One Night In Bangkok..........well 6 actually
Trip Start Jun 15, 2004
105Trip End Jun 15, 2005
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I was expecting a time difference but was shocked to arrive in the year 2547 - whilst some of you may think I look 25, but have the wiseness of 568 years, I am concerned that the time machine may not work in reverse.
So I arrived at Bangkok airport, and the expected deluge of "Taxi for your sir" duly arrived - I made my way to the bus stop instead, only to be told the bus I wanted was next due in an hour, as the smiling taxi drivers look on - I've read my lonely planet book, and know full well their every 15 minutes. An hour later I caught the bus, with Bangkok now getting dark, it does have a Blade Runer look to it - neon everywhere. As the bus slowly emptied, leaving me as the only occupant, winding its way through the streets, a little trepisation set in, but we reach Hua Lamphong station, I spot my hotel just a couple of hundred yards away, and will all possessions tightly grasped, pick my way along the street traders, amd make it to sanctuary and checked in.
Later went out, and met my new best friend (Maxine please note), The Tuk-Tuk driver, who wants to take me everywhere, and is of course, a fan of David Beckham. Went for a brief walk - again a little pertubring given the number of people sleeping on the streets, and every inch of pavement covered with street traders. I will at some point try some of this food, though with the inevitable Delhi belly to follow, but when in Rome.......now I'm completely lost.
Met Rob from Newcastle in the hotel - he has a Thai bride with a twist - he lives over here, and lives off her income (shes in the travel agency business if you were wondering)
Thursday 17th June 2004
Got ripped off today, but it was worth every penny! - As I walked from the station a guy stopped me to talk to him, at which point he offered to show me Chinatown and Indiatown, on his way home - and I thought why not? - Had an excellent tour, which I would not have found on my own, where street after street is covered with traders - he splashed out 5 Bhat on a pineapple for me, and then we caught a river taxi, I thought, short hop across the river, what harm? - An hour later as we sailed down the canals of Bangkok, which were amazing, we reached his Wat (Temple), where he told me I should pray for my life - ie thanking god or whoever for your life, whilst I took it more literally!) A couple of 7% beers later (bought by him of course) we reboard the boat of which we were the only occupants, and carry on down the canals - I see some floating markets (But not "the" floating market) and we arrive at our destination, where I assume the sting would arrive, and it duly did - the boat driver demands 1900 bhat - nearly 30 pounds! In the end we settle on 1200 Bhat, still a rip off - but as I claimed to not have any more money (I actually had my camera, Ipod, passport, and about 500 pounds) we settled at that, and he even gave me the 10 Bhat for the bus home, and put me on the right bus! Was I ripped off? - Yes, but would I do it again? - Yes - I had effectively hired a tour guide for the day, and the places he showed me I would never have seen - So I had a great day out, became a bit more savvy at people approaching me, and learnt a lot.
Friday June 18th 2004
Its the end of luxury for me now, its time to get the cheap accomodaton on or around the Khao San Road. Tuk-Tuk drivers await with glee as they see me walk towards them - opeing price is 100 Bhat, reduced to 50 Bhat as I agreed to go to one of their shops (they get paid commission to bring you there). Tuk Tuks are an experience - absolute death traps, and you also get to breathe in the fumes from the rest of the traffic - think I'll stick with Taxis in Bangkok from now on - they cost the same.
Find a guesthouse just off the Khao San Road, though as I'm checking in, two terrified Spanish girls are checking out, as at 4.00 somebody tried to kick their door in - nice!! - they convince me to stay though, and for 5 pounds a night, aircon, TV and own bathroom, who's complaining?.
Thunderstorm for a couple of hours, which gave me a chance to reply to emails, and then walked a couple of miles to Siam Centre - main shopping centre area of Bangkok
Saturday 19th June 2004
Day of the temples today - walked down to Wat Pho, where, as a major tourist place, there are loads of people advising you its closed, theres a better temple here, etc etc - Thai people are really nice people, and do want to talk to you, but you do get tired of the men, typically aged 20-40, who continually approach you and try and engage you in conversation. I have already learnt some tactics - I tell them I have been in Bangkok 2 weeks (so I know my way round), I stay on the Khao San Road (so I am not rich), I am meeting my friend at some predetermined point (So I have to go)
Before Wat Pho, and in an effort to get away from the touts, I walked around another street market, which I love - nobody hassles you, and everything for sale is weird and wonderful, and you only see a western face about once an hour. Two five year old kids did find it extremely amusing to pull the cords from the strange farangs (foreigner) mini rucksack.
Saw Wat Pho temple, and the reclining Budha - very impressive, but was then pinned down by the weather (when it rains, it rains!) so missed the Grand Palace - maybe get to in the next day or so!
Sunday 20th June 2004
Lazy day saw the Grand Palace, but otherwise just wandered and lounged about!