Sleeping at the Mall (well, the hotel above it)

It’s that time again.   After a month of R&R it’s time to head back to work.

Thing is, I don’t go direct to work…. I stop off in Bangkok and Dubai on the way.   And why not?

Plenty of Rats about this weekend, so 3 nights in Bangkok should be plenty of time to catch up.  All that’s needed is a Hotel.  Some of you may know about my ongoing quest to find the perfect hotel.  The other month I thought I found it – The Landmark near soi 4.    I do like it.  The only thing I am not too keen on are the prices of the room service and the cafe out front. Still, premium hotels command premium prices I guess?

So it was almost the Landmark Hotel that was to accommodate us – until Miss Tim suggested we give Grande Center Point at Terminal 21.     A good suggestion as we planned to spend a lot of time in the T21 shops, restaurants and cinema.  Also handy for Cowboy.    All good arguments for staying there, but whar really swung it was the website advert said the rooms have a FREE MINIBAR!   Oooo yes.  Take my money now.

All in all.. with the tax, hidden charges, hidden tax, made up tax and ++ of something else, the Grande Delux Room worked out 5,500 bht per night.    Similar to the Landmark – but the Landmark doesn’t have a free minibar.  Now,  I don’t want to sound like a Trip Advisor review – but this might be handy for those of you who maybe looking for a decent hotel in these parts.

Check-in was a breeze.  All I had to do was sign my name and we were shown to the room.   Pretty nice.  Bigger than the Landmark, great views, modern and comfy.

Can’t say I was impressed with the Free Minibar.

Was this the free minibar or what the last guests left behind?

Room Service menu is not bad and is not overpriced.  A burger/fries cost 240 and a Spag Bol 200 bht.  Not bad, not bad at all.

The best part the hotel is the location….  you can go from the Lobby into the Shopping Mall.  No BTS, no sidewalks, no taxi’s… no people!   I’ll forgive them the minibar for that alone.

Room with a view…

I’m one of those people that do tend to spend time in the hotel room, rather than sitting in any bar that is open all day.  It’s a nice room and pleasant to stay in.  Sitting on my computer, looking over Asoke area 22 floors up.  Yeah,  nice.

Very pleasant stay indeed.   T21 –  I’ll be back.

Jooooooooooooonas!

If I were to pop to the shops to pick up a loaf of bread – and didn’t return for 3 days,  I’d have some explaining to do.  The girlfriend, quite rightly would not be happy.    I’d have to gloss over many details but would have to come up with a convincing story that ‘nothing happened’.

I’d have been making up a story as I walked home, rubbing glitter and cheap perfume off my forehead ready to offer up as an excuse.

The girlfriend would be demanding answers.  Where did I go?  Who was I with?  What did I do?  Where did I sleep? How much did I spend?  Where is my underwear? Where did I get that tattoo from?  You get the idea.

I am sure if the locks on the house were hers – she’d have thought of changing them.

I’d explain that I met up with a pal, we went to a bar,  I drank too much,  my phone died, I lost track of time, my pal borrowed the money I had on me, we got some food,  I fell I’ll and slept on his sofa until now.  You know how it goes.

If she didn’t buy it, she’d ask who my ‘pal’ was.  She knows most of them.  She also knows that of my friends,  I am usually the bad influence.   If I told her I was out with certain Rats…. she’d smell one.

Unless that is,  I was out with Jonas!     There would be no story, no explaining, no lies, no apologies.   All I need say was…   “I bumped into Jonas”.     Miss Tim would understand.

She’d also assume we just got drunk and fell asleep in a bar.   Most of the time she’d be right.

We miss that crazy Swede bastard.   It’s been a year since he left Thailand and returned to his Motherland with his Daughter.   Why leave?   Well, simple.  He wanted a better life for his Daughter.

Very noble.  I want to leave Thailand because I am sick of having to walk in the road because some Thai has set up a food stall on the sidewalk.

We’re still in touch and Jonas is doing well. Decent job,  nice apartment, car, playstation…etc.. all the things which not many people have in Thailand.

Last week I flew to the UK to ride my motorbikes one last time until next Spring.   Just as it takes a couple of hours to get to Pattaya  – it takes a few hours to fly to Sweden.    Why not?

Thursday night I caught one of the few flights that Ryan Air hadn’t cancelled and flew to Sweden.   It’s cold.  But a good cold.  Lovely fresh air. Great.

