After we crossed the border from Cambodia into Thailand we headed straight for Bangkok, craving city life, ancient architecture and a little bit of pampering.
We also had a few practical things to organise: things that needed replacing, tickets to book and plans to make. But the biggest one was to get a visa for India, where we planned to return later in the trip.
We instantly failed on that one. Having gone through the rigmarole of filling out extensive Indian forms, having new photos printed and finding the Indian embassy and being redirected to another office we were met with a blank face. Apparently it is only possible for Thai nationals to get an Indian visa in Bangkok now, all foreigners must apply for an online visa, something we didn’t even know existed. So yes, epic fail. New plan required.
A little dejected, we jumped in a taxi across town to Soi Rambuttri which would be our home for the week. We’d seen lots of locals wearing yellow and blue t-shirts that said Bike For Dad on them and gathered it must be some kind of event.
Very quickly we found out that it was indeed an event, a bike ride in honour of the King, and it was on that day (11th December) and the whole of Thailand seemed to be participating and lots of roads were closed to make way for the cyclists. Of course it was all the roads in a two mile radius of where we wanted to go that were closed! Our poor taxi driver tried every route she could think of but each one ended in a barrier with police men telling us to turn around.
Bangkok was testing us on our first day. We had to walk for the last two kilometres to our hotel in the midday heat with our backpacks on through crowded street and cyclists. Brutal.
But, finally, thankfully, we made it to Rambuttri and luckily we’d treated ourselves to a swimming pool! It’s where I stayed last time I was in Bangkok in 2012, it’s a little walking street near to Khao San road, it’s still very touristy but much more chilled than Crazy Khao San and you’re more likely to get some sleep.
So, we settled in, saw an amazing sunset and started our wanderings, sightseeing and eating…