Bangkok is a crazy place (as I kept finding myself saying). From the first moment we stepped of the plane it was hard work, desperately trying to not get ripped off or scammed at every turn. Then succumbing to it and realising that it is kinda inevitable and choosing how and when you get ripped off makes life easier. We were staying in the backpacker district of the Kho San road, which I naïvely imagined would ease us into Bangkok life, I couldn’t be more wrong. We stayed on a road parallel to the notorious Kho san and our street was pretty chilled ( for Bangkok), it had a nice bar with live music and reasonably cheap beer across from our hotel. We sampled it on our first night and had a good few bottles of chang (a 6% strong thai beer, very nice) and listened to the chilli peppers and queen classics played on acoustic guitar by a Thai man with a very strong accent. Was really good fun and he was an amazing musician. fuelled with chang and feeling braver we ventured on the Kho San road….. it was mad!! It was like we had walked onto Newcastle big market, with drink fuelled westerns everywhere. The first bar on the street was called ‘very strong cocktails, we don’t check IDs ‘. Ok so there were Thai men an woman selling scorpions on sticks and an hour with a young lady of your choice which is not very Geordie authentic, but you get the idea. We did have an amazing night on this same street a few nights later, when we met Ben’s friend Ernie. He is a Thai guy from Bangkok so he took us to this club called brick bar, which we would have never found alone. It was an amazing experience, there was a ska punk band playing Thai classics and the crowd were loving it and singing along. It was much more our scene, we seemed to be the only non Thai people in there it was great fun! A far cry from the strong cocktails and scorpion sellers only a few metres outside. Bangkok wasn’t seeming all that bad anymore.
Trying to get a taxi the following morning (as we had been informed by Ernie that they were much cheaper than tuck tucks) was a nightmare! No one would use there metre and wanted a fixed price (which is a rip off). We settled for a tuck tuck and paid more than we should but we had no choice. At least he took us straight to the station and not to the dreaded gem shop (Ben’s on going Bangkok fear). It seemed that if you want to get a taxi or tuck tuck before midday prepare to pay more than you should or take a de tour to a local gem shop or tailor (we narrowly missed both of these joys). Getting around Bangkok from Kho san road is a struggle but once you get out of this area you can use the public transport like the metro or sky train and it couldn’t be easier. [get this from the airport, not a taxi] We stayed in 2 other parts of Bangkok, opposite the main train station and near the airport and both were much more enjoyable. The food was better, more variety and much cheaper too (there is only so much pad Thai you can eat).
China town is pretty amazing and has some lovely, less crowded temples. We saw the most expensive Buda in the world and he was very impressive. The temple was a very chilled place, amongst the hustle and bustle, hard to believe, but well worth it to take a moment.
Bangkok is certainly not for everyone but the longer I was there I started to understand it more. It is not somewhere i would rush back to in an instant but it does have a cool side to it. Impossible to fully chill there but great to see.
Watch out for the incredibly hard bed’s in some hostels and take a deep breath and walk steadily and confidently when crossing the road.You have to just go, waiting for a lull in traffic will mean waiting a long time. Alternatively wait for a monk or local person and cross with them, Or do as I did and grab on to your boyfriend and have him drag you across.