I only had 2 nights.  The plan was to have a catch up on Thursday night – then hit the town on Friday night and fly back to the UK on Saturday morning.  Simples.

It was late on Thursday by the time we got to Jonas’s apartment.    There were no parking spaces available – so we had to park a few blocks away.   After stuffing our faces and talking the times Jonas would spend 200bht under the bridge in Sukhumvit – we crashed for the night.

Bright and early Friday morning.  9am.    The whole day ahead.   Bit of relaxing and then head out.  First things first though,  lets go and get the car and park it out front.  Off into the cold fresh air we went.

It’s odd seeing Jonas outside of Thailand.  Yeah, we’ve partied in London and Dubai together – but Jonas in his homeland is a lot different.  He wears shoes (not flipflops)  has jeans, sweaters and even has a Credit card.  Just like a grown up!

Going to move the car a couple of blocks should have taken 5 mins.   14 hours later we were smashed and heading to a strip club.

Rewind a little…

With the car parked – we thought it such a nice morning so we decided on a little walk into town to have a coffee and a croissant.  That’s what grown-ups do right?

The coffee shop was cool.  Good place to people watch. Disappointing that I never saw 1 tall blonde Swedish girl the whole time I was there.  I guess they’re all making porn somewhere?

The coffee shop sold Cider.   So we had a few.  After all, it’s fruit and we’re supposed to have 5 a day.

From there – we headed to a Sports bar.  It was coming upto Lunchtime – so thought we’d hit the cocktails.  More fruit portions mixed with Vodka.  How healthy are we?

And this is where it gets a little cloudy.   We were there for hours.  Chucking all sorts of booze down our necks.  We had the barman make us all sorts of things.  I’d like to say they were nice but I’d be lying.

From there we went to Jonas’s pals bar/restaurant.   Dennis remembered me from the Mango which he had visited in the past.  Nice guy – great little bar with awesome smelling food.   Food which was not for us though.  You don’t put solids in a hydraulic machine after all.

More shots followed.   The bar/restaurant was a little ‘hi-so’ for us to be falling around and farting in – so we decided to head to a bar closer to Jonas’s apartment.

Again, a good little bar and we struck up conversation with the Turkish owner.  He gave us some free shots which almost sent us blind.  The barmaid was cool too.   By 10pm we were smashed.  What next?  Well,  a strip club of course.

We’d head back to the apartment and freshen up – then head back out.     I had 7am flight, so there was plenty of time.

10pm is a little early to hit a strip club though, so we came up with the bright idea of having a little power-nap.

You guessed it.   We woke up several hours later.   Just as it was time for me to jump on a bus to the airport.

Of course… I would say that wouldn’t I?

Now back in the UK.   Weather is good.  Time to get out on those bikes.

Pattaya Trip – by boat!

I am starting to think that we are now battle-hardened veterans of Thailand.   What we used to think was all exciting, scary and dangerous, is all just an average Sunday afternoon.    Yes,  I am talking about Pattaya soi 6.

Let me wind it back a little…   I arrived back in Thailand a few weeks ago.  The Rats were planning on meeting for a recon mission in Pattaya – ahead of a planned bar crawl in a few months.

Now, when we usually go to Pattaya, I get up early in the morning (in HH),  taxi to Bangkok to meet the Rats, spot of lunch and then another taxi to Pattaya.   By the time we get to Pattaya I’ve been up 7 hours and am 5k in the hole.  And that’s just the start of the day.

This time however,  I thought it was time I take the Ferry!

The ferry has been in operation about 10 months now (I think) and started off at 2 trips per day.  That’s now down to 1.    Because of that,  it meant I had to over-night it in Pattaya.  Damn shame that.  Instead of getting a cab back to Bangkok – Hua Hin I’d save time and money and get the Ferry back in the morning!. Perfect!

The Ferry leaves HH at 1pm and returns the next day at 10am.   I checked out the Ferry terminal the day before with the intention of purchasing a ticket incase it’s a popular trip.  – It isn’t.

The old crab working at the Ferry counter said I could not purchase a ticket unless I provided a passport.  Why?  Where was this Ferry going exactly?!    I tried to argue that I can purchase a airline ticket to anywhere in the world without providing a passport but she was having none of it.   Now,  I can understand that passport details must be provided before I get on the Ferry incase it sinks and the authorities need to know who is now fish-food – but this can be done before getting on the boat.  No need to stop things before the event.  Has no one actually figured it out that all they need to do is make sure you produce a passport before getting on the boat?  I left empty handed.

