After our crazy first day in Bangkok, we tried taking it slow on the second day by just visiting one nearby sight, relax in the pool and do a river cruise in the evening.
Waking up late after our exciting Christmas Eve, we picked up some chicken and pork satay skewers from a streetfood stall next to the hotel (which were delicious and cheap) accompanied by refreshing matcha lattes and sat down in the sun by the majestic Chaophraya river. Although we found our hotel – Royal Orchid Sheraton – a bit sterile and characterless, it had amazing views on the river, offered a boat to go to the other side of the river and was right next to Riverside, a small mall with lively cafés outside and the starting point of all the river cruises. As all the ticket shops for the river cruises were closed, we made our way back to the hotel’s ticket office and were recommended the Grand Pearl river cruise (‘Don’t go with the Princess one, there are only Indian tourists on the ship.’, the sales woman advised us).
As we didn’t want to see one more Buddha or temple after our scam sightseeing tour, I decided for us to go to the Jim Thompson House which was praised in our travel guide. Before we made our way there, he asked me several times what is so special about this guy that we have to visit his house… I mean, Jim Thompson was an American architect who pursued his dream living in Thailand and built the house of his dreams that honours Thai architecture. Not only that, he also brought the silk industry in Thailand back to life and mysteriously disappeared in 1967 in the Cameron Highlands. You can only take a look inside the house accompanied by a guide who shows and explains all the little curiosities of the house, such as a traditional Chinese door he collected from Chinatown and some kind of ‘mouse tv’ where he could watch mice run through a labyrinth in his bedroom. Next to the house is a gift shop with silk goods of the Jim Thompson Collection, a restaurant and also a little gallery that displayed provocative photos from Vietnam. The whole place seemed like a little oasis amidst the bustle of a big city and I would highly recommend you to visit it.
After we’ve refreshed ourselves a little in the small hotel pool after the stroll in what felt like 40°C, we got ready for our big night of our river cruise (or so we thought). Lining up for the queue to board the ship, we quickly noticed that 95% of the other passengers were Chinese tourists. These were not particularly our favourite sort of tourists, as they were often pushy, rude, loud and overly keen on photos of everything (sorry for the stereotype). So yes, the sales lady was right – no Indian tourists… I was surprised to see that everyone had started eating from the buffet when we arrived on deck, even though we hadn’t taken off yet. The buffet food and cocktails were lousy and the dessert was quickly finished with nothing left for us. As this river cruise was quite expensive, I expected live music from start to finish, but first they played cover songs off a CD, then there was a solo guitarist (okay, but not impressive) and only at the end there was a live band for about 15-20 minutes. We were disappointed by the overall performance, but it was a great feeling to be on the Chaophraya river and see all the glittering temples by night on Christmas Day.
After these two days in Bangkok and coming from Shanghai, we were just ready for the beach and couldn’t wait to fly to Phuket the next morning…
Have you ever spent Christmas Day in Bangkok? Tell us your story!