Bangkok - so Much to do
Bangkok, it is a great city for things to do. There is just so much to do and see there. Of course there is the "normal" things that people do there that Bangkok is so well known for (like shopping, touring the Wats, the night life, etc.), but there is a lot more. At the top of my list of other things to do is the "Back Alley" bike tour (see photo left), eating Street food (and/or at the many great restaurants), a walking tour of China town (back alleys included - actually the back alleys are the best part), the weekend market madness (HUGE), and the Tawandang brewery and show. I am not sure which of those I would rank as "best" but the Tawandang brewery was the most fun.
The brewery has two locations one in town (on Rama III) and one just north of town on Phra Ram III. They should more correctly be called The Tawandang Theatre show extravaganza restaurant & brewery. It is kind of hard to fully describe this restaurant, concert hall, floor show, brewery thing that they have created. Each loaction seats over 600 people (and according to some sources as many as 1200 people ). Tawandang Brewery has a reputation for providing consistently delicious Thai and Germand dishes served by a fleet of (some say over 200) experienced and courteous wait staff - but there is more - much, much more.
They make their own beers on location (and you know we like that). There are usually three styles available; Pilsner, Dark lager and German wheat beer. All three are made in accordance to the Reinheitsgebot (the German purity law of 1516 or there abouts) and they are all well made beers and very nice examples of the styles. They serve German food (like pork knuckle, sausages, and Kartoffelkloesse) as well spicy Thai dishes (like Yen Ta Four - เย็นตาโฟ) .
The floor show is truly amazing, with a flurry of changing acts - they have everything from traditional Thai music and dance, to Rock n Roll, to magic acts, to American Country and Western, to acrobatics, to Disco, break dancing, a little comedy, Chinese dancers, and back again to traditional Thai. Completely entertaining - I have not laughed so much in years.
If you plan on a visit I highly recommend reservations, but be careful it can be confusing. They told us "Your reservation; You, before eight." We figured the show had a sitting at 8:00. So we dutifully showed up before 8:00pm. They did not have our reservation for Mr. Larry + 4 guest. But after a few minutes they asked us to look at the "big Board" and sure enough there we were; number "48 - Mr. Lally". You'll be number 4-8 (number forty eight on the list)
As far as I can tell (since most of it is in Thai) this is there official web site
The back alley bike tour we did was with ABC - Amazing Bangkok Cyclist Ltd ( http://www.realasia.net/ ). This was a truly great day of adventure. Their guide took us through the tiny back alleys of Bangkok, some alleys so small you could hardly ride through them, some dark and concealed, some places open and friendly, others winding through the middle of shanty towns, all places that you would never find on your own, or (even if you are very brave) would be willing to adventure down on your own. They took us through Klong Toey to a ferry terminal, and from there across the river to explore Bang Kachao. Bang Kachao is an area of plantations, farms and and traditional housing, where elevated walkway wind through the patty fields and plantations. There are very few people and even less traffic on the few roads that are out there -kampong living, all only a few minutes from down town Bangkok.
For a few photos of Bangkok scenes check out
If you have free time on the weekend I recommend the absolutely huge Chatuchak Weekend Market. It is the undisputed king of markets taking up about 35 acres. It has over 15,000 stalls selling everything you could possibly imagine that might be sold in an open market (and many thing you would never imagine would be). It is a stunner. But be prepared, it is also crowed in the extreme (getting more than 200,000 visitors a day) it can get pretty hot and tiring. The best way to get there is by sky train. Get off at the Mo Chit station. And be resolved to bargain and be prepared to spend.
Thai Cowboys at the Chatuchak weekend market