Bangkok Has Her Now
After 2 rather long flights I finally touched down in Bangkok. Not sure what to do next, I panicked and headed for the ATM where I randomly withdrew some Thai Baht, with no idea of the English equivalent in pounds. I then wandered around the airport aimlessly carrying thousands of Baht, which I now realise 1000 baht equates to around £20 so I wasn't carrying around as much as I thought I was. Eventually I stumbled across the taxi rank and I was soon stuck in the giant traffic jam that is Bangkok. At the Hostel it finally struck me that I didn't really know what I was doing next. After travelling through 2 different time zones in 24 hours I just wanted to collapse but my check-in time was hours away. In the meantime I looked into things to do and soon bonded with 2 Portuguese girls over our lack of prior planning and knowledge of where to go in Bangkok. Thankfully none of us fancied the "ping-pong show".
Our hostel receptionist had advised us to avoid Tuk-tuk's so we started to walk in the general direct of the sights. We didn't even make it 100m before a friendly Thai lady "stopped us from getting run over" as we debated which direction to go. She was very helpful and in 10 minutes we were actively ignoring our hostels advice and were clinging on for life in a Tuk-tuk. This was a fantastic experience, the streets of Bangkok were chaos but we arrived at each destination safely and our driver happily slept in his Tuk-tuk whilst we looked around. One of our stops was the tourist office, since I needed to make some plans to make the most of my time in Thailand. Only did I realise how desperately I needed to make these plans when the tourist agent was laughing in my face when I told him how long I had and how much I wanted to do. Apparently it was impossible to do everything in such a short time. So there I was, put on the spot, having to cut the wheat from the chaff of my travel plans so to speak. I let the 2 girls head back out to see the sights since organising myself was going to be such a big job. In the end I was happy with my compromise and I haggled for the price. I still parted with a large part of my Budget for Thailand but it had given me an itinerary to follow and virtually all of my travel, accommodation and tours included in the price.
Feeling pretty broke for the first day of my trip my well rested Tuk-tuk driver took me to the river where I essentially rode public transport, a water bus, whilst sitting back and allowing Bangkok to pass me by. Finally it occurred to me that I should probably get off and head back in the direction I came and find my Hostel. Before this I tried to haggle for a bottle of water, still not understanding the currency I counter-offered 10BHT with 4, hoping to get something in between. I now realise 4BHTequates to ~8p, no wonder they laughed. One thing I've definitely learned is it's hard to tell who's trying to rip you off and who's not.
After wandering around the busy streets of Bangkok in the sweltering heat using a tourist map with all of the street names in English...not so helpful when all of the signs are written in Thai, which are about as comprehensible as squiggles written by a 2 year old. Eventually I made it back to the hostel, but not for long. I was soon back out the door to collect my travel itinerary from the tourist agent. There really is nothing like the awkward moment when a middle aged Thai travel agent persistently offers to take you out for dinner...and even worse proposes marriage...Thanks but no thanks.
Later that night my new friends and I went to China town for dinner where I tried various bits of food from stalls, even chicken against the advice of some of my very wise friends from home...Emma Lambert. As one of my new friends pointed out I have the medicines. Luckily I didn't have to break into my emergency Imodium stash. As I described to them a traditional English breakfast I mentioned Marmite, which instantly caused confusion and may or may not have been resolved by my description "you either love it or you hate it." If anyone has a better explanation of what marmite tastes like I'd like to hear it...
We then ventured to the famous Khao San Road where we browsed the stalls which varied from clothes and souvenirs, to fake ID's and bug treats
What a day...