Our trip started in Bangkok, before heading out we had heard mostly negative things about the capital city, so we had tried to mentally prepare ourselves before our arrival but also keep an open mind. Unfortunately, the positive mindset didn’t last too long! After landing in the middle of night and getting into a taxi, we discovered that our driver couldn’t read the directions for our hostel or indeed locate it.
*Cue Shaun leaning over from the back passenger seat shouting left and right to a man who doesn’t speak English*
Once we had finally made it to the hostel, we were too early to check in so resorted to sleeping on the common room floor, I think at this point we were both wondering in our sleep deprived state ‘What the f@$! have we done!?’
I’m happy to say that our time in Bangkok only got better from this point on, here is a few of the things we got up to:
Chatuchack Market is huge! It’s a maze of stalls selling anything and everything. It took Shaun and I a good few hours to walk around and take a look at everything and we still didn’t manage visit every single store!
The best stalls for us had to be the clothes stalls, there were so many of them, selling everything from summer clothes to full fur coats and of course a few ‘genuine fake’ handbags etc. We were really kicking ourselves that we had spent so much money buying clothes for travelling when we could have picked so much of it up here for half the price!
There are also lots of food stalls so Shaun and I stopped for Lunch. However, as we were walking around we kept getting an overwhelming smell hit us which was unlike anything we’ve smelt before (and not in a good way). We later discovered the smell was shrimp paste and it’s used in a lot of Thai cooking and eventually we got used to it but it definitely took some adjusting!
Khao San Road
Our first night we decided to visit Khao San Road, if you’re going backpacking then you’ve definitely heard of this road, so it couldn’t really be missed! It’s also hard to miss in the literal sense because the street is lined with giant neon signs and there’s music blaring from every bar on the road that are obviously in competition to get the backpackers in.
There’s also a bunch of stalls selling knock off clothes and logo t-shirts and of course the fried scorpions and insects everyone’s heard of. Shaun and I decided to pass on these and instead opted for a few Chang’s in some of the bars on the road.
Once you get used to people approaching you trying to sell you things, it’s a really fun place to go for a drink, and if you manage to go a whole evening without being offered a tuk tuk or a ping pong show then you’ve done well!
A highlight of our time in Bangkok was our visit to Wat Pho. However, how we came to visit this temple, not so much of a highlight! We had intended to visit the Grand Palace, but upon arriving we were approached by who we thought was a kind local, who informed us the palace was closed for prayer because it was a public holiday (the public holiday part was actually true) but there was a nice temple we could check out down the road, before we knew it we were bundled into a tuk tuk and off to some place we didn’t even want to visit. As soon as we were in the tuk tuk we realised we’d been scammed and were about to be taken around every tourist trap in Bangkok.
Long story short, we ditched the tuk tuk as soon as possible and decided to go to Wat Pho instead of the grand palace as it was less touristy and we needed some peace after our eventful morning. This actually ended up being a great decision, all of the temples there were so quiet, and often we were the only people inside them, so we were able to take everything in without being surrounded by hundreds of other people. Another great thing about Wat Pho that we didn’t find in any other temples in South East Asia was that there were English information cards so that you could read about all of the artefacts and understand the meaning behind them, Shaun spent hours walking around and reading up about all of the different aspects of the temple.
So I guess the moral of this trip was, everything works out in the end? Or maybe just don’t take advice from rando’s on the street? Probably the latter.
In all, our time in Bangkok was short but sweet, we enjoyed our 2 days in the city and had plenty of activities to fill the short time we had there, but we were definitely ready to leave to explore more of Thailand.