...sleepless nights, and not just because it was full moon! Bangkok is a very busy city, and very noisy, too. My guesthouse is called Happy House (in the famous backpacker area around Khao San Road), but the first night I was not happy to be there. The rooms are nice, clean and with the all-important air-con, but my room was too close to the reception area where the music is blasting away for some reason... The next morning I decided to stay but changed the room (after checking a lot of other guesthouses - some were really scary).
Having sorted this out, I could start the big shopping day together with a Swiss guy I met at the airport (not what you think - he is 42 years old, has a girlfriend and is building a house in Australia). He knows this city really well and I got some insider tipps. We went by ferry boat on the Chao Phraya River to Pahurat Market, a colourful clothes market. This was like Little India, there were so many Indian shops and we had an Indian vegetarian lunch. After that we got lost in one of Asia's biggest shopping palaces: the MBK. Bangkok is not the place for recovering shopaholics, so be warned just in case... Here you can really shop 'til you drop...or however you call it. We got stuck in the MBK until 8pm and only saw a little bit of two floors out of 6. I wouldn't have survived without a break, so we had dinner in a sushi bar - very luxurious and not at all expensive!
Getting out a bit earlier to get a taxi, we only had one thought in mind: massage. There are massage parlors at every corner - I know already I will miss them very much in Europe. I chose a traditional Thai massage where my body was stretched and kneaded through until all bones were in their original place again.
It was very relaxing but I still couldn't sleep well. The clouds outside decided for me to stay in bed (bad photo weather), so I will go to see Wat Phra Kaeo and Wat Po the next day. Today I spent my time in the area around here browsing the clothes stalls and bargaining. There is a corner with a lot of silver and bride dress shops. I was lucky in one of the silver shops - I was the first customer of the day. It's bad luck for the shop owner if he/she doesn't buy anything. So she gave me a special discount and both of us were happy.
Just before sunset I went to the wat just 50m from my stay: Wat Chana Songkhram which is not very big but peaceful nonetheless. I watched the monk's ceremony and (of course) took a lot of pictures. Then I went to see the sunset on the pier of the Chao Phraya River. It was a bit more noisy there, but still nice.