06.11.2011 - 11.12.2011 30 °C
With mixed reports of the extent of flooding, we were unsure of what to expect in Bangkok. The city was still functioning, although we did observe minor modifications to daily routine. Convenience stores were out of bottled water, ice cream shops only offered a few flavours and there were sandbag walls and concrete reinforcements to climb over at every shopfront.
Tourists were rare, attractions closed or quiet, even the backpacker strip Khaosan Road seemed less lively.
According to our guide, seven districts had been flooded with more at risk. We stayed in the safe CBD area of Si Lom, near the Burmese embassy.
The river celebration Loi Kratong was also subdued this year, with authorities discouraging festivities of the floating candlelit boats - for fear of pollution and fire hazards caused by the bursting river.
The Thai are kind, gentle mannered people and are a lot of fun to negotiate with! Street food is irresistible and always accessible, food courts and markets are frequently stumbled upon.
Just about any good or service is for sale, so be prepared to say ‘No’ with a smile. Shopping is the main activity in Bangkok, with malls at every block to comfort the masses with air conditioning and romantic pop. The air is dense - the pollution, building lights and neon billboards perpetuating what appears to be an endless artificial day.
Our five days ends with a night at Brown Sugar Jazz Bar with Chulalongkorn Economics professor Daniel Ray Lewis, a good humoured intellectual with great insights into Thai culture, a local of 15 years.