Four nights in Bangkok Feb 07, 2011
Arriving as newbies to Bangkok with no idea of what to expect, except for the usual stories of ladyboys, ping pong shows and crazy traffic, which in fact is not very far off, we were mesmerized by the overall experience. After travelling for 15 hours from South Africa we were tired, but in no way were we going to lie down for a nap. Too much to see and to do.
Armed with a Lonely Planet guide and a phrase book, we hit the busy streets of the Banglamphu district. For the next four days, this was our home, and we tried to squash in as much as possible.
Amidst all the craziness of Bangkok, people tend to forget to mention the amazing sights of the city. The overwhelming tranquillity of The Standing Buddha, the raw size and beauty of The Grand Palace, and just across the river the history of The temple of Dawn. Just a few sights among the tons there is in Bangkok. Had we had more time, we would have made an effort to see more, but there's always another time.
One thing to look out for is the overly friendly scam artists and tour guides. They'll offer you “cheaper” options of sight-seeing tours, river tours and pretty much anything that is for sale in Bangkok. Politely decline and keep walking as you are probably getting screwed by them. All of them get “commission” and are tightly connected with each other. Rather stick to your official tour guides and do your research. Speak to as many people as possible, find out prices and always haggle, you can probably get anything in Bangkok for half the price anyone offers you.
The nightlife in Bangkok is of another sort. From watching an amazing blues band headed by an old, dodgy-looking Brit at the legendary Blues Bar, experiencing a seriously crazy ping pong show, watching a local Thai band perform System of a Down's Toxicity to dancing the night away to serious techno tunes all within a km of each other around the infamous Khaosan Rd.
Prepare yourself for some serious hangovers and crazy experiences.
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BANGKOK Nov 20, 2011
Since I'm not a big fan of writing any blogs and reviews , I ll take this chance to add pictures :) ,I believe they can tell more than words ....
If you are planing to visit Bangkok in future ,you wont regret it FOR SURE !!!!!
Two Nights in Bangkok....and Two Weeks in the Southern Islands! Mar 08, 2008
Two Night’s in Bangkok...And Two weeks in Koh Samui…
The most memorable trip I have had to date would that to Bangkok, Thailand; with a swift transition down to the beautiful Southern islands; namely Koh Samui. And an unforgettable day and a half of debauchery at the legendary "Full Moon Party" island of Koh Pha Ngah.
Starting with our arrival in Bangkok from San Francisco, contrary to popular belief, I found Bangkok to be quite a pleasant, safe place. The public transit system was second to none; easily beats the London Underground, where I lived for 6-mos+.
They call Thailand "the land of a thousand smiles", and I felt that to be quite accurate. I am not certain if all the smiles were at my expense; or were genuine. But at the end of the day, a smile is a smile to me!
It was hurried stay in Bangkok, for we had a plane to catch the following evening, so we wanted to absorb as much of it as we could.
This meant going to all of the places the tour books told us not to go.
First stop was to the PatPong area; notorious for everything illegal in the States. Transportation was a Tuk-Tuk (a motorized Rickshaw), which was more mind-blowing than any NYC cabbie.(see pic).
There seemed to be absolutely no traffic laws in Bangkok; motorcycles roar by, nicking the side mirrors, and for a short period, my elbow. I quickly realized that this was no horse-drawn stroll down Main Street on Christmas Eve. My limbs were at risk!
Finally, we arrived in the unknown and treacherous Patpong, at the perfect time of dusk. There were some disturbing sites, but nothing nearly what I had braced myself for. I had learned years before, that when in a possibly dangerous scenario, just walk tall and pretend you know what you are doing; although my heart was pounding! Everything imaginable was at arms reach, DVD’s of movies not yet released, name-brand clothing for a penny on the dollar; and of course, a heavy concentration of strip-clubs.
My good friend and I grabbed some top-notch name brand clothing, a few Harry Potter DVD’s for the kiddies back home, and stepped in to the closest strip joint for curiosities sake, of course. It was quite a madhouse; we were eyed out and preyed upon immediately. Lovely girls would come up with signs, asking for us to buy them a drink. We obliged for a few, but the whole scene was quite depressing, I observed many men, who seemed to be “seasoned veterans”, who seemed to know the place well. We quickly chugged down a few beers, left a hefty tip, and went onward. Often that scene haunts me, knowing the social ramifications that come along with what activities bring money to that district.
