Laem Chabang Port/ Bangkok: Chinese New Year, temples and the Sky Bar

Mein Schiff Southeast Asia cruise: Day 5 – 11.9 km on foot – 04.02. 01:30 all hands on board – 04.02. 02:00 cast off

italic lines as always from Daniel –

We experience everything probably a little more quietly than usual, whereby and the direct comparison is missing of course. Our driver, who brings us from Laem Chabang Port to Bangkok, is thrilled by the little traffic on the two-hour drive. Only shortly before our destination, we drive through Chinatown, we see the reason. Exclusively closed stores, street food and festive decorations and of course temples but open. Everything is preparing for the Chinese New Year celebrations, which take place today and tomorrow. Even though we of course do not understand a word of what is written on the colorful banners that are stretched over Yaowarat Road, you can see that they announce festive.

Transfer from Laem Chabang to Bangkok: I had searched numerous forums and made out about 50-60 euros as the price each way for a private transfer. The most reputable-seeming provider was Mekhe, which takes around 65 euros (2,400 baht), exactly the same price as Mein Schiff for two people. Since the official transfer organized by the ship was scheduled back in the evening already quite early around 18:30, we have ultimately fought our way on our own – which, by the way, was very comfortable and safe. If you don’t want to pay by credit card in advance, you can also pay the driver in cash. The communication by e-mail or SMS was fast and trouble-free (in English).

As an exit we had made the famous temple Wat Phra Kaew. Hell, it was crowded! The air stood, the sweat ran and we also – directly to the exit. Of the 500 baht entrance fee per person we had not so much. Fortunately, the friendly driver had given us a few tips on the way there, and so we headed for the next temple Wat Pho, where a huge golden Buddha had made himself comfortable lying down. Here it was much more pleasant, emptier and for all those who had not covered their shoulders and knees with their clothes out of respect, they lent long gowns free of charge for the duration of the visit (unlike the first complex). A very nice complex, which was worth the 200 baht entrance fee per head much more than our first temple visit.

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With a decent hole in our stomachs, we then visited our cooking school where we fed ourselves excellent food. For the “digestive walk” we went to MBK Center, a seven-story shopping mall designed more for locals than tourists. Very exciting, everything reminds more of market stalls, there are few big stores. At Starbucks, we shopped for the obligatory cup and made a little use of the free wifi. If you want to change or hand in money, you don’t have to worry thanks to the many exchange offices, banks and ATMs.

Driving a cab in Bangkok: It is best never to bargain with the driver. All cabs have a taximeter and can (with locals, of course, always) use it to calculate the right fare. So we never paid more than 60-70 baht for e.g. a distance of about 7 km in the center, while some drivers suggested us about 200 baht for the same distance. You need a few cabs patience in some places in the city, especially in the tourist areas like on Khao San Road, the center of backpackers.

Our last stop before heading back to the ship at 22:00 (it’s all hands on deck until 01:30, half an hour before departure) was the Sky Bar at the Lebua Hotel. At least we thought it was this bar, which must have gained worldwide fame thanks to “Hangover 2”. However, the photos you see below are all taken from Lebua No. 3, a few floors below the Sky Bar with the golden, distinctive dome. We found it to be a much nicer and more pleasant location. Music less loud, fewer people jostling. On top of the prices, as is unfortunately common with such locations, there is the surcharge for the breathtaking view. Unfortunately, the two cocktails (the cheapest from the menu) for a whopping 2,000 baht total (about 50 euros) were probably the most expensive drinks of the whole vacation. Or of the year. Or ever…

All in all, it was still a very nice day, even if we should have creamed our necks 🙂

Kow kung ka, Thailand!

// Transfer Service: Mekhe.com

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