From Cork in Ireland, to Heathrow in London and from there to Mumbai in India and finally about to land in mesmeric Bangkok in beautiful Thailand. As the plane descends from high altitude and after many, many hours of flying. I glance out of the window as we approach the Bangkok airport. Scattered islands surrounded by the sea, beautiful trees and soft green paddy fields crisscrossed by canals and I knew I was going to love my first journey into the East. Mesmeric.
The puff of smoke as the aircraft’s wheels touch the runway, the sigh of relief to be on the ground again.The fierce braking and the shuddering deceleration. Then the slow glide into the terminal. I was spellbound at the majesty of it, so beautiful and a very impressive piece of architecture . Once collecting our baggage and passing through customs, just seconds before exiting the terminal I happened to catch the eye of an immaculately attired Thai gentleman who was to well mannered to try and hinder us. I stopped the wife who was miles ahead of me, as they have a tendency to do, with a bellowed,” hey wait.” Little did either of us know but we were about to encounter a magical experience in mesmeric Bangkok and magical Thailand.
Getting sorted in magical Bangkok.
Once through customs my personal need for a cigarette, had reached awesome proportions. Luckily smokers are catered for in this great place, albeit in separate smokers only rooms, thanks be to God. A fine bunch of people are smokers, but that is only my opinion, fortified by most of these heavily compromised people. I got in a quick two and in fine fettle once again went to catch up with the wife who was shaking her head and muttering about that ghastly habit. Never fear, I’m used to it.
Trudge, trudge, trudge, the endless walk, dicing with the luggage and when will it ever end. I never ever realised that Bangkok was such a major airport and city. How little did I know. Stopping for a quick chat the wife asked me what I thought of the women? I said I hadn’t noticed (wink). To which she replied, “but they are so petite and beautiful.” “Well they would load the gateway to Thailand with a bunch of stunners,” was my reply.
So back to the immaculately attired Thai gentleman. He asked,”where are you going?” So we gave him the name of a hotel which somebody had given us but which we were not booked into. “Whooo-eee, impossible to find accommodation in Thailand, this time of the year.”Seeing both our faces drop. ” Lets see what I can do.”A quick clap clap of his hands and somebody was onto our luggage. ” No worries, relax, is safe, he look after it for you.”
Jabbering away on his cellphone, he then put it away and began organising our trip. Hotel, taxi, travel agent and guided tour of Bangok, all paid for then and there. Please sit down and have some tea while you await your taxi. It came, a Mercedes and we were whisked of to the hotel. I’m so pleased we met this gentleman and more importantly, to be so spoiled and to witness manners at their best. I knew again, I was going to enjoy my time here.
The taxi ride to the hotel.
Nightmarish traffic in Bangkok.
The travel agent we bumped into at the airport, had arranged for us to take a quick guided tour around Bangkok and right on time our guide arrived with taxi driver in tow and here is what we did.
First stop on guided tour of Bangkok.
RTS travel agency.
Once again we experienced magical Thai manners beginning with our tour guide who explained to us prominent parts of Thailand including the King’s palace. Very knowledgeable she was to, being a lawyer who was taking a sabbatical to try something new and different. So in typical Bangkok traffic we arrived at the travel agency and once more I was spellbound by their courtesy and smiling, informed service.
When my wife informed them we were thinking of going to Ko Phi Phi. It began again,“whooee, very difficult to find accommodation in Phi Phi this time of year. Let’s see what we can do.” I had to start smiling and before I knew it tea and water were being offered and our trip was being assembled, including taxi drive to airport, another awaiting taxi in Phuket to take us to the ferry terminal, tickets for the ferry and our accommodation. Each particular part sealed in an envelope and numbered so we wouldn’t mix them up and easy to find. The same for our return journey. Amazing.
In amongst all this we were chatting about where we came from and also having some good laughs. I loved it, it was so enthralling to be spoilt again. I mean really spoiled.
Not officially part of our Bangkok tour.
Stop two. James fashion Bangkok.
This was not part of our tour but we had managed to sweet talk our guide into taking us there. The reason being our son had been there a year earlier and had a suit hand made and tailored for him. My wedding suit which still fitted me 17 years after our marriage had been stolen when our house was burgled in Zimbabwe and I had never bought another. It was about time so we just wanted to case it out and I’m glad we did.
Once again, typical Thai service. I think we must have got the best salesperson there, as we went in to get one suit and came out with two, plus a knee length coat for me and one for the wife. According to the salesperson, they had huge discounts if we did it this way. Also included in this were two shirts and ties. The suits, shirts,coats were all made from material of your own selection and a wide choice there was.Late evening we went back for fittings and then everything was hand delivered to our hotel room at 12:30 that night. Moreover all our travelling to and from James fashion was free, courtesy of his fleet of min-vans. Once again a memorable experience.
Third stop on our tour of Bangkok.
The Temple of the reclining Buddha.
Prior to entering the temple we had to remove our shoes and whilst doing this I said with twinkling turquoise eyes,“but I have smelly socks.” She gave me a thoroughly bewildered look and a shake of her head. Exasperated, my wife said,“just ignore him.” Whereupon the guide beamed me a radiant smile and said,“smelly socks is OK but no shoes.”Ah, when Irish eyes are smiling, sure the whole world smiles with you.
Apparently Buddha has many different poses and in each one he is contemplating something different. As best my memory serves, here he is resting or reclining. It was a fascinating experience and a lovely temple with beautiful tapestries and each one tells a story along the lines of a sort of bible in pictures. Once again we got lucky here as later on in our tour here I managed to get a photo of all the monks coming into the complex from their monastery. Beautiful.
My photo’s of the temple of the reclining Buddha.
Fourth stop on our tour of Bangkok.
Dragon boat ride through the river people.
Our first stop here was another Buddhist temple. Because the monks believe in the sanctity of all life, no fishing is allowed outside of any of these temples. So we bought some bread from them and started feeding the fish. At first I thought our guide was pulling my leg, but once I had tossed the first piece of bread overboard, a seething mass of fish appeared, so many that they caused their own waves and whirlpools. Fascinating and another magical experience. I’m going to show it all to you again in pictures because that is the format I prefer using best.