Bangkok, First Impressions

Bangkok Travel Blog

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Us on the Chao Phraya Express (river ferry along the Mae Nam Chao Phraya)

Our bags were practically the first off the carousel again which is the third flight running which has made up for the anxious wait we had going into Hanoi. Domestic flights into Bangkok go into the old airport which was actually a bonus for us as it is closer to our guesthouse. The weird thing about Bangkok is that it's such a backpacking mecca and yet most of the budget accomodation is seriously sub standard. We stayed at the Asha guesthouse which was admittedly cheap but the bed was rock hard and they only have shared bathrooms which we usually avoid but we'd booked it on short notice and so it was the best affordable option we could find.  Our taxi from the airport was a bit fraught as we only had the address written in English and the driver didn't fully understand but we muddled through and we got there safe and sound and for much less than we'd expected.

Wat Arun (as seen from the Chao Phraya Express)
We spent our first evening with a couple of beers and planning what to do next.

After a short stroll around the area we realised our location was a bit too much of a way from the sights but good for the bus station to Kanchanaburi so decided that would be our next destination. Our first full day in Bangkok we decided to scope out the Kao San road area which is the backpacker haunt and a sea of westerners. Thailand is a bit weird in that of all the countries we've visited on this trip it's easily the most affected by globalisation. According to the Lonely Planet there are over 3800 7 Elevens in the country and there are at least two on every road, or so it seems. Lots of UK stores such as Boots and Tesco are everywhere and the usual US chains are here too.

Chatuchak Park
Thailand has been on the tourist trail for years and one of the most pathetic things you see are the hoards of gap year students who come here thinking they are pioneers and getting corn rows and dreadlock weaves put in before they head off to full moon parties on ruined beaches in the South Eastern coastal islands. Have they not looked in a mirror and seen how ridiculous they look!!!

We had lunch at a nice veggie restaurant just behind the Kao San Rd before booking a room nearby for when we return from Kanchanaburi. Next we jumped on the Chao Praya River Express. Seeing the city from the water is a great introduction and a quick, cheap and easy way to move around. Despite the introduction of more modern transport modes such as the skytrain and and underground line the river still sees a fair amount of traffic.

The King displayed on one of many buildings throughout the city
Local as well as tourist. We took the boat all the way to Central pier and from there connected with the skytrain back up north towards the bus station. We had a huge walk to the bus station where we tried to buy tickets for the next day only to be told they can't be bought in advance. Gutted. Still at least we got all the info we needed and now knew where to go in the morning.

Back at the guesthouse things took a turn for the worse. Our communal shower was alright but our hard earnt beers were ruined. The bar was being overrun by two western mothers of the most annoying variety and their naked kids, you know the type, those who think that the world revolves around them and their kids and that we should all be grateful to them for adding to the over population problems!! What on earth would make anyone think that we would want to see their kids running around naked!! It's those same mums who insist on breast feeding in public and expect everyone to tolerate their spawn no matter how bad, unruly or obnoxious their behaviour. One of the four progeny decided to exercise it's lungs by bawling and tempting as drowning it in the pool was we refrained and settled for hoping it would slip and cut it's head open instead. No luck there either so defeated we retreated round the corner so we at least didn't have to see it and its co-spawn. No getting away from the noise though. The Victorians used to say 'children should be seen and not heard', almost right if you can eliminate the 'seen' part that is how it should be.

Rant over!! When they left we re-occupied the bar and ordered some dinner which tasted a bit dodgy but was put down to the sour taste being around the obnoxious kids had left in our mouths. Oh no! Only to be expected really where there's kids there are germs and disease!! Adam was feeling dodgy from the off and sure enough about an hour after falling aslep did the deperate dash down the corridor to vomit in the toilet. Just made it!!! No doubt a couple of the bulimic corn row girls were listening from their room jealous as hell at the thought of the calories not being digested!! Go Bulimia!!

Virginiagoodings says:
Nothing worse than the tummy thing!
Virginia/Mum xxoo
Posted on: Mar 10, 2008
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Us on the Chao Phraya Express (riv…
Us on the Chao Phraya Express (ri…
Wat Arun (as seen from the Chao Ph…
Wat Arun (as seen from the Chao P…
Chatuchak Park
Chatuchak Park
The King displayed on one of many …
The King displayed on one of many…
photo by: Deats