13 Mar - 18 Apr 2013 Bangkok

Kingdom of Thailand aka The Land of Conditional Smiles
Bangkok aka Krung Thep Maha Nakhon aka The Big Mango
Khlong San
58 Soi 1, Sarapee 3, Krungthonburi Road
Decent and economic double-bed studio (no. 603) with kitchenette and air-con for THB 9,000.- or US$ 304.- per month (plus utilities: THB 6.85/kWh and THB 21.4/cbm), including free access to a large, 30m-long swimming pool (big enough to do laps) and a heated out-door Jacuzzi.
Wifi for THB 550.- or US$ 18.00 per month.
Excellent service. Friendly, helpful and professional staff.
Beer: Convenient two-pack cardboard carriers with 500-ml “mega cans” of ice-cold, blue Cheers Beer (5 % alc./vol.) for THB 69.- or US$ 2.40 (per pack) from any of Bangkok’s c. 3,500 7-Eleven convenience stores (but only between 11:00 a.m. and 02:00 p.m. and between 05:00 p.m. and midnight).

Click below for an interactive road map of the Aiya Residence & Sport Club in Bangkok, which we would highly recommend, and for directions:

Settling in the good practice of our tried and trusted "Aiya Routine" (e.g. catching up with admin work and emails, doing semi-daily laps in the club’s sparkling swimming pool together with co-swimmers from all over this water world, feasting on lekker vegetarian/pescetarian Thai food, washed down responsibly with ice-cold Thai beer; see also our previous Aiya visits [1], [2], [3], [4]) and forging out plans for both (i) this upcoming sojourn in Bangkok, our favourite megalopolis in Southeast Asia and one of Asia's most cosmopolitan and traveller-friendly cities with magnificent temples and palaces, authentic canals, busy markets and a vibrant nightlife that has something for everyone, and (ii) our travels to South Korea, Japan and Taiwan later this year.

Socialising and having fun aka sanuk with both international and Thai inmates of the Aiya Residence & Sport Club, together tossing down far too many beers and generally doing very little to question the popular urban legends of many Thais about those uncivilised faràngs from the West: (i) “they can not eat spicy food”, (ii) "they can not squat", (iii) "all of them are looking for a Thai wife", (iv) “they receive regular financial hand-outs from their governments” and (v) “their IQ rarely exceeds Bangkok’s air temperature on a cool day”.

Watching graceful, transgendered Thai dancers at the downtown Erawan Shrine, an only 1956 CE built but already history-charged and much frequented Hindu shrine, supposedly a very powerful defensive measure against bad karma in politics and economics, and thereafter feeding our positive karma at the excellent vegetarian food stall in the MBK Mall (stall number no. C8 in the food court on the 6th floor).

“Within every man and woman a secret is hidden,
and as a photographer it is my task to reveal it if I can.”

Exploring the huge Chatuchak Weekend Market, the largest (flea) market in Southeast Asia with over 8,000 stalls selling anything and everything under the sun, and recruiting our strength afterwards at the excellent Buddhist vegetarian restaurant Banana Family Park +6622797838 (delicious meals from THB 30.- each), one of the best vegetarian-only dining options in Bangkok.

Temple-tramping in the scorching sun during Bangkok’s “hot season” (in March and April daytime temperatures hover around 35°C, sometimes rising into the 40's °C) and visiting Thonburi’s much frequented river temples (but only three out of the total of 40,717 Buddhist temples in Thailand of which 33,902 are in current use, according to the Office of National Buddhism): (i) Wat Arun with its distinctive central prang (Khmer-style tower) which is encrusted with colourful porcelain, (ii) Wat Kanlayanamit with its gilded 15-m high and nearly 12-m wide sitting Buddha and (iii) Wat Yannawa with its unique junk-shaped chedi.

Temple-cruising Bangkok’s less visited temples on the banks of the heavily polluted Khlong Saen Saeb thus using the rugged express boats on steroids as inexpensive (fare from Saphan Hua Chang Pier: c. THB 20.- per faràng, one way), vibrant and noisy means of transportation to travel to Wat Thepleela, Wat Klang and Wat Sri Bunruang where both monks and devotees were busy with preparations for the upcoming Thai New Year aka Songkran.

Learning about the alarming news that criminal European politicians (their motto: “Borrow! Print! Steal!”) in accompliceship with their Cypriot government cronies, leading the field, have agreed to force a “levy” on bank deposits in order to receive a so-called bailout, thus marking the end of the rule of law and the beginning of arbitrary rule in the Western “welfare states”, and concluding: When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty…

Visiting one of Bangkok’s lively floating markets, the least touristy Khlong Latmayom Market (bus no. 146, THB 10.- per person), feasting on fresh fish and seafood and buying two seats in a 2-hour long relaxing canal tour (THB 60.- per person) with entertaining pit stops at atmospheric Buddhist temples, busy country markets and fascinating orchid farms.

Partying together with boisterous locals during Songkran and sinning against an undisclosed number of the Royal Thai Police’s dampening “Ten Commandments for Songkran” without ever being caught: (i) Thou shalt not drink and drive; (ii) Thou shalt not drink and douse; (iii) Thou shalt not put foreign substances into the throwing water; (iv) Thou shalt not use high-pressure water guns or other assault weapons; (v) Thou shalt not do topless or dirty dancing; (vi) Thou shalt not buy drugs from pavement vendors; (vii) Thou shalt not paint faces white; (viii) Thou shalt not use pick-up trucks or tanks for the water war; (ix) Thou shalt not grope the fair sex; (x) Thou shalt not waste drinking water - honi soit qui mal y pense.

Bidding farewell to our decidedly un-faràng suburb Khlong San (
and knocking back, together with our friends Laine & Matthew and Monique & Allan, a few last Chang and Leo brews at our favourite shebeen), taking city bus no. 57 (THB 8.- or US$ 0.30 per person) to Thonburi Railway Station aka Bangkok Noi and from there an ordinary train in 3rd class (c. 150 km, 4 hours, THB 32.- or US$ 1.10 per person) to Phetchaburi, one of the oldest settlements in Thailand; anchors aweigh after five weeks of sloth!

Click below for more blog posts about our visits to Bangkok
01 Oct - 29 Oct 2014 Bangkok
01 Jan - 22 Jan 2013 Bangkok
19 Dec - 31 Dec 2012 Bangkok
08 Feb - 06 Mar 2012 Bangkok
01 Mar - 01 May 2010 Bangkok

Click below for a summary of this year's travels 

2013 Map Konni & Matt

Recommended books – click below for your Amazon order from the United Kingdom:
For Amazon schnaeppchens from Germany, please click here
For Amazon deals from the United States, please click here
For Amazon deals from Canada, please click here 

From the 2013 Moral Travel Compass for Our Grand Children's Journey of Life:
It’s bad to rely on security;
It’s good to take risks.
Keep your bearings!