A quick taxi took us back to the hotel; we collapsed immediately; still fully dressed, with our contraband, including my prized Red Bull tee-shirt(see all pics) for a mere $1 USD; it has since gone missing . I am wearing it in nearly every photo I am in, so you can imagine how sacred it was to my heart.
Hotel wake up call came at 7am, and we are off again; this time to collect our thoughts and prepare for our voyage to the promised land. Exhausted, yet too enthralled to let that be a factor, we voyaged off to the safe haven of the touristy areas of Bangkok. First stop was a fruit stand around the corner with the most delicious fresh fruit imaginable. Mango, pineapple, cantaloupe, fruits of all kinds, many I have never heard or seen, all put on a huge kabob-like stick. There was a long line; but for some reason, we were ushered to the front of the line by these smiling, happy Thai people; inspecting us from head to toe. I was still was unsure if they were smiling with us, or at us, but it was no worry to me, I gave the best smile I could muster in my exhausted state, and grabbed a much needed “kabob”. I felt obliged to leave another tip to the captain of the fruit stand, which left him in awe, and we exchanged an awkward moment of handshake/hug/peck on the cheek, which I accepted graciously. It was humid and Adam and I were both sweaty at 8am in the morning, but we embraced our situation and I couldn’t have been happier. After touring an open market of more contraband, I had an urge to get a bit of Red Bull in me to keep on going. We stopped at the nearest market and I made my order by pointing at my Red Bull shirt. What came to me was quite a shocker, I was presented with a brownish, medicine-cabinet looking vile of what I afterward learned was Red Bull concentrate. It was so horrible tasting that I had to chase it down with a few bottles of water. The effect was unreal; my good friend and traveling companion quickly drew tired of my incessant chatter and told me to go back to the hotel and pack up all of our gear, and we’d catch up later. And that I did. I do not recommend the concentrate however. It comes with a horrible crash.
I had the hotel cleaned spotless and all our bags packed by the time Adam came back with a delicious feast, and it was off to the airport, filled of pond hopper.
The flight was a mystery to me, as I fell into a deep slumber from my Red Bull crash, but apparently is was one to write home to mother about. Adam relived it for me, saying he feared for his life, as the mini-airplane swerved and dove up and down the whole hour plus.
I awoke five minutes to landing and was instantly smitten. It was the most magnificent place I could ever imagine. It was early morning, yet gleaming sunshine was sparkling off the ocean; I already had high hopes.
We landed and stumbled down the stairway, at least I did eager to explore the island of Koh Samui.
Immediately we were swarmed with a sea of taxi drivers, trying to grab our backpacks and force us into their cars. We chose wisely to walk away from all the chaos, and found ourselves a nice, yet barely operational ride to our living quarters (see pics).
We stayed at the most amazing sanctuary in town; we only had to drop another $US10 to get AC flowing in our perfect two bedroom bungalow. A great place to rest up and begin stage 2 of our adventure.
The island of Koh Samui was heaven on earth; every morning there was a huge breakfast buffet, which was definitively structured to appease the Europeans; thick bacon, fried tomatoes, scrambled eggs, and other British-type dishes we couldn’t identify.
We scooped a meal, let it digest for awhile, and then stormed the beaches. 90% of the travelers were either Aussies or Euros, which was a actually quite nice. Travelers do not travel to meet more of their kind.
However, we met the coolest American ex-pat ever; a sun-weathered, rugged man in his 50’s from New Orleans, who had seen enough of the States. He rented out kayaks for the cost of 2 $US dollars an hour! And was making a damn fine living at that! Adam and myself kayaked out into the beautiful waters, burning the huge amount of calories we ingested with our breakfast, and followed it up with an hour long, beachside Aloe Vera massage (see pic) for only another 2 $US dollars!
After a nice massage and a solid power nap, it was time to feast. Adam and I wandered onto the beach and saw another paradise in front of ourselves.
a mid-sized aluminum boat filled with ice and the catch of the day. We pointed out the freshest fish, and where escorted to a ocean front table, where the warn ocean water actually rolled on our feet. We ordered a couple rounds of local beers(.50 a pop!) while they cooked the freshly caught fish we pointed out earlier.The full meal costed us a mere $USD11 each, while watching the sunset.
