The Wolfpack - Bangkok has them now

Trip Start Aug 03, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Arriving in Bangkok I was met with immigration carnage but, after nearly 90 minutes of waiting with the throng of people, a quick check to confirm my passport wasn't in the name Paul Gadd and I was off, on the express train heading into central Bangkok where traversing the public transport network I found myself in a cheeky little hostel - Bangkok already felt like an old friend.

Dorm sorted (a modest 300 Baht) I bumped in to Brisbane Chris (BC) and we soon found ourselves sitting on the veranda having a beer and exchanging tales. I subsequently met Alaskan Erin and Malaysian Faizal and suddenly the first Bangkok "Wolfpack" had been formed - looking to go out on the town (Initially I was of course extremely reluctant but after much persuasion, I had my arm twisted). Before the serious business of exploring the famous Khoasan Road commenced we headed to a recommended local eatery with German Eva and two Dutch girls. My first experience of Thai food would be to start crying - when it says spicy chicken salad, they are not kidding. With my mouth like a raging furnace I learnt the invaluable lesson to stay away from the spicy food (I have no idea how the Thais consume it without breaking into a sweat).

After dinner, Chris, Erin, Faizal and I hopped onboard a TukTuk  to Khoasan road whereI got to experience the full chaos of Bangkok's tourism industry in full swing. Walking down the road, I was amazed to discover how popular table tennis is here - every few yards I would be offered the chance to see a ping pong show and, being an enthusiastic table tennis player, I was sorely tempted (i'm not that naive incidentally). Each ping pong hawker would press his lips together and make a "put' sound to attract your attention - numerous games of how many "puts" will we hear of an evening would ensue over the coming days.

Heading into a bustling club, drinking and dancing ended up the order of the day and next thing you know (about 4 hours later I should hazard a guess) within a blink of the eye, we four found ourselves outside the club looking for transportation home. Chris elected to acquire a mask to liven up the journey home.... not quite sure how it went down but we all had a go. The following morning I awoke to find Mike Tyson's Tiger in the bathroom, the groom missing and a massive tattoo on my face - well, lets just say I wasn't on top of my game.

The previous nights reprebates found ourselves back in a TukTuk heading to the MBK (massive market where you could buy "genuine" merchandise for a fraction of the normal retail price - what are the odds!?) On the way the campest TukTuk driver you could ever hope to meet took us to his "sponsor" (a common TukTuk tourist tactic) a tailor of the highest order - despite having no intention to buy anything - the thought of my friends wedding in May and the need for formal wear, spurred me into purchasing two made to measure shirts ("for best possible price" which would be delivered to my hostel the next day - Fitted garments ordered, we jumped back i the TukTuk and next thing you know we were on the street, walking to the MBK - on the look out for good Thai signage.

Not feeling my best (obviously the humid climate coming into play here) a couple of hours later after a good feed and the acqusition of a 4 Superdry T-Shirt, I returned to the hostel for a siesta. That night I headed out with BC and his Thai friend, Keri, to a crazy shopping centre - Terminal 21 - each level is a different geographical place - I was fortunate enough to see the longest escalator in Bangkok (how is that not a highlight!?)

Desperate for a dose of culture, I elected to spend the next day taking in a couple of the temples and was joined by New Yorker Faetra and BC . Taking a boat up the river we jumped off and climbed to the summit of Wat Arun to the West of the river - I got to enjoy my first decent Bangkok vista (not the prettiest of cities during the day). From there it was over to Wat Po - famous for it's 46 metre reclining Buddha - my enjoyment was slightly hampered by my finding myself trapped in the middle of a group of Russian Tourists - despite my best "excuse me, I'm British, would you mind awfully letting me through" -  I spent much of the walk listening to "не то, что большой Будда" - I have since discovered that this is "isn't that a big Buddha" in Russian.

All Buddha'd out and finding the Grand Palace shut we headed off towards an area near to Khoasan Road to enjoy a browse around the market "taser anyone" and a spot of people watching - not that i'm stereotyping but this was my first real view of "old Western man with young Thai woman" - For those readers to whom this sounds an attractive proposition and wish for further details (you know who you are) - I suggest you wait for the Koh Samui entry. Returning to the hostel with Faetra (TukTuktastic) later with a modest ping pong "put" total of 8 it was a spot of chatting - I met a cracking couple, Keith a modest Brit and his other half, Oggy - the first ever Mongolian I have met (did you know that the national airport in Ulan Bator is called Genghis Khan International) and enjoyed some good banter with them.

Friday came and with only Chris remaining from the Tuesday Wolfpack it was time to find some new members - Another Aussie, Trys and the Flying Dutchman, Paul. After enjoying a delicious Korean BBQ - I shan't mention my surprise at the lack of street dogs I observed in Bangkok - We retired to the hostel roof where the assembled cast participated in a gin fueled game of electronic "catchphrase" - an essential piece of equipment for any backpacker planning a trip. Agreement was reached that the next day it would be time to hit the Chatuchak weekend market.... a vast collection of stalls selling just about anything you could think of.

Trys and I headed to Chatuchak early(ish), hoping to avoid the masses - we needn't have worried, the masses had all left early hoping to avoid the masses which meant really wwe should have gone when the masses were expected in order to enjoy avoiding the masses who had left early to avoid the masses. Looking round the market we elected to play a catchily titled new game  "Go down separate aisles in the market and take a photo of the most bizarre thing you see being sold" (we are still working on the definitive rules but there is likely to be an advanced version). Chatuchak done it was back to the MBK where I was looking to by some Jeans - after a good rummage and some successful haggling (for a change I might add) - I found myself the owner of a pair of very nice "DEISEL" (sic) jeans.

That night, my last in Bangkok, Trys, Dutch Paul and I headed up to Scirroco a bar on the 64th floor of the State Tower that, as well as offering great nightime vistas over the city was made famous by "The Hangover II". A couple of extortionately priced drinks were consumed taking in the views and watching the strange mix of people, backpackers (clearly identified by the lack of a beverage), escorts (clearly identified by their designer dresses and predatory stalking of men who looked like they had a few quid - obviously I wasn't stalked), locals (not sure I actually saw any) and the well to do residents/holiday makers (clearly identified by their consumption of multiple drinks). Our "authentic" Wolfpack night over, it was back to the hostel ready for an early start to the airport.

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