General, Travel

Bicycles, Buddhas, and too many tacos

Do you ever make a plan to do something that seems brilliant on paper, but they when you come to do it, you wonder where you have gone completely insane? Yes, you do? Well, I felt like that on Tuesday morning as I got off the BTS and walked to the ABC (amazing Bangkok Cyclist) office. The thought of doing a 16km bike tour of Bangkok was about as far down on my list of priorities as staying in Bangkok beyond Thursday.

Another day in Bangkok, and of course, another heavy schedule. So far, the best days have been like this, so I don’t mind, but I do like it when I get a day to relax. Early morning starts everyday aren’t so much of a drag when you are going to explore places, but even so, I’d like to get up for a more leisurely day. I didn’t feel much better when we arrived at Amazing Bangkok Cyclist and saw that everyone was a) physically fit Europeans, and b) had been on a bicycle in the last 5 years.

Once I got over my aversion to the bicycle, which really took no time at all, we cycled through the side streets and found out more about real-life Bangkok and Thai culture that we didn’t already know. The tourguide was great, and showed us some more interesting less travelled routes through the city’s ‘slums’ and then took us on a longtail boat over to a peninsula on the other side of the river.

I really didn’t like cycling through the rainforest on the small paths. Well, I liked travelling through the rainforest, but the paths were absolutely ridiculous. We got to see a lot more of Bangkok, and even riding along the busy roads made me dislike the place a little bit less.

Our stupid decisions every other time we have been to Bangkok left us with today to see the Grand Palace and no other day, so we rushed across the city via the river taxi’s to finally go an see the Emerald Buddha, and the must-see palace buildings. We turned up in the Temple grounds in knowledgeably inappropriate clothing because neither of us could face the bike ride in long trousers and long sleeves. This meant queueing for appropriate clothing, and walking around in thick sarongs and shirts over our normal clothes.

I don’t want to say I regret going, because that’s not true, it’s a must-see place on the Bangkok tourist trail, but it was both expensive and under-whelming. The famous Emerald Buddha, is tiny, and you can barely see it, and the buildings, while impressively decorated are all the same, and quite boring.Maybe it was because we were too hot, or were annoyed we’d left it so late, or just because we weren’t that impressed after all the temples and Buddhas we have seen in Indochina, but it was definitely not the best place we have been, interesting, but not my favourite.

The whole point of doing the bicycle tour early, and making sure we were done at the temple by closing time was, embarrassingly, to make it to Terminal 21 (the only place in Bangkok that I have been and truly like) to go to Sunrise Tacos. We love Mexican food, so the prospect of all you can eat tacos, and then dessert, was just too good to miss.

They were great, like seriously good. They weren’t buffet style, we could just order what we wanted from the Taco menu and they were made fresh. The Baja fish tacos were a revelation. We definitely ordered too many, ate too much, to make the most of the money we’d spent. And then we had dessert. For Jade, it was Apple Pie, and for me, a welcome taste of Thanksgiving in the form of proper pumpkin pie.

It was a seriously good end to Bangkok, but I am still glad to see the back of the city, even on a 12 hour transfer to Koh Tao.

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