Due to slow and heavy afternoon traffic, the return trip to Bangkok took five hours. About 6 o’clock I was back at Mo Chit, Bangkok’s Northern bus station. From there I took a tuk-tuk to the Mo Chit Skytrain station, about 2 km away. Just when I was entering the station, they close the gates just in front of me and after that they only let people coming out, not in. My first thought was that now the fighting between the Red Shirts and the police and army has broken out. So what to do? I had to go for plan B. Instead of Skytrain, I walked to the nearby Subway station, Chatuchak Park. From there I travelled by the subway back to Sukhumvit Rd. Once again, I see a closed Skytrain station, this time the Asoke station, so I walk down the Sukhumvit, the 2 km to Nana. When I came back to my room, I turned on my TV and tried to found out what really happened. But, booth BBC and CNN has nothing to report.
Except for last Saturday, the weather has been sunny and hot. But this morning I wake up to rain and thundershowers. Because of yesterdays trip, I am little bit tired and lazy. So this day became mostly, a day of rest and relax. At the noon it started to dry up. But I stayed most of the time in my room. I only went out for some eating. Also the Skytrain was closed down the whole day.
The sunny and hot weather is back again. In my hunt after attractions here in Bangkok which I don’t visit or seen before takes me to the River City Shopping Mall, a place which I have been passing many times, but never visited. But before I had some problems to get there. Today the Skytrain was working again, but only the Sukhumvit Line. When I arrived to Siam, I discovered that the Silom Line was closed. So plan B again. Skytrain back to Sukhumvit road again and this time to Asoke, there I could change to the Subway and go to Hualamphong, Bangkok’s main railway station and from there I had to take a taxi to the waterfront. The River City Mall is situated along the Chao Phrya River in the middle of the complex of the luxury hotels. But I must say the River City Mall was a really big disappointment, much empty spaces and 9 out of 10 shops were art or antic shops and when I was there it was rather empty of persons. It really gave a sad and gloomy impression. I continued to walk North along the river and finally I came to Marine Department pier and there I have been before. I decide to go to the Riverview Gueathouse. The Riverview is situated outside a bend of the Chao Phrya River and from their rooftop bar, offer a gorgeous panorama view over the river. I find it amazing that this guesthouse still exist. It is a wonder that no luxury hotel chain bought this place and converted this guesthouse to a luxury hotel. The view over the river is really unbeatable, the very finest in Bangkok. I stay there most of the afternoon and admire the view. On my way back to Sukhumvit Rd, I had to go exactly the same way as I used before. This time I noticed that the subway train did not stop at Sala Daeng station. This station is situated just under the Red Shirts barricade at Silom and Rama IV Roads. Finally when I arrive to Sukhumvit subway station and when I was on my way to the nearby Asoke Skytrain station, for the third time this week, the station close down just in front of me. Once again I walk down the 2 km to Nana.
Once again a sunny and a very hot day and I don’t feel that I have the real motivation to do anything special. So it became very much a day off and I stayed the whole day along the Sukhumvit Rd.
I feel that my Thai vacation is running out, I know that I am on overtime now, but something more I feel that I want to achieve. Once again I look on the map after attractions that I not visited before, I decide to go to Vimanmek Palace, which is said to be the biggest building in world, build in teak tree. On my way by the skytrain, I notice when I passed Siam station that the Silom line was working again. However I continued to follow the Sukhumvit line to the Victory Monument station. I am not sure, but I think this monument comes from the Second World War. There I have to take a taxi to the Vimanmek Palace. After some problem with the entrance, I finally came inside the big park there the Vimanmek is only one of several other building with royal history. The Vimanmek is made in entire teak tree and is about 110 years old. It was a big disappointment that I have to leave my camera in deposit before I joined the guided tour. Later I tried to at least have some photo of the building from the outside, but I must say that the most of the palace was hidden behind dense vegetation or other buildings. Later I continued my walk through the park, I looked at some other royal buildings and finally I came to the royal elephant stables, which nowadays is converted to a museum. On my way out from the park, I came to the Dusit Zoo, which I seen before and I must say that the zoo really have improved during the years. My first visit here fore some 13-14 years ago was a really gloomy experience, lot of cages and steel bars. Today’s zoo has improved a lot, much of the bars and cages are gone, now is it much more open air. Sadly to say, but Thai people seems to be very little interested of the animals. When Thai people coming here is it mostly for recreation, eat and drink and let their children play in different playgrounds. Dusit Zoo is more like a amusement park, there the animals become secondary. On my way out from the zoo, I passed the Chitlada Palace, which is the Thai king’s private palace and home. On my way south, I came into the area that include several ministries and authorities. It was also here; the earlier protests and demonstrations from the Red Shirts took part. I continued to follow the Ratchadamnoen Rd southward. Now everything is calm, the Red Shirts are gone. I see some military and some police guarding the area. At the end of the Ratchadamnoen Rd, I came to the Phan Fa Bridge, which was the main gathering point for the reds before. The bridge is really tiny; I guess that most people who coming here don’t see that it are a bridge. But the bridge is a huge junction, I guess that six to eight roads melting down here to a huge crossroad. A stop in the traffic here means immediately traffic chaos. I visit the nearby Wat Saket, the Golden Mount, a place I visited before fore 20 years ago. I remember Wat Saket as a very quiet and peaceful place. Now it is different, now there is a souvenir shop inside the temple. I continue my walk, now I walk eastwards and soon coming to the Democracy Monument, another place which there clashes between police, army and the red shirts took part for some weeks ago and some 25 people died. Now I am close to Banglamphu, so I continue my walk via Khao San Rd to Soi Rambutri, there I have some beers in a restaurant and have a short rest, I am all wet, I have been out far to long time. After 1,5 litres of beer, I don’t have so much more power for further more exploring, so I go to the nearby Phra Athit pier and after that I have insured myself that the skytrain working, I take the express boat to Saphan Thaksin and for a change the station don’t close their gates just in front of me. After this rather long day, I go to bed early.
On this day I wake up rather early, but stay in bed until 9 o’clock, mostly because that my favourite restaurant don’t open until then. After I had my breakfast, I decide to go up the Sukhumvit for buying some books. The bookstore that I had I my mind, it turns out don’t exist any longer, so I continue walking upwards. When I came close to Asoke, I noticed that the police and army had taken positions along the Sukhumvit Rd. I must say that it felt very creepy. For long time I have been used to have the conflict between the Red Shirts and the police and army on a long distance. Now the conflict has coming much closer. Later in the afternoon, I follow the TV-news about a clash northeast of Bangkok; near Don Mueang, there one soldier was reported to be killed.
Home going day. This is my last day here in Bangkok and Thailand; at least I think it is. With earlier occurrences in fresh mind, maybe, I should be little bit careful with what I say, I am not out yet. After that I had my breakfast, I went to Sukhumvit Rd for a last look at the street side market. I didn’t find anything of interest. Back in my room, I slowly started to collect and sort my luggage. I also finish the work with this trip journal. Later in the afternoon I have to go to the laundry shop and receiving some clothes, then my luggage will be completed. In the early evening I go out for a last dinner and after that, about 9 o’clock pm, I checkout from the Rajah Mansion and go by taxi to Suvarnabhumi Airport.