RELAX IN THAILAND Bangkok in August

Relax in Bangkok

Relax in Thailand

Bangkok in August

Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand. A vibrant and lively city which never seemed to sleep.  Although I only had the opportunity to spend three days here, I feel we made the most of the trip.

Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country and as such, the people are tolerant and accepting of others no matter what their religion and/or culture. Buddhists believe enlightenment can be achieved by hard work, good behaviour along with meditation. They value compassion over selfishness and I felt these beliefs were evident with every interaction we had with the locals.

From the moment we arrived, we felt so welcome here. The custom greeting in Thailand is called the wai. This is when the palms of the hands are pressed together like in prayer as the person slightly bows. Everyone still wears a surgical mask currently, although this is advised and not enforced, and unfortunately this does prevent you from seeing the big beaming smiles that usually accommodate such a wonderful and respectful greeting. Although we felt some awkwardness about knowing whether or not we should return this greeting, my son immensely enjoyed bowing back and this seemed to be very well received. 

Before travel to  Bangkok dont forget to check

Your Pocket Nurse Health Advice for Travellersyour pocket nurse

Throughout our stay here, we found people were very keen to talk to us. This was never followed up by any kind of request, or attempt to drag us into a shop or tuc-tuc/taxi, only seemed to come from a genuine wish to know you and to spend a few minutes finding out more about your life.

Buda TempleAlthough we visited Thailand in August, this is normally the start of the rainy season which runs between July – October. We were very fortunate in Bangkok not to have any rain at all. It was hot though, mid thirties with minimal breeze to be found in the city. That along with the busy traffic made walking very far pretty uncomfortable. We were delighted to find the Metro was not only very easy to navigate, but also incredibly well air-conditioned so we used this a lot over our three day stay.  During a trip to a local Thai market, we also found these quite comfortable. With barely space in between shops and stands to walk, this space was kept cool by all the open fronted shops blasting out their air-con. Not particularly environmentally friendly, but definitely more pleasant to walk through than the bigger city streets. 

Another difficulty when walking around Bangkok is the traffic. The roads are insanely busy and the motorbikes/scooters make even the pavements treacherous at times. Although there are pedestrian crossings everywhere, do not presume a green light means it is safe for you to cross, as these are seldom adhered to. Bikes here even seem to zoom up and down pavements and along tiny market walkways, in the opposite direction to the traffic.  Obviously this alone was quite baffling to witness, but what I found particularly shocking was how it seemed to contrast with the behaviour of the locals that were not on the roads. As I said above, the Thai people were so respectful and polite, but seem to undergo a huge personality change when in a car or on a bike. 

There is so much to do in Bangkok. There is good shopping available from modern malls with all the famous brands, to the local markets. There is a Sea Life Centre which was one of the best I have seen, and Safari World was well worth a visit if you have children.  We also visited Wat Pho, home of the famous 46m Reclining Buddha, an absolutely beautiful example of a Buddhist Temple and definitely worth a visit (for those concerned about dress-codes, they do provide a long skirt and a shawl for women to slip on over their short-shorts/vest tops).  

46m reclining Buddha
46m reclining Buddha

If running is your thing, I recommend basing yourself a short run/walk away from Lumphini Park. Around 7am, this park is full of people running along its fantastic tracks, groups of people running classes on the grassed areas. During the heat of the day, this park was nearly empty, but it is a fantastic exercise area early in the morning before it gets too hot and although there are plenty of people about, the running tracks are large enough to have your own space. It was also very beautiful, with multiple lakes, well kept greens, mature trees and surrounded by the cities skyscrapers.  The park is also full of Water Monitors, which my son was particularly fascinated with and could have happily sat there watching them for hours.

There is a good variety of foods too, with local cuisine and plenty of western alternatives for the less brave. I shamefully admit that I stayed clear of any street food, not from a lack of bravery or even curiosity, but purely because I knew I still had seven more flights to sit through after my time in Bangkok was over, and I wasn’t willing to end up with a dodgy tummy and a lit seat-belt sign. We had one particularly memorable meal at the Octave Rooftop Lounge and Bar where we had an incredible open topped meal on the 45th floor whilst watching a distant thunder storm. 

 Octave Rooftop Lounge and Bar

We chose a hotel that provided a child-sitting service which we made use of for one of the nights. We couldn’t go to Bangkok without visiting their red light districts, and we ended up having a fantastic time.  Like Amsterdam, these areas were bustling places filled with both potential customers and tourists interested purely in people-watching. We had a fantastic time sitting in an outside bar watching the goings-on around us.  Every few steps you are beckoned to come inside by a group of girls (hopefully), but a polite smile and shake of the head was enough for them to call out to the people behind you instead. We even had dinner here, and Soi Cowboy provided me with one of the best burgers I have ever eaten. What really surprised be, not only in the red light district but everywhere we went in Thailand, was how honest they are about prices. When opening a tab and ordering food and a round of drinks, we were provided with the receipt. With every subsequent order, this receipt was updated so you could very clearly keep an eye on what you are spending.  Prices are very reasonable, with cocktails equating to around £4 or £5 a drink.

Phra Nang beachAfter a busy three days in Bangkok we were ready for some chill time. We caught a flight to Krabi down on the west coast. From the airport we were met by a driver from the hotel, who transported us to the pier and from there we got on a boat which delivered us literally to the hotel reception at Railay Beach. A short plane journey and an incredible quick and efficient hotel transfer system, meant we had arrived by lunchtime.  Travelling always seems so much simpler and more efficient when in South East Asia. Airports are quiet, passport controls are a breeze and I swear they must have a trek-like transporter system to get your bags to you the instant you disembark the plane.

Relax in Thailand Bangkok in August

The rainy season had caught up with us slightly and along with some serious torrential rain, we had a pretty much constant drizzle on that first day. The second day was mostly dry except for a few hours in the morning.  However, it did not spoil our time at all as we spent nearly the entire time swimming in the sea anyway and were grateful we didn’t get too burnt as I think we probably would have done if it had been as hot as when we were in Bangkok.  Railay beach and Phra Nang beach a 15 minute walk away, were both absolutely stunning. Beautiful white sand, surrounded by caves, cliffs and rainforest with incredibly warm crystal clear waters and distant chattering monkeys.

Railay beachIf we had had the opportunity, we could easily have kept busy for a full week. There were kayaks available to hire and areas to snorkel.  There are a multitude of exertions available to book including visiting Phi-Phi Island amongst many others, and the area is also famous for climbing. 

There were endless places to eat near Railay beach, all situated down a side street so when standing on the practically empty beach, you could easily imagine you are the only people for miles.  Although we were only there for 1 1/2 days, the beauty of that place will remain with me always and although I never want to visit the same place twice, when there are so many other places I am desperate to go, I will very likely make an exception here. 

Thailand… we will be back

Relax in Thailand Bangkok in August
Relax in Thailand Bangkok in August

If you like our Relax articles don’t miss the follow :