Believe it or not, I actually managed to see a few cultural sights (and W.T.F.s) in addition to the numerous hotels, planes and airport lounges.
Hopefully you can all get some ideas for your trips to Bangkok
Bangkok, and to a certain extent all of Thailand, seems to be interminably embroiled in a state of political chaos.
I previously lived in Bangkok during the 2010 red shirt protests and was hopeful that the current bout of unrest, would be somewhat less menacing. The yellow shirts are fewer in number and have far more to lose than red shirts, so their protests tend to maintain more of a peaceful veneer.
The first thing I noticed, was how completely deserted the road was between BKK and Lumphini. As we approached the city, the reason for this became clear:
There were blockades all over the major roads of the city. They seemed like more of an annoyance than anything. There was nothing really stopping you from getting out of your car and moving the barriers away. It's just that nobody really wanted the hassle.
People seemed to be constantly confused by the barriers though. Like they weren't aware that they were actually going to be able to physically block their vehicles. As you can see in the picture, there were lots of close calls between cars, although I didn't see any actual mayhem. It was mostly just a bit of slapstick driving. Standard in this part of the World anyway.
It was strange to see Asoke junction and all of Sukhumvit shut down, although there really weren't many people actually watching the speeches. It seemed like more than anything, these protests served to pedestrianise large swathes of Bangkok and turn them into food and t-shirt markets.
On my first full day, I decided to explore the area near the Sofitel. First I went to Wat Hua Lamphong. Where you could see:
After killing time in the temple I walked over to my main destination for the day but not before another follow up W.T.F. moment:
I can just imagine the meeting now.
"we need a spokesperson, a mascot even, something that really shows that we are a cutting edge mobile phone company"
"what about an inflatable, muscular, anthropomorphic lion with an enormous blue propeller protruding from his rectum?"
"I like it!"
Anyway. After a few minutes walk I arrived at my destination
No, not a secret Aman in the centre of Bangkok.
This is the wonderfully opulent, Bangkok snake hospital. Where you can visit a fully functioning snake farm.
It transpires that a snake farm is a place where they raise venomous snakes in order to extract their venom and inject it into horses, who are immune to snake venom - due to their ability to create antibodies. These antibodies are then extracted from the horses and used to treat human snakebite victims.
One of the coolest snakes was this aquatic chap.
I watched him catch a fish and after a while I continued on to a live demonstration of snake "milking", done inside the hospital building.
When I returned, he looked not dissimilar to how I would end up looking aboard my NH F flight, a few days later:
The following day I headed to some of the more usual tourist sights.
Wat Saket (golden mount temple) had some awesome gardens on the walk up.
If you've read this far, here's a treat: More hotel and food related photos. I decided to try out the Intercontinental buffet, having heard that the selection was amazing. The hotel itself was very grand, the Sofitel was much more to my taste but the Intercontinental definitely looked decent:
The selection of food was indeed amazing. My favourite part was the foie gras counter, where they would pan fry fresh foie gras and deliver it to your table. There was also a waygu beef carvery and a sushi counter, with fresh nigiri, rolls and sashimi made to order.
The best part of this buffet, aside from the phenomenal service and delicious food, was the surprise when I asked for the cheque.
I was told by the super friendly hostess that they were currently running a promotion which discounts the buffet by 50%. So all that food... cost about $25!
Whilst we're on the subject of food, I've got to say that the food court at MBK always hits the spot:
After all that, I think you're all about ready to see a real dessert:
A sign of things to come in Japan.