Thursday, 31 December 2009


Woke this morning to the thunderous roar of V8-powered long tail boats powering their way up the Chao Phraya River, and enjoyed the spectacle of Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) across the river from the balcony of the Aurum Hotel on what is known as Koh Rattanakosin.

Now I know my Thai is elementary at best, but Koh means island, right? So I'm going to spend the day exploring the area and working out why it's called an island when, to me, it just looks like it sits on the banks of this mighty river.

Actually I started my research yesterday but, sorry dear readers, have nothing to show for it yet. You see I got pretty caught up in the festive spirit that is palpable in Bangkok at the moment ...

A few doors up from here, I glimpsed a great photo opportunity of the sun setting on Wat Arun, which took us down some pokey alley behind the Grand Palace and next thing I knew I had a Singha beer in my hand and was sitting in The Deck restaurant with grandstand views of one of the icons of Bangkok's historic skyline. Then we hopped a tuk tuk to happening Phra Attit past Sunam Luang, a park with a million trees lit up by fairy lights, and fairground attractions and stalls. Next thing I new I was enjoying a foot massage (one hour in air-conditioned comfort for 220 baht). Then a stroll through the cool cafes, shishah bars, and market stalls toward the global nomad's unofficial headquarters -- Kao San Road. The place was pumping.

Next thing I new I was in the Brick Bar, enjoying brilliant live Thai pop bands (think English ska, circa early 80s, only the Thai lyrics are more intelligible). And so to bed with a weary head at some ungodly hour.

So, in conclusion, I still don't know why this is called an island ...

I will try and resolve the mystery by the end of today. As a reward I have a bottle of Moet in the fridge in readiness for a big new year's eve celebration tonight. I'll be doing the midnight countdown and watching the always-amazing fireworks show from the rooftop of this cool little hotel.

Just hope those long-tail boat drivers are on the Sang Som whiskey tonight too and don't start too early tomorrow morning!

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