!
To add to all of that, as we were walking around, people asked if they could take selfies with us; we felt like celebrities, standing there posing with our pink slush puppies and giving the thumbs up to the camera.
When we finally got to the reclining Buddha, we found out that it had been open since 8.30am *insert not so impressed emoji here* I knew we got scammed, but it was a fairly cheap and a quite pleasant scam, so I wasn’t mad!
Get a massage at the Watpo Thai Traditional Massage School
The Reclining Buddha was special. I went in by myself, and I was completely in awe of this giant, reclining, gold, shining Buddha. It felt sacred there; very calm and peaceful and not heavy, as you would sometimes get in some of the places of worship. Out of all of them, this Buddha was the only Buddha which was worth seeing for me. I took a couple of pictures, said a few prayers, took one last glance at the truly inspiring golden statue, and was ready to go and get the legendary massage done at the Thai massage school within the grounds.
By this point, we were short for time as we had a train to catch to Koh Samui later that evening, so I just treated myself to a half-hour Thai massage for 260 baht (£5!!) My spine clicked like bubble wrap… Ahhh! All sacred and secular needs now satisfied, I was ready for our journey to Koh Samui.
THE BEST PAD THAI – EVER – CHEAP AF too.
However, before we went, we had to hit the town to try the most epic, legendary Pad Tai in Bangkok, at Thip Samai which I had researched on the Lonely Planet guide. This place had a queue and it was full of locals, and we again were the only tourists there. I felt like I hit the jackpot!
I ordered the original Pad Thai, and boy was it delicious. I am no Pad Thai specialist, but I sure am a foodie, and this was finger-licking good. All for 60Baht, may I add!? Lovely jubbly!!
Bellies full, we headed down to the train station to get our sleeper train to Koh Samui. I was prepared for this part of our trip, as I essentially grew up on sleeper trains; we used to get them quite a lot when I was younger. We got a first class cabin with only two beds and a sink. A very attentive guy came to our cabin and put the top bunk up. I slept from the time we set off at 7.30pm until 6.30amthe next morning; one of my personal sleep records. I woke up feeling so refreshed and ready for the next leg of our adventure.
Luxury Sustainable Travel & Vegan Lifestyle Blogger. I encourage people to make better choices in life by staying at eco-friendly hotels, eating a more plant-based diet and using cruelty-free make-up and conscious fashion.