Bangkok, Thailand (11.14.11 – 11.19.11)

So, much like the last time I was in Bangkok, I didn’t do much. You know why? (Bear in mind, this is not something you will hear me say often.) I didn’t like it. I find Bangkok to be devoid of charm. I stayed longer than I should have because I wanted to visit some of the notorious weekend markets, but only after a few days did I discover that the area where they’re all held was still flooded. Oh well!

Once I flew in I had a bit of an issue. I took the sky train into the city, and then it took me over twenty minutes to hail a tuk-tuk. I feel like this is just unheard of in Bangkok! Sometimes I suspect that there are as many tuk-tuks as people!! Once I hailed the tuk-tuk, I told the driver where I wanted to go, and showed him on the map where it was. His response? “I don’t know. Get a taxi.” And then he drove off. It was bewildering. But then, I did hail a taxi, and the exact same thing happened, and then it happened one more time. In the end, despite having a booking at a hostel, I told another driver to take me to Khaosan Road, because I knew that they would know how to take me there. Still though, I just do not understand how the taxi drivers in Bangkok did not know how to navigate their way around the city when shown a place on a map. I stayed one night at the same place I’d stayed the last time I was in Bangkok, but I really didn’t like it. It may sound strange, but it felt poisonous; I just didn’t feel in a good mental state when I stayed there.

On Tuesday I moved to a new place that was just ten minutes away from Khaosan road, but far cheaper. I instantly found that I felt much better, having changed spaces.

Over the next few days I bummed around a fair bit, enjoyed some different restaurants in the area and had a few totally heavenly massages on Khaosan Road.

On Tuesday, I saw Wat Dhammamongkon, which is referred to as the Big Buddha temple, because of its 95m tall buddha statue. I then went to what was referred to as the “Lucky Buddha Temple.” I don’t know its proper name; they were both very nice.

On Wednesday night, I went out to the Brick Bar, a bar on Khaosan Road. Considering its location was in the tourist epicenter of Bangkok, I was astonished to discover that its clientele was almost exclusively Thai people. I went to see one of their house bands, called Teddy Ska. They performed primarily in Thai, but the music was good, and I had a great time. And then, they played a few covers and I was ecstatic. They played covers of Madness’s “One Step Beyond,” Bad Manners’ “Lip Up Fatty,” and The Specials’ “Monkey Man,” (which is a cover in itself, but they were definitely covering The Specials version). When they started playing covers, I moved up front to dance a bit, and danced with some Thai boys; it was a lot of fun.

On Friday, I went to the Grand Palace, which houses the Temple of the Emerald Buddha which is unbelievably exquisite and ornate. The palace grounds are expansive and quite magnificent. Afterwards I went to see Wat Pho, which is a temple known for its large reclining buddha.

On Saturday I didn’t do much until it was time for me to head to the bus station to get a bus down to Phuket. I left at 4:45PM to catch a bus at 7:45 at a bus station a few kms outside of the city center. It took two hours and 15 minutes to get there! I thought I was leaving with plenty of time to spare, but gosh was I wrong. I started to get a bit panicky, convinced that I would miss the bus I wanted, but then I calmed down, reminding myself that the worst that would happen would be that I would have to stay in Bangkok for one more night and get a bus in the morning. I did make it, after several bus changes, and plenty of misinformation. The bus actually left at 7:30PM, and it’s a good thing I didn’t know that, otherwise I would have been far more panicked than I was. Point is, I did make it, and got on a luxurious bus headed down to Phuket marking the end of my time in Bangkok.

What’s funny is that although I didn’t care for Bangkok, I know I haven’t seen the last of it. I have a very certain feeling that I will be back. Maybe I’ll like it more next time. I have no doubt that the flooding that is still troubling the city influenced my distaste for Bangkok. Until next time!

Wat Dhammamongkon

The Big Buddha

The Big Buddha’s toes. I found it interesting that they’ve used gold foil on the body, and you can see the little pieces flaking.

The Lucky Buddha

The Grand Palace

Guard statue at the Grand Palace

A beautiful mosaic column on the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Pictures aren’t allowed inside, unfortunately, so I don’t have a picture of the interior for you.

Another guard statue; I think they’re quite magnificent.

A beautifully colored roof on the Wat Pho.

Phuket’s up next!!

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