Day 1: The cab ride from hell and the meetup that almost wasn't!

Bangkok Travel Blog

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Our first bottle of Chang beer (incased in cooler)

The day of our departure for Bangkok couldn't have arrived any sooner! My friend, Joann and I were so looking forward to our maiden trip to the City of Angels, as Bangkok is known in it's native language.

I spent the night at Joann's apartment, since we decided to share a cab for the airport the next morning. Joann's flight was scheduled to depart at 1030am, while mine was to leave an hour later.  We booked different flights out as Joann couldn't decide if she wanted to join me on this trip, which I paid nothing for (except for airport tax) departing KL.

We were up at 7am, and had some time for a quick breakfast of mum's shepherd's pie from the night before.

Joann and Cordel compare notes over lunch.
Then Joann had to make a quick dash at the building manager's office to pay off her water bill. We'd called for a cab to pick us up at 830, but by 825, there was still no phone call from the cab company about our ride. So I made the call to confirm, and was told that the cabbie was 3 mins away.

So we decided to wait out at the lobby and ten minutes later, there was still no sign of our cab. I began to feel nervous, as I didn't want us running late for check-in, so I called the cab company again, and they assured me that our cabbie was 60 seconds away, and just as I hung up, I heard our cab fly over two speed bumps to get to us. After an apology for being late having been caught in rush hour traffic, he bundled our bags (and us) in the cab and we were headed for the Low Cost Carrier Terminal of the KL International Airport

Our trip to the airport was not without incident.

The variety of toys that one can choose from to go with one's Happy Meal at McDonald's, Bangkok.
It wasn't enough that our cab arrived ten minutes late, he decided to fill 'er up just AFTER picking us up! As if that wasn't enough to drive me crazy, riding in the cab was an absolute nightmare! The cab driver was driving between two lanes on the highway, somehow finding it difficult to stick to his lane. At one point, the taxi slowed down tremendously... in the middle lane of the highway!!! I thought I'd look up to find a slow moving vehicle in front of us, but NO! He just decided to slow down for no apparent reason. I prayed the whole way that we'd make it in one piece to fly out of the country. I'd have felt safer in an airplane going through turbulence than ride in a cab from hell!

Finally relieved to have made it to the airport, we made our way to the check-in counter and grabbed a coke from McDonald's before heading for the boarding gates.

Our view from McDonald's.

Then half an hour before Joann's flight was due to take off, we find out that the flight's been delayed by an hour! I wondered if my flight would be delayed as well. So we make our respective phone calls to inform our families when ten minutes later, another announcement is made for the first 45 passengers to board an early flight to Bangkok. I rush Joann to take that flight, not knowing that the rest of the passengers on her supposedly delayed flight would be bummed to the one that I was to be on.

Thankfully, my flight departed on time, and two hours later, I arrived in Bangkok. After going through customs, I walk out and Joann was waiting for me. We decided to take a shuttle to our hotel near the famed Kao San road, instead of our initial plan to take a taxi there.

The Pad Thai that Joann was so eager to try, for BHT30 at Khao San Road.
The airport shuttle - the AE2 - cost us BHT150 each and made its last stop at Chakrapong Road, about a 10 minute walk away from Thai Cozy House, where we stayed.

We arrived near Kao San Road an hour later, and made our way to our hotel. It amazed me how similar the area was to Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur. Streets were bustling with vendors and shops selling all kinds of souvenirs, jewelry, funky tee shirts and street food, among other things.

Having arrived at our hotel, Cordel, a TB from the UK who had been in Thailand weeks earlier, greeted us as we made our way to check in to our room. We got our key and made our way to the 5th floor where our room was, and after freshening up with a change of clothes, we headed back down to use the cheapest net service in Bangkok, beamed Cordel! 10Bht for 20 mins, not a bad deal.

(From left) Cordel, Charlotte and Joann pose pre-dinner at Pannee's street diner.
After updating our facebook profiles and checking out emails, we decide to have our first Thai meal at the popular restaurant within Thai Cozy House.

I thought I'd try the fried rice with shrimp and Cordel went for a BMT sandwich (not very adventurous!),  while Joann - who had a bite to eat at the airport - settled for a Chang beer. It wasn't quite as tasty as I hoped it'd be, and so I decided to try something else on the menu if we decided to eat there again on our trip. After lunch, it was time to explore Kao San Road. Cordel gave us the low down on street food and how to bargain for a deal when shopping in the area. I was just thrilled to be there, and tagged along as we explored shops and stalls, while looking for the Starbucks that we had planned to have our Bangkok meetup at that evening.

The lemonade I ordered (urrggghh!!)
Although the weather in Bangkok that day was perfect as it was cool and a little cloudy with little sunlight, I was sweating buckets! The humidity really got to me.

