Sawatdee Khrap Bangkok!
I landed at Bangkok International just before 5am and because I knew I had to wait until 12:30 to check into my guest house I was in no hurry to get there so I had a little wander around the airport and had a little browse in my fist Thai shop, a 7 Eleven which I have come to learn are on every street corner. One thing I noticed straight away was that unlike India everything is written in Thai and hardly anything in English especially signs and packaging of food and drink so it can be quite interesting buying food in a shop as you have to just go by the picture on the packet but everything looks so colourful and interesting.
I then went outside the terminal and sat down to have a read in my guidebook for a way to get into town from the airport. I also have to mention that I was extremely tired and never felt more jet-lagged in my life since I had barely slept on the plane and lost a few hours travelling too. I decide to go for the cheap option of going by bus into town also because I thought I might see more on the way and it would use some more time up as I had loads to spare till check in. I took the free shuttle from the airport to the bus station just outside and then went to the information desk to find which bus to take to the road with my guest house. The staff were incredibly helpful and one man wrote out a complete set of directions and the buses I had to take on a piece of paper and also where I was going in Thai so I could show it to the bus drivers. My bus arrived shortly and I got on and made instant friends with the ticket collector lady on the bus who was just lovely and so helpful. After a 30 minute ride into town I was dropped off on a main road in what looked like a business area to catch my other bus to my road but this bus never came, so I decided to just hail a taxi so I could get straight there. I stopped about 3 taxis and asked to be taken to 'Chakkaprong Road' and showed them my directions in Thai but they all just shook their heads and laughed and said they wouldn't go there and drove off, I was very confused! I started to think the man at the train station wrote something silly in Thai as a joke or that the place I was asking to go was a prostitute zone or something. After my 3rd attempt I decided to change tactic and asked to be taken to the area near my guest house (the infamous Kaosan, backpacker Mecca) and I'd just find it from there which worked! By this time it was almost 8am and I arrived just beside Kaosan road and by a stroke of luck spotted my exact street and went down it, this was my first experience of Bangkok's backpacker area and it was everything I imagined, ladies outside beauty parlours saying "hello massaaaaaage!", countless stalls up and down the road selling Pad Thai (traditional noodle dish with a choice of chicken, prawns or pork), stalls selling fried insects, tattoo shops and bars playing loud western pop. I found the entrance to my guest house just beside a pink massage parlour and was allowed to put my bags in storage and and sat down in the cafe area and watched the news for a bit until about 10am I went to ask about the wifi and was told my room was ready, yuss! So I got settled in to my room with double bed, bathroom and fan and basically just slept until about 4pm, it was fair to say I was knackered!
After I woke up, I headed out for a wonder around the many stalls and bars in the Kaosan area taking in a whole new array of sights and smells an after my walk felt a little more orientated and acquainted with the area I went back to my guest house to speak to the lady at the travel desk but I got a message from Michaela and had an impromptu skype session which was ace, catching up on back home etc and telling her about my first impressions of Thailand, I also only found out then I could video skype using my phone, neat! I booked one of the full day tours for the next day 'Elephant ride and Tier Temple' and asked for any suggestion of something to do tonight and ended up buying a ticket for a big show called 'Siam Niramit', a huge stage production depicting the history and life of different parts of Thailand, an excellent way to begin my time in the land of smiles I thought!
Basically the show was amazing! I love a good production with big sets, costumes and special effects but this was out of this world! The show started with the audience standing for the national anthem (which is a little dull by the way and could do with livening up a bit) and then it was scene after scene of dancing and singing and they even had live animals on stage (goats and chickens in the market scene showing village life) and an elephant! At one point the scene changed and there was a huge river flowing from one side to another and people paddling boats down it and diving into the river. In another scene there was a thunder storm with lightening and it rained on stage and in another showing heaven there was about 15 dancers flying around on wires. I actually loved it and would highly recommend it even if your in Bangkok for one night!
When I got back into town I went and had some Pad Thai with chicken and my first bottle of 'Chang', a Thai beer after this I went for a wonder down Kaosan road which was now in full swing with people selling anything and everything, countless bars and clubs blaring out music and the usual guys trying to take you to "see pingpong show and have beautiful lady all night long" I found a nice rooftop bar with live music, a Thai band doing really good cover versions of every popular song you could think of from Tina Turner to Queen, and I stayed till 2am closing time chatting to the staff who were just adorable. Then on my way home and perhaps after one too many Chang's I decided to pop into the massage shop just next to my guest house, I thought it would be nice to have a quick back and shoulder massage before bed. The woman who I believe was the owner took me upstairs and washed my feet and then I had to take my t-shirt off and lie down on this bed thing on the floor. She then put what I think was hear rub all over my back which stung like he'll by the way, and began to knead my back and shoulders. It was nice and relaxing at first but quickly got more and more painful! It seemed to go on for ages too and after I though my back could take no more pain she sat on me and bounced about (she wasn't light either!) she then grabbed my arms and twisted and pulled me so all my bones cracked and then ended the massage with pulling my cheeks! When it was all over I had no idea what had happened really but just hoped it would benefit my aching body and I wouldn't wake up with any injuries tomorrow! I then called my mum just to let the fam
know I had arrived safe and sound
In Thailand and told her about the days events, by which time I had less than 3 hours to sleep before I had to get up and be ready for my tour at 7am! I really started to think I was really going to enjoy this country!