And so the journey begins

Bangkok Travel Blog

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A long way left to go...
We arrived at Heathrow about 3 hours early for check-in to find out that they could not check us in as we did not have proof on onward travel or a Thai visa. Great, good job we arrived early then! After waiting for an EVA airways rep and finding her distinctly unhelpful, we went across to the Thai airways ticket stand to see if we could buy an onward ticket from there that we could then refund. At first it seemed simple, yes we could do that. However, in order to get the refund we had to contact the Thai airways people in writing, not very practical, plus he then changed his mind about selling us a ticket at all! Getting increasingly stressed (whose idea was this trip anyway.....) we went back to original check in woman who was actually very nice and sent us to someone else at the end of the counter.
The view as we approached Bangkok
On the way we picked up an immigration leaflet outlining that on a British passport you didn't need a visa to stay under 30 days, so we showed her and she agreed to let us check in. Bingo! We kept the leaflet as proof should we need it on the other side, checked in 2 hours after we arrived and sat down to an all day breakfast at dinnertime, yum!

Checking in a little later than imagined resulted in our seats being right at the back of the airplane but this was fine as we had '2 seats' and didn't have to contend with the irritating 3rd person who is always asleep when you want to go to the toilet. The plane was lovely, video on demand at each seat and even free paper slippers, what a luxury! We were fed pretty quickly and watched a film or two before the lights were turned off and we tried to sleep, tried being the operative word.
The Khao San Road
Still after a few hours of dozing the lights flooded on and breakfast was served, Lisa's meal arriving first as it was vegatarian, the air stewardesses actually woke her up to tell her to eat her breakfast! For both meals there was a choice of western or thai (actually taiwanese I think), and it was ok, standard plane fare really.

We arrived at Bangkok fairly soon after and were impressed that the time had gone by quite quickly. Our nerves at being in Asia were topped only by our nerves of being turned away again at immigration, but the guard stamped our passport and waved us through with no questions at all. So much for all the fuss at Heathrow! We bypassed the touts offering limo services to hotels and found the public taxi rank where we got in and handed the driver the address of the guest house.
Streets in Banglamphu, home of the backpacker
Despite it being written in both Roman script and Thai, he seemed to have some problems so we had to find it in the map in our book to show him! He spent much of the journey staring back at us, probably wondering what the hell we were doing there, as WE were.

We discovered quickly that a 'soi' is a small road off the main road, typically a paved track with a pavement if you are lucky and as many stray animals as people. We got out of the cab and were told that the guest house was around the corner, which luckily it was. The place was quite nice, more expensive than we will have to spend in future, with air-con and a hot water shower. Although actually the hot water was nowhere to be seen and to call it a shower was somewhat misleading. The water pressure was so low that holding the shower head on it's side was enough to reduce the flow to a drip down your arm! We had a wander round the immediate area and down to the river (Mae Nam Chao Phraya) before deciding to eat some dinner at the small cafe attached to the guesthouse.
Pesky tuktuk drivers jostle for your attention
 

After a good nights sleep we walked up to the Khao San Road, infamous backpacker mecca and full of stalls selling clothes, dodgy DVDs, fake watches and anything else inbetween. The weather is very hot and humid, we managed to stay outside for only a short time before retreating into one of the many many cafes and cooling off with a fresh mango shake which was delicious. We ventured further up the road and wandered about for an hour or so amongst the hundreds of tuktuk drivers hassling us for a fare and the stalls which lined the streets. It was quite a shock to the system, sights and smells which we have never encountered before, fascinating, crazy and terrifying all at once.
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A long way left to go...
A long way left to go...
The view as we approached Bangkok
The view as we approached Bangkok
The Khao San Road
The Khao San Road
Streets in Banglamphu, home of the…
Streets in Banglamphu, home of th…
Pesky tuktuk drivers jostle for yo…
Pesky tuktuk drivers jostle for y…
Bangkok
photo by: Deats