Claes Johansson Asia 2010 travel blog

The Chatuchak Weekend Market.

Every night small bars pop up on the sidewalk on Sukhumvit Rd.

Most households in Bangkok don’t have kitchen, so street food vendors are...

Soi Cowboy.

Nana Hotel. Here my trip supposed to end, but ……

… continues from here, this is Rajah Mansion.

Red Shirts barricade at Rama I Road.

MBK – MahBoonKrong, a shopping paradise.

Soldiers at Sala Daeng Skytrain station.

Barbed wire at Silom Road.

The Red Shirts barricade made of tyres and bamboo sticks on Rama...

Other side of the Rama IV Road, the police outpost.

An army outpost.

The Pat Pong Road.

Vehicle with water cannon on Pat Pong Road.

Soldiers on Pat Pong Road.

Wat Arun seen from the Chao Phrya River.

Express boat.

Tug boat and barges on the river.

Wat Arun – The temple of dawn.

Soi Rambutri in Banglampu.

Khao San Road – The backpacker street.

The Penny Lane. An indoor lane full of shops.

Nana Entertainment Plaza on Sukhumvit soi 4.

17 April

The flight from Chiang Mai went smooth and I arrived to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi at 11 o’clock. I could not see any sign of disturbances or increased police activity and also the same later when I by taxi travelled to the centre of Bangkok. There were some sort of all kind weather, very cloudy and sometimes it was raining and even some hail. The temperature was according the Thai weather services website, 32°C and a humidity at 64% in Bangkok, compared with Chiang Mai same time was, 40°C and 28% humidity. Well at Sukhumvit Road and the Nana Hotel there I checked in. Now I was back at the same place as when I arrived to Thailand 3 months ago. In the afternoon I had a couple things to do. First to go to the local post office for buying a box, I need to ease my luggage a little bit, but the office was closed due to the Songkran. OK, I can come back later. The second thing to do was to go to an optician, for buying new contact lenses. Third thing to do was to visit the Chatuchak weekend market. Since it is only open during Saturdays and Sundays, I choose to go today. On my way to Chatuchak by the Skytrain, I could shortly see the Red Shirts barricades. My shopping result at Chatuchak became some souvenirs, mostly pictures. The evening I spend to walk around different places and say hello to the few persons I know.

18 April

On this day I wake up early because my room is freezing cold and I feel sick. I have some fever and my stomach is upset. I decide to cancel all outdoor activities and stay in my room and follow the news about the ash cloud and the air traffic chaos. I also try to find out what status my own flight has. In the evening I receive at least some good news, so maybe I can go home at Monday night.

19 April

Monday morning and I feel better, not fully recovered, but better and today I have many things to do. First an early breakfast, the Nana has a very good breakfast buffet. Then I went to my absolutely favourite travel agent here in Bangkok for checking the status of my flight ticket. This travel agent has helped me before with some tricky problems, so I have much confidence for him. After just one short telephone call, he confirms that my flight back to Europe is cancelled. I ask him to try to re-book me. OK then I know that I don’t have to go the airport tonight, good. That’s what frightens me mostly; to be stocked in the transit area and can not go further and not go back. Now I have a hotel room to go back to. The travel agent told me to come back later. So I went to the Nana Post Office, which now was open. But I was immediately directed to another post office a few kilometres up the Sukhumvit Road. After a trip with the Skytrain, I finally came to the Phra Khanong Post Office; there I could buy the box, big enough for my needs. Later in the afternoon I returned to the travel agent. The agent told me that he succeeded to re-book me at the 30:th April, but he was still working with the flight between Zurich and Stockholm. Now I have a completely new situation, instead of 10 hours left here in Thailand, now it is 10 more days. Good to know, but it raises several questions that I have to consider. One thing is my living, so on my way back to Nana Hotel. I made a visit at the Rajah Mansion. The Rajah Mansion is not really a hotel. It offering rooms more on long terms. I told them my situation and asked for a prize. The prize they gave me turned out to be the half compared if I stay at the Nana Hotel. I quickly decide to change to the Rajah Mansion on next day. Another question is my visa, for the moment I am only aloud to stay in Thailand until the 23:rd April. That means that I have to do another visa run.

20 April

After a very good breakfast in the Nana Hotel, I will miss the Nana breakfasts; I went to the local Post office for mailing my box. The box contents mostly souvenirs, but also used clothes, books and some other stuff which I think I can be without. At the noon I checked out from the Nana Hotel and walked the 200 meters to the Rajah Mansions there I checked in. My expressions of the Rajah from earlier stays are that it is a little bit run down, but fully acceptable for living in. But surprise, surprise I was given a rather fresh and cool room on the third floor, not on the hot fourth floor as before. In the afternoon I once again visited the travel agent and now was also my flight between Zurich and Stockholm OK and confirmed. So if the Icelandic volcano don’t mind, then I should be home in the evening of the 30;Th of April.

21 April

On this day I decide to do some shopping, no big shopping, just a toilette bag and a wallet. For the first time I could with own eyes se the Red Shirts on a very close range. Actually I was for a short moment standing in the middle between the Red Shirts on one side and the police and the Thai army on the other side. The Red’s have raised a long and two-meter high barricade made of car tyres and sharpened bamboo sticks. The police had their riot fences and the army had their barricades made of barbed wire. Imagine all this is a shopping and business area, incredible. On the surface the atmosphere was rather calm. Behind the Red’s barricade it looked like a happening or a street party. On the other side of the road the police standing and played a waiting game. Behind the police line, the Thai army had their positions and they spend their time by mostly waiting. How this conflict will end, I do not dare to speculate about. But this conflict has already taken 25 lives.

22 April.

Ever since I arrived to Bangkok, I have been busy to handle my situation. Now most of these things getting clear, just my visa remain. Today I decide to go to Khao San Road. It is one of my favourite routes here in Bangkok. First Skytrain to Siam, there I change to the Silom line and go to Saphan Thaksin. In Saphan Thaksin I change to the express boat on the Chao Phrya River and buy a ticket to Phra Athit pier, which is Banglampu. This is a trip I recommend everyone to do if visiting Bangkok. To travel on the river gives you a completely different perspective of Bangkok. Also this trip is very cheap only 50 Bath and there is no hassling about prices as it is many times when you dealing with taxi drivers. Khao San Road has changed during the years, many of the original and homemade entrepreneurs have been bought out and bigger chains and companies have taken over. It is fun to watch at the commerce at the Khao San market, the prices maybe not the lowest, but it is oriented to backpackers and tourists.

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