Today we are in Bangkok (mostly, one picture from Ayutthaya has been included just because I like it). It is a city that I spent a huge amount of time in over the last 14 years, for work, friends and leisure. The last word is chosen carefully – for many people Bangkok has more of a reputation for pleasure than leisure, but that wasn’t something that particularly enticed or interested me.
It was a pretty easy trip to make from Singapore and every couple of months or so I would book tickets online on a Friday afternoon, get a mid-evening flight and a hotel and head there after work. I was able to swing by the house on the way to the airport, pack a small weekend suitcase and be on the plane in under two hours. Apart from the one time I arrived at check-in to realise that my passport was in the hallway at the house – that time it took a bit longer to get onto the plane and I nearly missed the flight…
There are lots of things said about Bangkok, but if you are a city person, it is a must-visit destination. It is a real assault on all of the senses and well worth the effort and time to get under the skin of the place. I was lucky because I had friends living there (and still do) so I was able to avoid many of the tourist traps and get to see a little more of the real Bangkok in local places and venues that the locals went to in their own spare time.
Of course, you do have to do have to do some of the big stuff and there is plenty to see and experience. I have tried to avoid the stereotypical pictures today and focus on some of the smaller details of Bangkok which give just as much pleasure and interest as the grand palaces and temples.
On one trip with a friend we decided to head to Sirocco, one of the most famous bars in town and possibly in Asia. It is on the roof of the State Tower, on level 63 and is the the highest rooftop bar in the world (according to their website). We were staying at the hotel so had been able to get reservations easily. We dressed for the occasion and headed up in the elevator to experience the view and the cooling breezes of the night and enjoy a cocktail or two.
You enter from the dome at the top of the building and walk down the staircase to the bar, feeling like a couple of million baht or so. That is the theory.
Enter vertigo stage left, right and straight ahead.
We both walked out, took one look at the height, the steps and to top it all off the glass wall that edges the staircase presumably to keep the view clear, but in my opinion is to scare the crap out of people when the emerge outside, and we froze.
I am fairly sure that the staff have seen it before, but there must have been a level of amusement for the people watching as we both went as far from the edge of the staircase as possible and slowly, deliberately made our way to the bar area. We stayed firmly in the middle section, as far as is physically possible from anything that looked like an edge. Two drinks later when LM announced that her knees had locked and she really wanted to leave, we made our way back up the stairs with all the grace of a stunned ox and sat at the bar inside.
If vertigo isn’t your thing, then by all means head there, get your picture taken at the edge of the bar with nothing but the night air (and pollution) behind you to impress your friends. If however you have even the slightest hint of vertigo, think twice or go with a large group and hide in the middle of them. I would share pictures, but I wasn’t able to let go of the railings for long enough to get to the camera. There are plenty of pics on the link above, so do check it out.
My own pictures are all taken from a height of no more than four or five inches off the ground and I remain thankful for that still. Enjoy!