Bangkok.... Interesting....

Trip Start Dec 07, 2009
Trip End Sep 26, 2010

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Where I stayed
My House Guesthouse

Flag of Thailand  ,
Friday, January 22, 2010

After getting my visa situation sorted in Auckland in time for my flight, I made my way to the airport for the long flight to Bangkok.

I flew with Thai Airways and they were fantastic, I got 3 seats all to myself so I could sprawl out and relax on the 12 hour flight. Food and service were great and I arrived in a good mood.

I've never been to Asia so I was in for a bit of a shock when I got there. The airport was nice, but even though I arrived very late at night, it was still hot and I started sweating nearly immediately from the humidity. It smelled funny and was very loud and busy even late at night.

Anyways, my destination was the famous backpackers hangout of KhaoSan Road, so I got a bus there, and made friends with two Australian girls who knew where to go once they got off the bus. We got dropped off right at the end of KhaoSan, and it is a very short street, only 2 blocks long, but it is the busiest craziest place I have ever seen in my life. We had to walk from one end to the other, so it took us quite a while to make our way through the crowds and random street stalls. KhaoSan is interesting. It seems you could buy anything you wanted there. Illegal movies, all sorts of good street food, shirts, shoes, souvenirs, fake passports, licenses, Id's, you name it, you could probably find it on KhaoSan. Every local is trying to sell you something, so you are constantly being bothered and pestered to look at their shop, or get in their tuk-tuk, or come to their guesthouse, or of course, "you want massaaaaaaaaage?"

After making it to the other end, finally found a guesthouse that would do for one night. It was 5$ and the place was terrible but I didn't want to end up looking around for that night, and sort myself the next day and find something better. I didn't get much sleep, the bed and pillow we're terrible but it was only for a night so I left the next morning, and walked to some surrounding streets and found a much better guesthouse where I checked in. For 7$ a night I now had a much bigger, cleaner room to myself and my own bathroom, so I snagged the opportunity.

Since it was a Saturday all the embassies were closed for the weekend, so I decided to stick it out in Bangkok for longer than I wanted to so I could get a Laos visa, but I didn't get it till Tuesday night so I had some time to kill. I spent the next 3 days wandering around KhaoSan and surrounding area, not doing too much touristy stuff since I would be back in Bangkok a few times on this journey. I spent the days learning the area, the good places to stay, the good places to eat, doing a little shopping, and bargaining, alot of research for when I would be back.
I got the hang of it. The day times are too hot to be walking around for very long so I ended up spending most of the days in internet cafes, or guesthouse lounges watching movies, drinking beer and having cheap eats.

There are alot of interesting things about Bangkok. There are all sorts of random cats and dogs running around. It is dirty, smelly, noisy, chaotic, and there is always something going on. In Asia, there are lanes in the roads like anywhere else, but the lanes here are more guidelines rather than anything else, as people in tuk-tuks, and motorbikes frequently overtake cars in oncoming traffic. There don't seem to be any rules or regulations for driving, and people seem to do whatever they want on the road, so that is quite fascinating. Everyone likes trying to sell you their product, tuk-tuk drivers and cab drivers are constantly trying to get you to go somewhere, doesn't really matter where as long as you are paying them. The frog ladies as I call them, are always around too. They walk around all day long in pairs, wearing weird costumes and frog hats, and they have wooden carved frogs in their hands and sticks in the other hand, and when they run the stick over the frog it makes a very realistic frog sound. They like to creep up behind you then make the frog sound and try and sell you the goods.

Anyways, 4 days was probably too many for Bangkok, but I did get alot of information about what to do when I am back, so that is helpful. I got myself an overnight sleeper train ticket for Tuesday night to go to Nong Khai, a town on the border of Laos, 20 km away from Laos's capital city, Vientiane. That was my next destination.

I took my first tuk-tuk ride to the train station on Tuesday night which was a fun experience, driving through Bangkok night traffic. After I arrived at the big train station, I had a bit of a wait, but eventually boarded the train at 8pm, for the 12 hour journey to Nong Khai. It was an interesting experience for sure. There we're problems with the train so we ended up leaving late, and soon after we left my seat was converted to a bed, so I spent the next 17 hours lounging around on my bed. That is right, I did say 17 hours, because somehow magically 12 hours turned into 17 and we didn't arrive until 11:30am the next day in Nong Khai.

Vientiane entry to follow!

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