We wanted to see a different side to Bangkok so before we flew out we put a message out to people on Couchsurfing to people in Bangkok’s more central city area- Chitlom to Silom areas. Couchsurfing is where people offer to host others for free in order to meet new people, learn about different cultures or are just generous enough to offer space in their homes to travellers that need somewhere to stay. We had seen Couchsurfing being used by a number of people whose travel vlogs we followed so decided to give it ago. It has become quite a developed community and the idea is that we pay the generosity forward in the future to travellers that might need somewhere to stay. We got accepted by a man called Will Lewis on Couchsurfing who agreed to host us for two nights, although he actually let us stay three nights in the end.
We were a bit sceptical at first as we had not used it before but we couldn’t have been luckier with it. We walked from Pratnum Pier Khlong boat stop about 20 minutes where we were meeting Will for dinner at a restaurant called Tummy Yummy near his place. He was a lovely man and we had great conversation about what he did and our trip over a great meal. He actually treated us to dinner which we were very grateful for as he was obviously putting us up as well. He then took us to his place which was an incredible 3 bedroom flat which he had just moved into. We had our own bedroom with a balcony with an amazing view looking out at all the skyscrapers in Bangkok. We also had our own bathroom with a lovely powerful hot water shower, free drinking water and use of a washer/ dryer. There was even a pool and gym we could use. He gave us keys so we could come and go as we pleased as he was at work the following day.
In the evening we went for a quick walk around Chitlom area where we saw Erwan Shrine- a shrine originally built to ward off bad luck from a nearby hotel. However, it is visited frequently these days due to it being close to a site where a bombing took place in 2015 killing 20 people. We also ventured into CentralWorld- one of about 7 major malls in the city. We were shocked by the size of it with is spreading out over about 16 floors! I can’t handle shopping in our large shopping centres in the UK let alone these.
The following day we explored a number of these malls going to CentralWorld first to set up a local sim for data (good for google maps). This was easy- we went to the AIS stand chose the pre-paid sim we wanted for a month and then the shop assistant set it all up on the phone for us so that the plan was registered. We then wandered around all the different huge malls that are all linked by the sky bridges as well as together. We got very lost at one point trying to get out of the malls to find our way to the street! Dave did get to have a Cinnabon though. We had some good cheap food in MBK’s food court (floor 6). You have to buy a card initially for a certain value then you can purchase food from any of the vendors in there from snacks for 10b to meals up to 150B. At the end you exchange your card back for any money you haven’t spent. We tried yellow curry and jungle curry soups (50B each) although we both found them a bit too flowery and potent. They were also served with a Thai omelette which is a thin plain omelette laid over rice.
After getting out of the malls we found our way back to Will’s to take advantage of the washing machine. We then headed to Lumphini park which is a gorgeous park in the central shopping area. In the centre is a lovely lake which you can walk around or Pedlow on.
The park was vibrant with life- wildlife and people. It was about4/5pm so lots of Thais had finished work and were doing their daily exercise- going for runs or practising sports. The lake (and waterways in this part of Bangkok) are also filled with Asian Water Monitors (big lizards) so we had great fun finding these and watching them. In the evening we spent a long time talking to Will where we ended up having to rush to MBK for dinner (they close at 9 pm). We made it for food although it was definitely on the cold side!
We decided to stay for an extra night at Will’s so that we could head to Chatchuak weekend market. This is a large weekend market held on the northern outskirts of central Bangkok. However, it was easily accessible from our location via the BTS skytrain. This also meant we got to try a new mode of transport. Like all public transport in Bangkok, this was easy to use. There is a map of stops at the station, which has the fare for each stop. Then you simply select the fare you want for your stop, put money in and get your ticket. All you have to do then is go through the ticket barrier and find the right platform for the direction you are going. To get to the weekend market we had to get off at Mo Chit station and walk a couple of minutes with the other masses of people to the market. We headed their earlier leaving Chitlom at 9 am as we heard it gets very busy.
We walked around the market for a couple of hours it is mainly food, clothing and knick knacks for tourists. There is a live animal section as well where vendors are selling pets, fish etc. but this is really just for the locals. We hunted out a hat for me and elephant pants for both of us for a reasonable price but if we had continued inside the market a bit more we would have got them cheaper (always the way). It is definitely not a place you can spend the whole day so we headed back to Chitlom on the Skytrain had lunch and then chilled out using the pool because…why not!
We left Will’s the next morning and using the BTS skytrain and the MTR (metro) headed to Hua Lamphong train station to get our train to Ayutthaya.