April 5, 2017

Travel Roundup: Thailand, Day One (Hello)

Posted in Go, Look tagged , at 10:03 am by onetinyacorn

Traveled for 10 days in Thailand, 5 days in Tokyo. Here’s my write-up.

Bangkok

  • What I heard about Bangkok: it’s dirty, loud, chaotic, and smelly. Get out of there as soon as possible.
  • What I thought: It didn’t seem any dirtier, louder, or more chaotic than any other city. I did encounter an unpleasant raw sewage smell at varying times (in the city and on the islands), but nothing terrible. Once I was in rural Ohio and the nose-searing smell of pig feces (a fertilizer) has haunted me ever since. That was way worse. Get over it.

Landed at 11 pm in Bangkok, after 22 uneventful hours of flying halfway around the Earth. Was able to buy a SIM card and exchange money at that time: score. Got a cab easily, showed him my poorly-translated-into-Thai address of hostel #1: Siri Poshtel. The Google Translated text didn’t help, but the Thai map did (I had read that cabbies often don’t know much/any English, so I came prepared). He dropped me off a block away from the hostel, insisting that this dimly-lit building was my hostel. I knew we were near the actual hostel, so I thanked him and got out. I proceeded to wander around in a confused, sleep-deprived daze until a prostitute helped me find the hostel. Nice! And who should happen to be checking in at the exact moment that I arrived but my friend Josh, who has been living in Thailand for the past two years! We got settled in, cracked a few beers, and reminisced while waiting for the third member of our traveling trio to arrive. An hour or two later she showed up with an irate cabbie (takeaway: don’t use Google Translate to transliterate addresses from English to Thai).

Despite the fact that it was now 1 or 2 am, we set off for nearby Khao San Road. This place has a reputation for being a wild destination for backpackers. By this time of  the night, it was mostly intoxicated Thais and street vendors. I had my first of many, many snacks on this trip: grilled chicken for about 30 cents. It was delicious. Sated, we wandered back to the hostel and fell asleep at about 4 am.

Ate breakfast on a beautiful, open-air patio with tropical plants overhead. Roosters crowing in the background, we had papaya, melon, tart and delicious orange juice, and rice with a chicken broth poured over it.

First thing that I noticed that Thailand does better than the U.S.: bathrooms. They have sprayers that you use to clean yourself, and sometimes toilet paper to dry off which goes in a trash receptacle. It’s all very sanitary and logical.

Stumbled across Wat Ratchabophit, a Buddhist temple meaning “Marble Temple” according to the internet.

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Orchids growing wild in the park between Wat Ratchabophit and Wat Pho:

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Wat Pho, with the massive Reclining Buddha:

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Then I had the best Tom Yum of my life. Thai iced coffee. Fried bananas. Wontons with an egg in the middle. If you go hungry in Bangkok, you are doing something wrong.

Took a tuk-tuk ride, with a fun bit where our driver made a u-turn into the path of oncoming traffic. Exciting!

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Watched the sunset from Sky Train Jazz Club, which was a delightful, mellow rooftop bar.

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Caught the train to the airport, and flew to Krabi Town. Arrived at the White Pearl Hotel around midnight or so and crashed.

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