Last Few Days
It was a lazy start to our last day in Chiang Rai as the songthaew was due at 11:30am. We met for a leisurely breakfast at 9am then relaxed till it arrived.
It was a squeeze getting all the bikes in but we managed and squeezed ourselves in as well. The flight left pretty well on time and arrived 15 minutes early. The bags and bikes were through quickly and there was a man with a sign waiting for us.
We had to wait a little while for our van to arrive and it was fairly fast traffic back to the Loy La Lang hotel. We checked back into the same room and made ourselves at home.
I had found a revolving restaurant in Chinatown that looked to be a good spot for dinner. It was about a 15 minute walk there and we caught the lift up to the 25th floor. There was a pianist playing and it didn't seem to busy.
We were given a table for four and made the most of the views across Bangkok as the restaurant slowly revolved. We ignored the western menu and sought out the Thai one, choosing a range of dishes. The servings were fairly small but tasty and the pork and chicken dishes were quite spicy.
We enjoyed the views across the river and then towards the Grand Palace and wat Arun. We detoured back via the coconut ice-cream stall I remembered on Yarowat road. Being a Saturday night, the street was packed and it was slow moving with the crowd.
We had dedicated Sunday to seeing the main sights of Bwngkok. Knowing that the Grand Palace was going to be crowded and hot, we took the take away option for breakfast and left the hotel just before 8am to head to the river and catch the orange flag ferry. It was all very straightforward and we turned up at the Palace as the gates were opening and throngs of people poured across the road and through the entrance. We followed a little later once we had attached the bottoms of our shorts so we were all dressed appropriately in long pants.
We opted for the audio tour and worked our way around the complex together with the masses of people. It was definitely worth it to see the emerald Buddha and the amazing mosaics, temples, paintings and sculptures.
Next stop was the nearby Wat Pho to see the reclining Budda and wander through the grounds. We then headed back to the river to catch a ferry downstream. It turned out that the nearest pier was to cross the river and it was a bit of a walk to the pier we had arrived at.
However, we worked out we could cross the river and pick up the orange flag ferry from Wat Arun which worked well. We enjoyed our "cruise" to the end of the line as the ferry gradually emptied.
We hopped off then back onto a ferry to return to pier 15 where I had spotted a likely looking lunch spot, Steve's cafe which overlooked the river and had good reviews.
It was worth it though as the food was excellent and we particularly enjoyed the massaman chicken and fishcakes. The chicken and cashews was also good and Jonno's favourite was the minced pork.
We didn't have to wait long for the orange ferry. It must have been peak hour as the ferry was full and continued to take on more people at each stop. By the time we needed to get off it was almost impossible to make our way through the crowds.
Off the boat with a sigh of relief, the kids went straight back to the hotel whilst Simon and I detoured via Sampeng lane to see the market in action. There was lots and lots of stuff but nothing worth buying so it was a quick stroll.
Back at the hotel we rested a while, making the most of the air conditioning. Around 8pm we headed out again in search of more food. We made our way back to Yarowat Road, not really sure what we felt like.
We had been watching the queues next to the coconut ice-cream stall the night before, commenting on how we wouldn't be prepared to spend ages queuing for the food at the restaurant next door as it had the longest queue we had seen.
Tonight the queue was only a few people long, so we joined it and had delicious pork noodle soup for dinner followed by the inevitable coconut ice-cream, our last one in Thailand.
We arranged for breakfast at 9am and were pretty well packed by then we enjoyed breakfast by the river. We felt like experts as we watched the ferries pass knowing a little more about how they operated.
Today was about the metro and BTS sky train as we visited Jim Thompson's house. We caught the metro at Hua Phalong then changed to the BTS and really enjoyed the elevated view over Bangkok. Fortunately we didn't have to wait long for a tour and heard the story of how J Thompson established the Thai silk industry and created his six houses before disappearing in the Malaysian jungle at age 61.
Our final stop was to visit a shopping mall in search of earphones for Georgia. We didnt find any earphones but found a Thai food court where we enjoyed Tom yum soup and pineapple shakes in the air conditioning.
We took the same route back to the hotel and just had time for a quick shower before heading to the airport for our flight home (currently delayed so we are still waiting to board).