We were in no hurry to leave, we had solid, unheard of tropical tan going on, not typical of the Nordics we were; yet it was time to go to Koh Pha Ngah; for the much anticipated “Full Moon Party”.
We learned quickly that the most beautiful, statuesque women, where in fact, men. We glided by them with a nice smile and marched on.
Fortune was with us again, as we met two of the most generous hostesses you could hope to find on a tourist island. They caught us as we were bumbling around town, trying to secure a seat in a motor-boat to the Island we had been awaiting. Our saviors were named A. and Tia, respectively; they tend to keep their names short in Thailand.
We were soon escorted to a beat up Toyota pickup and told to hurry and jump in the back (see pic). A still unknown Thai man hit the gas and took us for yet another ride of our lives on the unpaved roads, dusty roads of Koh Samui. It seemed we were the only one surprised about being bounced a few feet off of the bed of the truck when we hit potholes…but who was I to judge?
Arrival to the departing dock was a mystery; it was pitch-black and we put all faith into our new found cohorts to guide us down into a sputtering motorboat. We bobbed and weaved for about a half hour and were promptly dropped off a mere 100 meters from shore, were we wadded toward the party; which we could hear roaring a mile away.
We were dropped off at a rickety old dock where a sputtering boat was awaiting.
Adam and me looked at each other for a second, then were whisked away by our guides and pushed into the boat (see pic). We hopped in and took a seat in complete darkness. The engine sputtered furiously and off we went! The half hour ride was incredible; bouncing around in total darkness, I gripped my tour guide, A., and she buried her head and just laughed at me.
Arrival, sparkling lights and thumping music was in sight and the whole boat erupted into a standing ovation. One thing I didn’t plan ahead for was the fact that the boat stopped about 100 yds from the promised land, due to the shallow waters (note the hiked up trousers). We waded into the beginning of the end of reality and any logical thought processing.
Luckily, myself and Adam had not dropped any of the brain-scrambling pills we were offered every 5 minutes. Needless to say, we took care of our brain damage ourselves.
We were greeted/accosted with every possible bottle of alcohol for penny on the dollar, accompanied with a sawed off 2-liter plastic bottle of Coca-Cola to dump it in our previously purchased booze (see pic)..
The scene we approached started a mild thumping in my heart; I gripped poor A.’s hand tightly ; she looked up at me and gave me a fabulous Thai smile, and I put all worries aside after taking a hearty swig of the booze-filled sawed off Coke bottle. Fun to be had ahead.
Everything that was blatantly illegal in the States was ready for the consumer. I smiled back at A., and gave her a peck on the cheek for putting up with my neurotic American ass. She gave me another sweet ‘Thai Smile’ and headed off to see her friends.
I learned quickly, after I started dancing topless in a huge circle of vacant faced Euro’s and Aussie’s, that there was more to the drink than booze.
I made about 19 new friends from every continent imaginable and trampled on to see every Orpheus of the Full Moon experience. I don’t dance, but I was shaking my booty that would any Britney Spears back-up dancer to shame. Before I knew it, I was in an erotic, tongue-wrestling competition with the most beautiful girl. from Amsterdam. Mid-dance I came out of my alcohol and drug-fueled bender, and shrugged off the most beautiful Dutch girl known to mankind to find my boy,Adam.
I found the much worried about Adam in a make-out fest with a tropical looking sweetie and stumbled around to the beach. I planted myself into the beach and stared at the stars, waiting for the drugs to wear off.
I woke up in the first light of the morning, my feet and trousers were soaked, due to the tide. I rolled over and found the most beautiful Asian girl next to me, totally nude except for the sundress that sputtered up with high tide. I was done, I gave her a quick kiss, which she turned into a modern-day make out session. I obliged, but needed to get the fuck out of Dodge.
When I look back, if I could do it again, I would do it in a second.
I hope this helped anyone who may consider going to Thailand, especially the Full Moon party. Learn from my mistakes!
Let me know…always open for advice!