So Bangkok, how to describe it? It’s a crazy sprawling metropolis with a little to offer for every taste. I’m afraid I only spent an afternoon there as I wanted to get away from the city for a bit but the little I saw has made sure I want to spend a couple of days there before I leave!
After my gruelling flight from Shanghai I spent all of my first morning in bangkok sleeping. I had booked a fancy hotel for the first couple of days as I wanted to make sure I had a nice place to crash while I adjusted to the jetlag. I’m not sure if that was the right choice as everyone at the hotel was there with their families which meant I didn’t really talk to anyone in my 2 days there.
I awoke at 2pm and headed out to explore the city, unfortunately the main temples all close at 3:30pm and I didn’t have enough time to get there. Instead I decided to wander around and see what I ran into. The first thing I saw was a big section of the centre of town closed off for the protests. It was a strange feeling as the streets were deserted but you could see overturned cars and military checkpoints everywhere. There were also big tents with people listening to speeches on big screen TVs. Not too sure what was happening but I acted the tourist and wandered all over the place. Nobody seemed to mind.
I eventually made it to the first place I wanted to visit which was the Golden Summit. This stuppa was built on top of a previous mount and gives a great view over the city. I got there as there was some sort of ritual going on where a lot of people were pinning amulets on a long piece of cloth which they then wrapped around the stuppa. I felt very foreign and a little in the way but tried to be respectful.
After making my way down and already sweating like a pig, I wandered vaguely in the direction of the Grand palace and Wat Po. I ended up at Sao Chingcha which is a big temple in the middle of a square. Apparently here there used to be a big swing where once a year they would place a bag of gold 15m high and people would swing on this swing trying to reach the bag. This practice was banned after many people killed themselves trying. The temple itself is very beautiful and had an impressive statue of the Buddha inside.
I then left and headed towards Wat Po. I got there and was approached by a seemingly nice Thai man that asked me where I’m from and after a bit of a chat recommended I go to the Tourist office really quickly as it was a special Buddhist holiday and the government had removed all taxes from travel tickets to encourage tourism. The clincher was that he could get me a Tuk-Tuk (taxi) to take me there for free. I politely refused to be scammed and was so glad that I had already gotten scammed in Shanghai! I was approached by 2 more people with similar stories trying to get me to the Tourist information office which kind of confirmed it was a scam.
I got on a Tuk-Tuk by myself and headed to Chinatown for dinner. Chinatown feels like a completely different city to central Bangkok. That happened a few times while in Bangkok, it feels like there are many cities in this one! I got there a bit early for dinner but ended up walking to an open Street vendor and saying “Hungry” then sitting down. I got a delicious soup with seafood in it. I have been here for a while now and I have yet to be served bad food, I love this country! I wandered a bit around Chinatown and then headed back to the hotel to reset.
After a shower I went out again searching for a beer and someone to talk to. I went to Khao San which is the big backpacker area. Again this was yet another city! Brimming with tourists, bars, cheap cocktails and lots of music. I wandered around and went to a place called the rooftop bar. I didn’t get to talk to anyone but got nicely buzzed by myself. The band there wasn’t bad and the are much worse things than listening to versions of Mumford and sons while having a beer.
I tumbled back to the hotel and met a nice French man there that recommended I head to Ayutthaya as it is worth seeing. That is exactly what I did. I’m writing this post after having stayed here for 2 days. My next post will cover Ayutthaya, biking across the countryside and much more!