Bangkok was…interesting. I didn’t dislike the city while I was there by any means; it was the retrospective comparison to every other place in Thailand I visited thereafter that made me feel glad I didn’t spend so much of my time in Bangkok itself.
I’m sure some people absolutely love Bangkok, more power to them. Between Khao San Road and a few other famed attractions, I felt that my couple of days in Bangkok were just, if not more than enough to run around the city. I largely stuck to my go-to method of enjoying any new location: exploration via FOOD!
Touched down in Bangkok late evening and took the metro as close as I could get to my hostel.
I was running out of sunlight, so I dropped into the nearest restaurant I could find for dinner.
SO I know this looks horrible. Every shot I took looked like a different plate of up-chuck. (It’s yellow curry with crab meat.) I tried. Looks aside, the curry was absolutely delicious; it definitely got me excited for the rest of my time eating through Thailand. Not only that, at 110 bhat (roughly 3 dollars), I thought it was quite the steal. Little did I know that I could get the same plate for well under half the price elsewhere. Oh well! Ignorance is bliss, I was a happy camper.
Closed out with a dim sum dessert. (Yeah yeah eat Thai food in Thailand) Couldn’t help myself. The dim sum place I frequent at home NEVER has the thousand layer cake so I jumped at the opportunity. Soft bao-like dough layered with salted egg yolk custard. Heaven!
The next morning, I set out bright and early to do some exploring: read eating. Learned quite quickly that this was no small town in Myanmar. Rather, Bangkok was the epitome of a ‘tourist-city.’ For every local I saw, there were five backpack-toting, map-weilding, Birkenstock-wearing tourists looking absolutely bewildered at the street signs written in Thai. (I was one of the latter beauties.)
And for every tourist, there was a tuk-tuk or cab driver waiting to scam them. Yet another harsh reality. Cab drivers often tried to quote prices up to five times higher than what it would normally cost, to which I’d have to reply, ‘Pae paeng! Meter ka?’ (Loosely translates into: so expensive! Meter please?) The drivers would often grumble and then turn on the meter; lo and behold, it would often read a fraction of the quoted price at the destination.
Scam man. I would advise to generally avoid tuk-tuks as there are no meters to accurately guage the pricing. I asked this driver to take me to the train station so I could buy tickets to Chiang Mai, to which he initially agreed. Halfway through the trip, he told me the train station was closed at the time and that he would take me to a nearby tourist center to buy tickets. These drivers often get paid commissions on the tourists they bring, so watch out.. SCAM! I hopped out and walked the rest of the 4 km to the stations, but not before the tuk tuk driver tried to charge me 150 baht. We settled for 40, though I’m pretty sure the actual fare was closer to 20. Now, paying 5 dollars as opposed to 50 cents for a cab really isn’t the end of the world, I guess it was just the constant scamming that got to me. After a couple of different encounters, I decided to take the bus thereafter.
Woo! First time on a local bus in Thailand. The fares ranged anywhere from eight to thirteen baht depending on the quality of the bus, which I loved. However, buses were often late or strayed from the indicated route a surprising number of times. Either way, it was a relief to not have to argue with a taxi driver over one or two dollars.
Traffic was crazy in Bangkok. It was actually faster than both bus and taxi to walk most of the time. I just had to be extremely mindful; traffic signals seemed to be taken as more of a light suggestion than anything.
Some pictures from my aimless wandering on Day 1:
Waiting for my delicious creation..
I love seeing is how different countries put their own twists on franchise businesses. In addition to the typical vanilla and chocolate in Thailand, popular flavors included passion fruit, papaya, durian, and dragon fruit.
I started lagging on taking pictures at this point..
Ran around Khao San Road for a bit later that evening as it was not a long distance from where I was staying. Khao San Road was exactly what people described it to be. Neon lights, blaring music, an endless supply of bars and drunk tourists alike, and good-but-not-great street food. It was fun to witness the festivities and whatnot, but I retreated to my hostel once the scene started to get a bit tiresome.
Round 2 tomorrow!