"One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster" - well, ok, not quite. With apologies to Tim Rice, I have been humming and singing that song intermittently whenever our stop-over in the city Bangkok came up in conversation. I couldn't believe that those lines went over everyone's head - no one had heard the song. Maybe it was my off -key singing voice.
I had a two-night stay in Bangkok planned for after the South-East Asia cruise and was looking forward to seeing what I remembered of the city from my previous visits as a medical consultant.
Sunday, November 22nd, Bangkok
The Diamond Princess arrived in the port of Laem Chabang, Thailand around 7 am. It is a good hour's drive from there to the city.
Helene, Jean, Raoul and I met in the Savoy Restaurant where we waited to be allowed to disembark. Amazingly the promised transport arranged by our hotel actually arrived and drove us to the Citadines Hotel,one of a chain of small suite business hotels in the city.
Our rooms, which we had booked through Orbitz, were quite reasonable - about 79 USD a night but we were about three-quarters of an hour away from the prime hotel locations on the banks of the Chao Phraya river. On my last two-week working visit to Bangkok I stayed at the Sheraton where I had a gorgeous view of the river.
This time our hotel was just off one of the main streets running through the city, called Sukhumvit. It is described as a "sprawling artery which runs through Central Bangkok. Between Soi 1 and Soi 33 is the visitor region as there are hotels ranging from low priced to luxury 5 star, along the road and in adjoining streets.Judging by the shops and restaurants nearby to our hotel area, Sukhumvit 11, it looked like a Little India area.
My room had a kitchenette area. The furnishing was simple but clean. The only flaw as I discovered later the next morning was that the shower obstinately refused to bring forth any warm water at all. So I shivered through a quick wash and rinse and gave up on the idea of washing my hair hoping that the next shower would be warmer.
After we had dropped off our bags,washed up and sorted out the tour arrangements for the evening - we were going on a river boat dinner cruise - we set off to explore the area.
At a bank a couple of blocks away the others changed some US dollars for baht. I had already got some in Vancouver so did not need to worry about that.