So, unbeknown to us our first two nights found us smack in the middle of the sex tourist area of Bangkok. The guidebooks describe the area Sukhumvit as swanky residential and appealing to the more mature backpacker. In reality it's where all the pale paunchy middle-aged western businessmen/tourists stay in more upmarket hotels and visit Dr BJs Salon (genuine name) after hours...
On our first stroll we were pretty dismayed thinking was this representative of the whole of Bangkok? Sure, we know it's reputation and to be fair it wasn't a city we were fussed about visiting - it's where we pick up our tour - but it seemed worse than we were both expecting. I felt particularly uncomfortable as there were no other western females to be seen, nor many Thai men, everything was very much geared to please the fat walleted western man.
On the upside our hotel was great with a rooftop pool so after our crazy busy week and long flight we spent the first day doing very little. We also found a fantastic authentic street restaurant where the green curry (for one quid!) was excellent.
We visited the Grand Palace the next day which was spectacular but so busy with tourists it was a little frazzling.
Model version of Angkor Wat, we'll be seeing the real thing in Cambodia towards the end of our tour
After changing hotels to pick up the tour, we met our group in the evening. Our guide for the next month, Rod, seems great and full of beans (he's Peruvian so will be super handy for leg 3 of our trip!). The group is small - just 10 of us plus Rod - and everyone is friendly. Half the group are Brits, Lucie from Norwich (surname Gillett whose family originate up north.... apparently no relation to Kevin!) and Gemma & Dan from Brighton. Then 2 girls travelling together from Germany, Christine & Verena, 2 Austrians George & Gabriele (a game old bird aged 79!) and Danny, a Canadian.
View from our 2nd hotel window... errr inspiring...
First dinner out with the group in Chinatown
The better side of Bangkok to follow...!