I took a bus in Siem Reap at 2 am to cross the Thai border. Good thing, my laundered passport didn’t prevent me from getting back into the country 😅 we traveled together with 4 or 5 other backpackers, all of them were very nice. After a long and exhausting trip, our driver leaves us in the famous Khao San road district and everyone goes their separate ways. In total the bus from Siem Reap cost me something like 8$, I didn’t expect it to be that cheap !
I’ve already booked an hostel in the area : the Rest Inn. It’s 10 am now, and I don’t know if it’s because I’m tired as hell, or if it’s just the way Bangkok is, but man ! I have all the troubles in the world finding this place ! It’s kind of stuck between a haircut and a restaurant, with basically no sign on it… Luckily this place is cheap, comfortable and serves good food 👍
For the moment, I don’t have any plan per say. I just gathered a bit of information here and there on what to do, what to see, like Chinatown or the Chatuchak market, but I’ll just end up not doing any of that.
On my way to the Grand palace, a Thai guy comes to me, and offers me a tuktuk tour, at least 8 temples and some stores for only 20 Thai bahts, which means half a dollar. Apparently that’s something tuktuk drivers often do, they have a deal with tailors and jewelries. They get around 40 baht every time they bring someone to a shop, which is quite profitable at the end of the day.
If you have already planned some things, I’d advise you not to go for it because it took me around 4 hours. But if you want to do a completely random – and basically free – tour of the city, that can be a good idea. The downside is you’ll often end up in tailor and jewelry stores, where people will desperately try to sell you stuff. You can always say no, but they’ll sometimes end up being quite insistent 😒
My general impression of Bangkok is a mix between excitement and disappointment. I’m still in Thailand, still discovering Asia for the first time of my life, but after all I’ve seen through my trip, the great places I’ve been to, Bangkok just seems to lack authenticity. I mean, there’s a lot to do and see here but I have the impression everything is made for tourists, even the relationship with people seems all but genuine. Plus it tends to be a bit too oppressive for me, with all the traffic and the heat.
Yet I have the chance to meet some nice locals in a temple, towards the end of my tour. We have a little chat religion, cultures, life in Bangkok… As we’re talking, clouds begin to gather in the horizon, forming mountain-like shapes, very impressive with the evening lights.
Getting out of the temple, I can’t find my tuktuk driver anymore. I’m not really sure at this point, maybe I’m bad at searching, or he might have just left. Anyway I’m not far from my guesthouse now, so I decide to end the tour here and go back on foot. I get there just in time for the beginning of the daily storm (wet season baby !), the perfect time to take shelter and grab something to eat.
Back at the Rest Inn I meet Beran -a friendly Austrian guy- and Brian, from L.A, who’s just starting his solo trip in Thailand. At this point I’m thinking ‘F**k! I shouldn’t take that plane tomorrow, this is a huge mistake’. I loved my trip so much, it’s hard to leave so soon !
Night has now fallen and the storm has slipped away. Beran and I go for a little walk towards Khao San road, leaving Brian who’s trying to compensate for the jet lag. For those who don’t know, Khao San road is the biggest party street in Bangkok. There you’ll find bars, more bars, a whole lot of tourists, loud music, flashing lights… It looks a lot like the pub street in Siem Reap but much bigger. It is interesting to see, but in my opinion it’s a bit too much, I’m not a big fan of the general mood there.
Anyway I have to leave early tomorrow, have call it a night so I can rest before I get back to France. It’s only been 3 weeks since I landed here, but so much happened. I have the feeling time expended during this trip. From the point I realized I was on the other side of the world -while swimming naked in luminescent plankton-, to this specific moment, I’ve been lost in time, almost like it was all a dream.
I haven’t left yet, but I already know I want to come back. Only next time it will be for much longer. The thing is, before this trip I wasn’t sure if I could visit Asia by myself, but now I know : it is very easy to do so. I just want to explore the rest of South East Asia, spend some time volunteering, find a job here. I don’t know yet when, but I know I’ll do it ! 😉