Bangkok is a city with many faces. When we made our plans to travel to Southeast Asia our first stop was Bangkok, we couldn’t believe the amount of people that told us to just get on a bus and go to our next destination. We were almost talked out of it, being told; it’s dirty, it’s smelly, it’s busy, there isn’t a lot to see or if you do stay just go to Kho San Road. Wow, what a load of bullshit! I am so glad we opted to stay a few nights, despite what everyone said to us.
Drew and I are both ‘country’ kids, by saying this we by no means live out in the sticks but on the beautiful east coast of Australia surrounded by oceans, rivers and rainforest. Our major cities are around 5 hours drive from where we live. Both of us have spent very little time in and around large cities which made us think we were going to absolutely hate Bangkok. How wrong we were, we had booked two nights at Arom d Hostel in a beautiful private room that overlooked Wat Pho (giant golden reclining buddha). This room was beautiful and was the start of our beautiful love for the city.
We got in late on a Wednesday night and hoped we could find some food, little did we know that we were in the city that never sleeps. Setting off on foot, with hopeful hearts and hungry tummies we stumbled across a small market where we found some food stalls and settled for some fried rice. It wasn’t until we sat down, we were laughed at by the stall owner for using forks to eat our food and Drew almost took out his main power for his stall when he stood up, that’s when we realised we were the only white people here (we should have realised this a lot earlier as Drew had to duck under everything as he was too tall for all the market tents). It was fantastic realisation to be in a world hub such a Bangkok that we could be in a place with no other foreigners.
After adventuring around the city for a few days, Drew having a major allergic reaction to a bug bite(his first ever) and being taken on multiple tuk-tuk misadventures by drivers who only wanted to take us to the TAT -Tourism Authority of Thailand (more on this later), we decided we would move to another part of Bangkok a little closer to the action. So we packed our things and got a ride to Kho San Road, were we shocked! We finally understood why we didn’t see any other foreigners around on those first few nights, they were all here. Drunk, disorderly, rude, loud and all round full on. It was like having a culture shock to our own culture, after only a few days in the country and having people be only kind, helpful (especially after Drew’s allergic reaction) and minus the odd tuk-tuk driver who thought he would try and make his money out of us… we were shocked. We took into account that this is the place everyone has told us we should be, so we stayed. We adventured around the area, finding some beautiful temples and did some urban exploration in the industrial area of the city. It was great, but we knew this isn’t what everyone meant. They meant go and get blind drunk, go to a ping pong show and then have a massage. It just isn’t our style but we try not to write things off too quickly so we agreed to do one night out on Kho San Rd.
The thing to know about this place is, it is a vortex; it sucks you in at 3pm and will spit you out at 3am, drunk disorientated and confused as to where all your money went (I will elaborate this night more in another post). We did it, we survived it and will most likely not need to do it again. Don’t get me wrong it was a fun, interesting experience but I can’t comprehend how people spend a week there. So once again after a few days and deciding it was time to move on we caught a bus to Pannapat Place Hotel, this was a fantastic hotel close to everything; about 10 minutes from the bus station and 20-30 minutes to the airport.
We found our feet and went adventuring we had heard about the Chatuchak Markets and I had to see it. Let me warn you now this place is HUGE, it has some things that broke me to see (animal cruelty) whilst it also has some of the more interesting things you will see in your lifetime. If you are looking to do some shopping, you will find everything you wanted and more here.
After exploring just a small part of this large city, it now owns a special place in our hearts, one we may of never made if we listened to what other people said.I think what I’m trying to get at is, please don’t discount places because someone else has said it’s not worth it. Go, if it intrigues you. You may hate it like people said you would, but you’re not going to know unless you try it yourself.