I made it to the land of Thailand!!!
After a hella long flight in a middle seat sitting next to ‘Edward Elbows’ I officially make it to BKK! I get off the plane and am instantly hit by a wave of heat and humidity and the airport smells of orchids!
I have an interesting ‘conversation’ with the taxi driver regarding my immediate destination. He just giggles, nods his head, and ushers me to get into his vehicle. Welp… here we go I guess! I manage to successfully (although not entirely smoothly) guide us to my guesthouse. What in the world did people do before pre-researching on Google Earth or iPhone GPS?
After an epic jet lag induced sleep coma, I was up and off! I had to walk only a few meters from the apartment before I stumble on a fruit market and get to enjoy my first taste of Thailand fruit! The mangos. Sweet baby Jesus.
I stroll to the nearest train station, hop on, and take it to the main Hua Lamphong. My primary goal of the day is to lay my eyes on Wat Pho (The Reclining Buddha) and simply experience what the streets of Bangkok have to offer. I start walking towards Chinatown and stumble upon a large crowd which turns out to be a FREE food market! Score! These tender older Thai women see me observing the activities and gesture towards the food. “Eat eat! Free free!” I bashfully nod and reach for a tiny styrofoam bowl of spicy looking vegetables. It’s a blow-your-face-off-spicy green papaya salad! The women watch me eat just laughing and smiling. I love this place already! I also try some salty/spicy green apples and an orange coconut drink.
After the market, I walk along the street and find myself at the most glorious temple. I absolutely ADORE the Thai architecture. Intricate, ornate, sparkly, and the COLOURS! Bright red, turquoise, and gold everywhere! I enjoy watching the Thai people in their element offering gifts and popping in for their daily prayer.
I then make it to Chinatown. The street is fucking PACKED! People squashing past each other in every direction, rainbow umbrella covered carts on wheels, motorcycles, hot steam from lil’ stalls, yelling, bells dinging, green awnings, smells of cooking meat and incense… it’s mayhem and I am loving it!!
I make it to Wat Pho. YES! I recall looking at images age ago and thought this would be such an incredible thing to see. And here I am; solo in Thailand and officially standing before this magnificent statue! That being said, the amount of tourists taking photos in front of it does kind of kill the vibe. It’s also sort of odd that such a huge thing is enclosed in a room that barely fits it. While I’m here, I check out the Grand Palace as well. Touristy? Absolutely. But it was certainly one of the most impressive sites I have ever seen.
I stroll through a pleasant park that reminds me of Paris. I am a fucking hot, sweaty mess at this point. I’m not talking a bit of perspiration on my forehead here. My thin cotton pants literally feel like they are soaking wet and sticking to parts of my body that I wish they were not sticking to. I grab a freshly squeezed pomegranate juice from a nearby stall and have a lil’ rest on a bench. Ahhh… it’s nice to sit and be still for a moment.
I cross a massive intersection, walk down a vine-covered ally, and emerge onto the infamous Koh San Road. Grungy, crawling with young white dudes in reflector sunglasses, run down bars, cheap shit for sale, neon everything. Ah yes… THIS side of Thailand that I have heard so much about!
I find the nearest travel shop and book my train/bus/ferry ticket to Koh Phangan. I spot a lil’ restaurant higher up on the second story and decide that would be the perfect perch for people watching. I order my first “Sangha” and some spicy rice dish with mint, lemongrass, and chili – FUCK YES! So good!
It’s starting to become dusk and I still have an hour’s walk back to the main train station. I’m not 100% sure where I am – I just know the general direction to go and I’m not sure how those streets are at nighttime. Just as I’m mentally considering hailing down a taxi, a tuk tuk driver scoots around the corner and yells ‘Where you going?!” The next thing I know I’m in the back of my first tuk tuk! Hahaha! This is awesome! Even though the streets are packed, this driver believes that by honking and moving from side to side he will in some way get ahead of the jam. I am smiling in sheer delight at the madness! After about a 10 minute ride, he drops me in front of the station, points to a $1,000 BAHT note in his hand, and starts demanding I pay him that amount! Are you kidding me!!? I’ve only been in Thailand for less than 24 hours and I KNOW that is complete bullshit! I laugh and shake my head and try to explain the price I paid for a taxi ride from the airport. After some heated in-street confrontation… I decide that I don’t want to die on my first night in Asia so I cough up half his asking price. I STILL get totally ripped off… but hey? How can you visit Thailand and NOT get scammed by a tuk tuk driver? C’est la vie!
I make it back to my lil’ neighbourhood, buy some fun labeled juices from 7-11, have an incredible cold shower, and just sit back and chill in my air con room. What an exciting first day!
The remaining time in Bangkok included a visit to Jim Thompson’s house (with a to-die-for veggie green curry at the restaurant), a bit of shopping, a stop into the Bangkok Art & Cultural centre, and a traditional Thai massage (the first time a woman’s foot has been that close to my vagina)! After the massage, the women offer me tea and that was probably the highlight of the entire day… just sitting around and chatting in broken-English with the cute spa ladies. I also had a fun time cruising around a giant Tesco grocery shop and little pop up markets – so much hilarious variety and food is EVERYWHERE!
But I really, really like Bangkok. I think having three days there was the perfect amount of time to explore and not become too overwhelmed by the craze!
The Internet is too slow at the moment for uploading pics… but lots to come!
Now for some beach time!