Escaping the monsoon storm & living it up in Bangkok!

Apr 06, 2011 | by Jimmy

Neil’s last update left us stranded on Railay. Our planned departure date came and went as we couldn’t get a longtail boat (the only way on & off Railay) as the waves were too dangerous. We therefore missed our coach to Bangkok and had to check back in to the Railay Princess for another night. The following morning we were up at the crack of dawn and despite the relentless rain, the waves on one side of the peninsular were calm enough for us to leave that day. We booked two flights from Krabi to Bangkok for that evening and boarded a longtail boat for what was to become the wettest hour of our lives as we chugged along to Krabi town. We were wearing full waterproofs, but this was no ordinary rain; it was a full blown monsoon storm. We were totally sodden by the time we arrived at Krabi. Once there we parked ourselves in a little cafe (the owner was kind enough to let us hang our drenched clothes over his chairs to dry while he made us hot drinks & food). Six hours later we decided to set off for the airport, a little earlier than we needed to, as we had heard reports that the roads were flooding. Our fears quickly became a reality and nobody in town could get us to the airport; we offered to pay double, we tried to hire a 4x4 or whatever it took to get us through the flooded roads but nobody could get us there (we later found out some parts of the road were 2m under water!). We missed our flight and checked ourselves in to a hotel (costing £3 per night). The town was without electricity and our bags and their contents were as soaked as we were. We managed to call Air Asia on the hotel receptionists mobile phone and they let us reschedule our flights free of charge (which was a relief) and we booked the first possible flight to Bangkok which was in two days time. I was full of flu so spent the following day in bed watching Thai TV and playing on the laptop. We were so worried about not making our flight that we hired a private 4x4 truck to take us to the airport, but the rain let up the night before our flight so our ride was a little over the top (after 4 days of trying to escape the monsoon we didn’t want to leave anything to chance)! The monsoon floods have dominated the news over here; tens of people died in the region we were in, hundreds were ‘missing’ and after we escaped Railay they had to send in the Navy to rescue tourists! We’ve had an unlucky streak of weather with Australia and now this, usually in March the gulf of Thailand only has three days of rain! We finally arrived in Bangkok and checked in to our lovely serviced apartment. It’s been our home for the past week and a very comfortable one at that. We’re having a full buffet breakfast every morning and doing lots of sunbathing at the rooftop pool which has great city views. Our apartment is really nice with a kitchen, big bathroom, bedroom, lounge & balcony. We’re based in the Sukhumvit area and although we’ve never been particularly fond of it (as it’s not very Thai), it’s a very convenient location with a sky train station only a couple of minutes away. Our apartment is on a nice big leafy street with quaint cafes, bakeries, restaurants and little massage parlours. It’s the nicest street we’ve seen in Sukhumvit as most of them are full of brash venues aimed solely at Westerners.

On Sunday we visited the ‘Chatuchak Weekend Market’, an epic market to the magnitude of about 10,000 stalls. We spent a few hours in 38 degree heat wandering around looking at all the crazy stuff everyone was selling (everything from fake Louis Vuittons to bunny rabbits!). We spent most of our time looking at the fashion stalls, artists galleries & homeware. After a few hours we’d had as much as we could take and headed back to the skytrain before we collapsed. It wasn’t the most fruitful trip as we both only made one purchase but we saw a few things we’ll probably go back for next weekend and the experience alone was worth the trip. We’ve spent a lot of time in Bangkok (this is my 11th visit and Neils 8th). We usually stay for 3-5 days so this will be our longest stint at about two weeks. Bangkok is an amazing city, it’s like a living metropolis, brimming with energy and every day feels like an adventure. There is more to see and do here than you could fit in to a lifetime, the food is out of this world and there are more shopping plaza’s than Leeds has shops. It’s a good place to end our trip, we were going to attempt going slightly south to an island called Koh Muk for a week but we decided that we wouldn’t risk it as the monsoon storm is so unpredictable. We’re more than happy in Bangkok, we’re taking the sun whenever we can get it and on cloudy days we’re buying more stuff than we’re going to be able to carry back. We’ve spent a lot of our time perusing the various plazas which as well as shopping, always have big events on; fashion shows, pop concerts and a few days ago we went to the Bangkok Food Fair at Central World.

We’re in shock that we’re coming home in a week, it’s going to require a fair bit of adjustment to go back to normality. Neil will do another blog post before we hit UK soil! Hope all’s well & that you’re all getting excited about seeing us soon!

P.S I currently look like a lobster as I had a little too much sun today, got a few funny looks on the skytrain!!