There are 3 seating choices available.   Economy – which is full of the Chinese and Thai’s,  Business, which has the odd Farrang in – and the VIP room which has no one in.

For 1500 each way,  I went for the Business seat.   Now, I could beat up on the Ferry Operators – but there is no point.  I am sure they are trying their best to make it a professional and pleasurable experience for their passengers.   What I don’t like though,  is that their brochure is riddled with typos.  Surely they would have had a Farrang proof-read it before it went to publishing?!   What else have they over-looked?!

When the Ferry arrived,  I couldn’t help but notice the crew were all wearing hard-hats.  On a boat.  I didn’t see anything over-head, so I am not sure why they were wearing them?  These people probably take off their hardhats when they get on their motor-bikes afterwork?!

beware falling rocks?

The Business Class seats were o.k.  Only two other people on the top deck.  Perfect.  A little nap and 20 minutes more than the claimed 2 hour journey and we arrived in Patts.

The Rats were at a bar on soi 6 – so I grabbed the nearest mototcy taxi and 10 mins after arriving at port I was slinging a Grey Goose down my neck.

The plan was to stay on soi 6 and have a proper look.   The usual walk up and down took place.   Shit.  There are a lot of bars.   This crawl really isn’t going to be completed in 1 day.

We chose Scooters as our Hub.  Turns out, they have rooms upstairs.   The rooms are small but clean.  Size doesn’t matter (I keep telling myself this) – as all I intended on doing there was passing out later on.  It had aircon, TV, fridge, shower/crapper and double bed.   All that for………..500bht!   How is that even possible?!

Popular with the French…

With our overnight bags stowed – we hit the street.

Ah, what a street!    There is something about it.  It’s fun.  It’s alive.  There is an energy, atmosphere and an intrigue about the place.

There was a time when the soi was filled with hogs.  A place where Ripley Believe it or Not would recruit.  It’s no longer like that.   There are plenty of nice girls there now.  Many are dressed in uniforms.  The girls look clean and respectable and the bars all stock premium booze.

We hit as many of the bars as possible.  I am not going to list each one – I’ll save that for the bar crawl.

At one point we thought it best to have some food – so went to the Queen Victoria Inn.   Inside, you’d never think you were in soi 6.  It’s a total Oasis.  Full of old codgers having a drink or food and not a bar girl/boy in sight.    The food is good and the prices were dirt cheap.   Really,  soi 6 takes some beating.

As the last bars closed up – we thought we would keep in with the ‘sleezy’ theme of Pattaya and head down beach road… beach side.

Once again, we were pleasantly surprised – if not a little disappointed.  Gone were the street urchins that would hang upside down by their feet.  There were no call to us form the shadows,  no girls huddled around a pipe looking over their shoulders.   Yeah, there were girls, but most of them looked liked that had come to beach road after the bar they worked in closed for the night.

After a mile or so walk… we found ourselves back at Scooters and hit the sack for the night – in our little rooms.   The plan was to do breakfast at 8am – as I had to be back on the boat at 10am.

Many people recall that soi 6 (and beach road) was scary back in the day.   That day has long gone.   Not so long ago, Rolln mentioned that he felt quite intimidated on soi 6 – which seemed odd to me.  Those of you know Rolln will know that on Halloween, Dracula dresses up as Rolln to scare his pals.

So yes,  it was a place for the ‘initiated’.  No longer.  It’s actually not a bad night out. Preferable to Walking Street and LK Monster.

Unless that is,  we are just ‘ruined’ veterans and nothing makes our toes curl anymore?

 

They see me Crawlin…. they hatin….

We’ve done the Soi  Cowboy bar crawl.  We’ve done the soi4 crawl.   What’s next?

Well, has anyone tried the soi 6 craw?   And I don’t mean Sukhumvit.   I am talking Pattaya!

Plans are in motion for a soi 6 bar crawl.  Not sure when… in the next few months when peoples schedules align.

Lots of bars in one night.  More than Cowboy.   I think this may have to be a 2 day event.

More details to follow…..  Who’s in?

Thanks to the guys at Bangkok-Eyes for providing the above map!