For once VIP actually meant it! On so many of our previous "VIP Buses" through South East Asia there has been nothing remotely VIP about them - many of them being Chinese hand-me downs. Our coach from Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand was going to be another long overnight journey, but we were so pleased when we boarded and found huge comfy seats that almost fully reclined, free water and box of biscuits, blankets and pillows etc. That being said sadly neither Nick nor I got a great deal of sleep so when we arrived at Mochit Bus Terminal we were both feeling and looking a little worse for wear (again!).
Our hotel had emailed us with directions in both English and Thai as it is brand new and a lot of taxi drivers don't know it. They also advised getting a metered taxi rather than a tuk-tuk and that it should cost no more than 150Baht, so when the touts started quoting us 500Baht we knew something was up. We kept refusing them, much to their annoyance and could not figure out what the best option would be, when Nick spotted a Tourist Information booth - hurrah! The lady basically said "Metered Taxi - about 200Baht" and pointed to the queue - perfect! We headed for the taxi rank and Nick resisted the urge to stick his fingers up at the touts, where we were ushered into a waiting car. Our driver was really cool and turned into a mini-tour guide for us as we weaved through the crazy rush hour traffic watching the most amazing sun-rise over the city and it only cost 165 Bhat
We arrived at iSanook Residence at 07:00 so knew we were too early to check in to our room (although we had our fingers crossed there would be a room available). Thankfully our wish was granted and we were given our keys and a free breakfast! Being so tired after our journey and me not feeling 100% we ate our boiled eggs and promptly went back to bed. A couple of hours later (opps!) we woke up feeling a little better and took the hotels free tuk-tuk to the jetty to catch one of the water taxi’s, that ferry's people up and down the river. For only 30 Bhat (15p) we went 6 stops up river to Tha Chang Pier to visit the Wat Phra Kaew and Grand Place where the famous Emerald Budda resides.
The palace is highly religious, so we donned our temple clothes (long trousers and shirt for Nick, long skirt and cardi for me) and had to laugh at the people who were buying trousers from the touts while standing in front of a huge sign saying they offer free robes inside. We walked into a huge complex of temples, stupas and gardens.
The decoration was the most elaborate yet, with most buildings covered in gold and mirrored mosaics.
Reading a sign saying the temple with the Emerald Buddha was closing in a hour we thought we should head that way first. The Buddha had a story behind it and was often referred to as the Loas buddha. This was because it was stolen while travelling from Chiang Rai to Bangkok and had a long stay in Luang Prabang until being seized again by Thailand and finally made it to Wat Phra Kaew - it's new home. So we were a little disappointed that once entering the Temple it was easy to miss as it's so tiny and surrounded by so many other statues of Buddha and other deities.
After a couple of hours exploring and getting free ice cold water (which was a bonus) we went back to the scorching heat and walked to Wat Pho to see the huge reclining Buddha. Now this was more like it. It was humungous measuring 46 metres long and 15 metres high, it was impossible to photograph and barely fitted in the room it was in. The Buddha was again a gleaming gold with painted black feet and mother of pearl decorations. We again got a free bottle of cold water which was much needed as I was getting really hot and had to keep sitting down.
Because I was still feeling bad, Nick saying he was really worried we headed back to the hotel for me to lay down and Nick to have some pool time as our hotel had a nice outdoor pool to relax in. Unfortunately as I was feeling so bad we ended up not doing anything else that day, only just managing to make it to the nearest shopping mall for some much needed food, although I couldn’t eat all mine.
The next morning still not feeling any better, in fact feeling worst, we ended up missing breakfast and having a slow start. Nick was trying to get me to stay in bed but me being my stubborn self said we should explore. So yet again we went to the pier to get a ferry to Phra Artnit (number 13). From here it was short walk to Khao San Road which has featured in a few films (The Beach and Hangover), it is a street full of stalls, cheap guesthouses and pubs making it a backpackers haven.
After a quick walk round and sighing in relief that our hotel wasn’t near here we went on to the Democracy Monument. This had a large political demonstration taking place, which meant it had a traffic jam, lots of people and lots of noise.
We did a quick photo stop and moved on to the Giant Swing monument instead.
Again this wasn’t what was expected and we weren’t sure what it was about, but it was outside a nice looking temple. I was starting to feel bad again so had to sit the temple out. However Nick went and took lots of photo’s and said that the large Buddha was impressive.
After a small argument as to whether or not I should go back and lay down, I managed to persuade Nick to go to one more place before going back. This was called the Golden Mountain and offered views of the city once you climbed 318 steps to the top. Yet again there was a debate whether I should go up Nick telling me that I didn’t look great. Once again my stubbornness won out and we went up together. The views were ok nothing special as there isn’t really anything in Bangkok which stands out as a landmark. It was only 50 Bhat (25p) so wasn’t too bad.
Now I gave in and we got a taxi back to our hotel just in time for me to collapse on our lovely comfy bed until the next day. Dinner that night wasn’t happening I didn’t want food and Nick didn’t want to eat on his own so it was to 7 eleven for a shredded pork bun and a packet of crisps.
Our last day and after me missing breakfast yet again Nick put his foot down and insisted that I go to the doctor, which in Bangkok meant going to the hospital. This felt a little dramatic but I had to admit I need to see someone as I was; feeling sick, couldn’t stand the sight or smell of food (which as you know is not like me) had a constant headache, bad cough and had been bitten once in a malaria area. The hospital was not what we were expecting it was more like a 5 star hotel with a reception desk, chandeliers and comfy leather sofas.
I had to check in which involved a digital photograph and a few details, I was given a plastic card with me name on and instructed up a level. Expecting this to be when in turned into a hospital we were yet again surprised by waiting room with leather comfy arm chairs. I waited all of two seconds and had get my vitals checked and two minutes for the doctor, who told me that I most likely had dehydrated and may have to go on a drip for one night. At this we both looked shocked and told him we had plans to travel that night. He said he would do blood tests to rule out malaria and dengue fever first. Another shockingly long wait of one minute and I was having my blood taken and nose swabbed. We were now told we would have to wait for the blood test results to come back and were gob smacked when they said it would be under an hour, which it was! Results back and the doctor had confirmed his diagnosis I had dehydration but he wouldn’t keep me in so I could travel and instead told me off for not eating, giving me sickness tablets, sachets of powder to rehydrate me and something for my cough. All of this and it only cost £85 I was amazed! Medicines in hand we went back to the hotel grabbed some food (well a small bag of chips for me) and went off to get our train to Krabi.