We spent 3 nights in Bangkok, coinciding with the end of the Songkran Thai New Year celebrations. This time we stayed at the Chatrium Riverside Hotel, one of our most popular hotels in Bangkok. Good location and easy access to most of the main points.
We were joined in Bangkok by MH ‘s brother, Roy, and his Brazilian wife, Rosie. Thanks to the both of them we were able to see Bangkok through new eyes which is always a good thing for us, and we also got the opportunity to play tourists. We had a good fish dinner at Asiatique, which is a fun night market on the river. As to be expected, we took the time to enjoy a well priced massage. Next day was shopping – travelled by the efficient sky train to Siam, which is the main area for upscale shopping malls, plus MBK where prices are more negotiable.
Of course we went to Patpong Road, briefly – not our scene at all, but you need to see before you can criticise.
The next day was back on the culture trail, visiting Wat Po and Wat Arun temples, plus a trip around the klongs (water ways) by long- tail boat. In the evening we took a Bangkok by night tour by tuk tuk. First time I have ever done this and it’s very different.
It was the last day of Songkran so traffic was light and some of the street food markets were closed, which was a pity. However, visiting Wat Po temple at night, with no crowds, was wonderfully atmospheric. And then going to the 24 /7 flower market was interesting.
Next day Roy and Rosie left to go north to Chiang Mai, and they seem to be enjoying, just as we knew they would. MH and I travelled south to the island of Koh Samed. This is 3 hours from Bangkok, the final 15 minutes by speedboat. I have been to the island many times, but first time for MH. It is wonderfully tropical. They only received their first tarmac road 2 years ago and 75% of the island is still national park.
We stayed at the superb Paradee Hotel, located at the extreme southern tip of the island. You can drive around the island in about 2 hours, as it’s only 11 miles long and 3 miles across, but has the highest concentration of speed humps I have ever encountered. On the plus side road accidents are minimal, unlike resorts like Samui.
Koh Samed has one of the most consistent climates in Thailand. It does have a wet season from July to September, but even then the rainfall appears less than virtually every other island in Thailand. It does compete with Hua Hin for easy access tourism from Bangkok, but is much more tropical and considerably less developed and for us is much easier to sell.
Paradee just ticks all the boxes for us. Low rise villa style accommodation, a good spa, attractive restaurant, plus beach dining most evenings. A good size pool and a truly fantastic ‘Indian Ocean’ style powder soft sand beach and clear water quality. I have to say this is one of my favourite hotels in Thailand. The setting, the relaxed style, the incredibly friendly staff and the easy access from Bangkok. It makes a great final few days after a tour around the region.
Thus ends our Thailand adventure. We arrived as longtime fans of Thailand, but are leaving with so many great memories and unique experiences.
The country is blessed on so many levels, diverse scenery and cultures, amazing food with so many exotic fruits and of course wonderful people. It has it flaws (nowhere is perfect) and contradictions but, to us, that just adds to the appeal.
Fortunately it will only be two months before I am back here again – can’t wait and I only just got back!
Hotels & Tours in Vietnam