Upon getting into the hotel in Bangkok, I immediately took a shower and then slept for a total of 14 hours.  I was tired.  After traveling for 30 hours my body needed some serious rest.  So yesterday, Saturday, was my first full day out in Bangkok.  And I have a million things to say about this crazy Southeast Asian metropolis.  And most all, strangely, are positive.  Maybe that’s my mantra talking: to look at this experience for its positives and not its negatives.

I was luckily able to connect with a fellow Greenheart participant, Will, who I found through Greenheart’s Thailand teacher’s Facebook page.  To be honest, I’m not sure I would have done half of the things yesterday had it not been for meeting another person.  I’m a pretty independent girl, but Bangkok is a very intimidating city.  Motorbikes almost running you over, lots of walking, humidity, people that don’t speak English…that type of thing.

Since I wasn’t meeting up with him until Noon, I decided to get on the BTS, Bangkok’s Skytrain, and go to the Siam stop.  I got an all-day pass for like $4, but the average trip on the BTS can cost from 15 baht (30 cents) to 50 baht (about $1.50).  And the trains are extremely efficient, running like every 3 minutes, unlike some other first world public transit systems I know (cough, cough – WMATA).  Anyways, Siam is like the shopping center of the city.  There are probably like 4 malls packed into about 3 blocks with a variety of shops options on the side streets.

I don’t know if Siam was the best first impression of Thailand for me because two of these malls strictly sold designer clothing and expensive things.  And one of the malls, Siam Paragon, is basically like a brand new Tyson’s Galleria, but more expensive with stores you’d only dream about.  We’re talking Louis Vuitton, Chanel…other things I will never be able to afford in my entire life.  This is not the Thailand I came to see.  I am kind of perplexed that a developing country can build a designer shopping center that rivals what we have in the States.  Just think about that.

Anyways I digress.  One good thing about Siam Center, the less expensive designer mall, is they have a huge food court on the top floor that has some pretty cheap authentic Asian food.  The also have western toilets.  Score.

So after meeting up with Will, he suggested we go check out the Chatuchak Weekend Market in the northern part of the city.  This place is basically like a flea market on steroids.  Apparently it’s, and I quote from the info guide, “Asia’s largest outdoor bazaar”.  There are so many vendors, alleyways off of alleyways…I mean this place goes on forever and is complete sensory overload.  It would probably take you a year to look at every vendor.  We didn’t buy anything, but did end up getting some meat on a stick: some very fatty grilled chicken, and some beef and pork balls.  Chicken was yummy, beef didn’t taste like beef, if you know what I mean.


Weekend Market

It was hot, so I suggested we go get a beer. I mean like, sweating in places you didn’t know existed hot.  The best comparison I can give to you about what it is like at the end of the day if you’re out and about in Bangkok is how you feel after being at a crowded amusement park, in July, in the Virginia heat and humidity.  It smells like that would smell too.  But it’s all part of the experience and everyone (except for the Thais it seems) is basically sweating their butts off.

The way Bangkok’s public transit is set up doesn’t really allow you to take the BTS to some popular points along the river, but that’s what the Chao Phraya taxis are for! For 40 baht (30 baht = $1, you do the math) you get a scenic river transport, and some pretty make-shift docks to embark and disembark on.


Bangkok by River – Chao Phraya River – Translation “River of Kings”

We ended up taking the water taxi to Wat Pho.  It was like 100 baht entry, plus you got a free water.  And I’m so glad we did because it was amazing.  I’ll let the pictures do the talking.


Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho


Wat Pho


Golden Buddhas


Insane! It’s huge!


Afterwards, we took a tuk tuk/#movingdeathmachine to the backpackers area of Khao San Road.  We grabbed some Chang Beer and ended up staying here for a bit.  The people on Khao San are absolutely ridiculous. Thais, mixed with tourists, mixed with backpackers.  Like, backpackers are just in a breed of their own.  You don’t know whether to party with them, feel sorry for them or tell them to take a shower.  The people watching is also insane.


Khao San Road


$1.25 Pad Thai


We didn’t really eat this rancid scorpion. More like, paid to take pictures with it.

Here are some other observations:

  1. Since I’m half Asian, everyone starts speaking to me in Thai. This could get annoying, or I could just work on learning the language.
  2. The women here seem very image conscious.  Not that I’m not image conscious or women, in general, don’t try and look their best, but this doesn’t seem to be a “hey I’m running errands in my yoga pants” culture.  Especially in Bangkok.  Also, there are shops everywhere for things like “body conturing”, “eye shape surgery” and “skin whitening”…one such brand for whitening was called “total snail” or something like that.  I don’t want to look like a snail!
  3. There’s no free wifi.  The hotel wifi is spotty, at best.
  4. It’s hot.  There’s a lot of people.  Sometimes, things get smelly. You will also try and figure out ways to not sweat, and you will fail.  You just acknowledge that being hot and sweaty is a part of living in Thailand.  It will probably prepare you for when you’re 50 and have hot flashes.  Probably.
  5. Chang Beer’s %6.4 ABV is probably a lie. You will get tipsy off two.
  6. You have to put your room key in a slot in the room to turn the lights on.
  7. They drive on the other side of the road in Thailand.  Remember to look “left then right”, lest you be run over by a moped.
  8. Everyone will stop what they are doing during the King’s Song. Thai people love the king, and you will too.

If you’ve gotten to the end of this post, thanks for reading!

Happy Traveling!

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