I have been in Bangkok now for about 10 days and in that time, despite continuing with my business, I have managed to see a bit of Bangkok and experience life here.
On arriving I was met by Tik at the airport who graciously offered to pick me up. We grabbed some Pad Thai and other snacks from the street sellers on the way back and that was the first example of Thai Cuisine; just as I had expected, it was fantastic.
I was fortunate to be shown around by Martin and Tik for the first few days – we drank cocktails in Sirocco Sky Bar (more famous for the restaurant), wandered Suan Lum (Lumpini Night Baazar) and ate at some great places including an energising, health-conscious restaurant called Glow.
Suddenly, we spotted an elephant meandering down the street. Apparently, it’s typical to see them walking through Bangkok and especially at night.
Martin and I even ventured into the seedy nightlife of Soi Cowboy, briefly visiting a typical Thai Go-Go Bar. At this time of year, there are not as many tourists and locals around, due to the hot weather and Songkran respectively, so the bars are fairly empty.
We went at about midnight on a Friday night and the bar was empty – unfortunately, this meant the stage shows stopped and we got a lot of attention from girls wanting a “lady drink”. We didn’t stay long but it was an interesting experience all the same – when we entered a dancer was playing the trumpet, just not with her mouth…
I have been concentrating mainly on working and lazily enjoying the swimming pool, massages etc. this week while Martin & Tik are in Japan. Doing my work here has been without problems so far – video calls on Skype are a great way to hold meetings and the many distractions have only occasionally prevented me from getting stuck into work.
Yesterday I met up with a friend of Martin & Tiks – Quinn Strenn, a traveller from America. His adventure started in Hawaii and has taken him to the Philippines, Bangkok, Laos and back to Bangkok. Listening to some stories, both good and bad, from a seasoned traveller was almost inspiring as Quinn’s courage in travelling alone.
This was also my first experience with Khao San Road. Infamous and known to every traveller of Bangkok, it is often summed up with the simple word “Crazy”. Walking down the bustling, busy street you can find dirt-cheap hotels, cash machines, street sellers, Irish bars, McDonald’s and even a recently opened Apple Store.
Watching the world go by from a bar on Khao San Road is infinitely entertaining.
Accurately described in Alex Garland’s fantastic novel The Beach as “the centre of the backpacking universe”, Khao San Road is often talked about with a mixture of disgust and delight. Here it seems you can get anything you need, meet new people, get great advice and enjoy a good (if slightly overpriced) beer in a 24-hour party atmosphere.
Like the famous lead character of the book many travellers long for a more real, tranquil and untouched experience of Thailand – although those I have spoken to still enjoy the Khao San experience.
Today is the start of Songkran which is a festival celebrating the start of the Thai New Year which ends after Wednesday – I plan to stay Wednesday night at Khao San as this is apparently the place to be during this water-throwing festival. Unfortunately, there is so much water about it isn’t wise to take any electronics (e.g. a camera) but I will be sure to paint the picture in my next post!
I am really enjoying my time here in Bangkok, with the only slight downside being the time I am spending keeping on top of my work. Although I love the work I do, the time spent on it is time I am not planning or doing things – of which there are many in Bangkok.
Hopefully, I can get ahead of work and take more time out to explore and discover during that time.
I hope you have enjoyed reading. Next up will be my experiences of Songkran and Khao San Road!
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