Then I took out my camera to start shooting my Kao San Road experience, and the first shot I took of the street came out white! Not sure if there was something wrong with the exposure or if my sister had messed with the aperture, I checked the setup again and took another shot.... and there was nothing! No colour  on the shot! WTF??? I couldn't believe it. I'd purchased a 2GB memory card and enough batteries to capture as much of Bangkok's colours and now my cam was dead! I told myself that there has to be some way to fix this, so left the photoshooting to Joann while taking in the sights, sounds and smells of Kao San Road.

The view at Panee's.

After almost an hour of walking around, we decided to take a breather and headed to McDonald's, partly to check out its menu. I was thrilled to see that they served pork burgers!! Yes, as lame as this sounds, the McDonald's in Malaysia serves only kosher burgers and meals.

As amazed as I was, I decided not to have anything non-local in Bangkok, and opted for a coke float, which came with ice cubes in the coke! The ever hungry Cordel had a burger meal and Joann was happy with bottled water. Half an hour later, it was onward to explore more of Kao San Road until it was time for our planned meetup. We sat outside Starbucks, not knowing that we were actually in the shared vicinity of the Sunset Bar, which we had realized after being handed menus by a waiter not garbed in a Starbucks apron!

Being typically English, Cordel ordered a cup of tea, while I went for a glass of the iced version and Joann stayed stuck to her untouched bottle of water, as she indulged in a styrofoam container of Phad Thai, which is stir fried noodles with egg and veges.

Happy Hour has begun!!
Between 630 and 730pm, we waited for what we thought would be at least a couple of TBs who were in Bangkok to show up. We kept an eagle eye out for every tourist or tourist-type persons that walked towards Starbucks, happily waiting to declare that the meetup would be at the Sunset Bar instead (merely inches from Starbucks!). Just as I was about to give up on anyone else showing up besides the three of us, Charlotte, a TB from the UK who was in KL (and who stood us up at the mini meetup just weeks before) came up to us and asked if we were the random people who were members of a travel site called TravBuddy! Exchanging hellos, we went straight into our travel stories until 730pm, where we gave up on anyone else showing up and decided to make our way to another location for dinner.
Dear, sweet (exhausted) Cordel who kept trying to cheer me up on our first night in Bangkok.

After walking for what seemed like an eternity, we found a street food diner called Panee's and settled there for dinner. Dinner was not too bad, except for the banana mango shake that Cordel ordered which tasted more like banana pineapple (yuck!) shake. The prices were a little steep by my standards, at least, especially for street food. I realized then that this was more for the tourists, as we were certain that we'd find much better local food at local prices. Joann and I were determined to find better street food the next day.

Once dinner was done, we walked back to Kao San to find a bar to hang out in. I was already exhausted by this time, as my knee decided to act out and the stress levels due to the increasing pain, had me perspiring and dying to sit down.

Charlotte and Joann laugh up caption ideas!
We finally decided on this bar, that was two storeys up (the stairclimbing was not gonna help the knee) and had a guy with an acoustic guitar playing the latest rock indie hits. The entertainment wasn't bad and we pretty much had fun, until I got a nightmare of a call from the man who calls me his girlfriend!! While I'll leave out the details, I wasn't good company after that phone call (sorry, guys!) and tried to keep a happy face, but it didn't help that I was in pain. After hanging out for almost an hour, we decided to call it a night and said goodbye to Cordel who was flying out to Singapore the next morning, while Charlotte was headed to the elephant sanctuary the next day.

We walked back to our hotel, where I couldn't wait to crash after my scalding hot shower (to help ease the pain in my knee). I was so looking forward to the next day, and our visit to the temples.



Transitory says:
Congrats on the feature! Tham dee! (did well)
Posted on: Jun 04, 2009
Jacqinmiddenamerika says:
Congrats on your featured blog!! Way to go! :-)
Posted on: Jun 04, 2009
nomaden says:
Whew! :-D That was a good read! :-P great write up! Humorous! Ohh our experiences were almost the same w/ the cab. Only i didnt make it to my flight! :-( you were also able to eat something while i starved for the day. My cam was dead even if i bought a new batt. And Now, i dont have pics of my own.. :-( sad. newe, congrats on the feature! Its well deserved. ;-)
Posted on: Jun 03, 2009
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Our first bottle of Chang beer (in…
Our first bottle of Chang beer (i…
Joann and Cordel compare notes ove…
Joann and Cordel compare notes ov…
The variety of toys that one can c…
The variety of toys that one can …
Our view from McDonalds.
Our view from McDonald's.
The Pad Thai that Joann was so eag…
The Pad Thai that Joann was so ea…
(From left) Cordel, Charlotte and …
(From left) Cordel, Charlotte and…
The lemonade I ordered (urrggghh!!)
The lemonade I ordered (urrggghh!!)
The view at Panees.
The view at Panee's.
Happy Hour has begun!!
Happy Hour has begun!!
Dear, sweet (exhausted) Cordel who…
Dear, sweet (exhausted) Cordel wh…
Charlotte and Joann laugh up capti…
Charlotte and Joann laugh up capt…
photo by: Deats