welcome to bangkok!
Welcome to Bangkok – where the temples are golden, the tuk-tuk drivers take you to shops to sell you custom-made shirts and orchids adorn your freshly squeezed juice.
I got in LATE last night — after 4 or 5 hour sleep in which I slept very little. We landed around 12:30 or so India time, which meant it was about 2 in the morning or so. And then between going through customs, taking a taxi to my hotel and then trying to unwind, I only got a few hours of sleep. I did not want to waste the day, though, because I only have 4 days in bangkok to explore and EAT.
I do not have a guide book for here, so I came in with no real expections or plans. I had booked a guesthouse before hand, (which turns out to be great place — i have just decided to stay here all 4 nights), but other than that – no plans or even ideas of what to do!
So, this morning, I bought a map, had the woman orient me and off I went. My first plan was to visit the touristy area (I am fortunately not staying in the heart of it) to buy a guide book for Vietnam.
On my way there, I took a detour into a side street which ended up being a seemingly endless market. there were vegetables and fruit and eggs (and pink eggs!) and then fish – of all sorts. dead fish and LIVE fish. there were several buckets of catfish – next to one was a little guy who was trying to get away. Then there were buckets of eels – big and small sizes. It was so fun to walk up and down the aisle. I always feel bad when I take pictures of their food instead of buying it, so I don’t — but maybe more tomorrow.
On my way there, I was befriended by a Thai boxer instructor who helped me figure out what I should visit. Then he told me it was a holdiay, so the temples were all open and the tuk-tuks were less than a $1. In hindsight, I am not sure if that is all true — but the temples were all open and the tuk-tuk eventually ended up being free.
Basically, the way it shook down is this: I had a tuk-tuk take me all over the place — I visited a few different temples (and given how tired I was, this was probably good to get driven to them all). but in between, he carted me to different government stores — either jewelery or clothing places – where I could buy stuff. He told me he got a coupon for gas at those places. Well, since I am not a huge fan of shopping, nor could I afford AT ALL the clothes and the jewelery — I was not a good commission (if that is what it was). And then, since I spent so much time at each temple, he had to leave while I was in one place – so I never had to pay for a tuk-tuk (my cheap-ass victory!).
The temples were gorgeous — so different from India and Nepal. Golden buddhas, ornate bejeweled temples, and flowers and sculptures. It was all so amazing. Here are some pictures to highlight what I saw.
Then, I had the tuk-tuk driver drop me off at the main touristy area. Holy Snickes…. talk about culture shock from India… it was consumption central. Maybe kind of like times sqaure – but with dreads being made, pad thai being sold for a dollar and being able to get anything you want. And thailand is where all the tourists come, apparhently… definitely a different feel than anywhere I have been in a long time. I found my book and took off. I don’t mean to be anti-social, but I just cannot imagine sitting at the Irish bar there, surrounded by other tourists.
my plan is to turn in early tonight and get up and take a water ferry tomorrow to the royal palace area for more sight seeing. Not sure what I will do on wednesday and thursday.
Note: i wrote this yesterday, but then could not get online….
p.s. — the grand palace was amazing — I will definitely share pictures
p.s.s. – the city is super easy to get around, signs everywhere
p.s.s.s – the carnivores in the audience would LOVE it here — fried/grilled meat everwhere. some of it — i have no idea what it is — but you buy it all on the street. In face, that is how you eat here — on the street from all the stalls. it is great and fairly cheap (see below).
p.s.s.s.s. — i am SUPER shocked at how expensive it is here. I am well over budget every day — and that is eating on the street for most meals! Ok, I have indulged in the fresh fruit in coconut mile last night and tonight — but still…. I am not sure people would do this on less than 30 a day – unless they only had one cup of coffee (i might have had two and an iced coffee today) and no beer (i just had one, my first in weeks) and they eat all 3 meals on the street. I guess I am just use to Nepal/India prices where I could manage for 20-25 a day easy. and here — it would take work to be at 25. And the grandpalace was not good — since that was almost half my budget for the day…. 🙁 trying to tell myself it doesn’t matter but… it kind of does!
ok — there will be another post soon with new pictures! it is really beautiful here – and so clean and quiet!
hope all are well and surviving tlhe lead up to the holdiays!