Since I went right to bed after arriving at the hostel, and stayed by the airport last night, I don’t really count that as my first night in Bangkok. Tonight will be, and after a day of minor setbacks I must say this is a pretty cool place, of not overwhelming at times.
I ended up sleeping in this morning before taking a motorcycle taxi to the train station. The hostel people said it was quick and cheap so I got them to call me one. I’m not one to hop on the back of a motorcycle anywhere, let alone in a foreign country, but when in Thailand right? It was a totally scary and outside my comfort zone, in addition to me with my backpack and bag with me. I held on for dear life, but gotta admit it was really fun. Check that off the bucket list.
I took the super efficient train into Bangkok and wandered through the streets to get to my hostel called Suk 11, recommended from one of my favourite travel blogs Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site. Walked past a couple of “adult” oriented places, one was called Doctor BJ’s or something so you can fill in the blanks as to what that is. Also got used to being approached every 10 feet by tuk tuk drivers looking for business.
Once I checked in, I headed upstairs to my room to drop off my stuff. Yet again thought it would be shared but it’s all my own. I forgot that things are cheaper in Thailand, so for what a 10 bed hostel costs in Japan, you get your own room here. Excellent!
I didn’t really have a plan today other than booking my train ticket for Chiang Mai at the main station (you can’t do it online), and figured I would just wander around. I headed up Sukhumvit Road and took in the atmosphere and enjoyed the hot, humid weather. At certain points of my journey the smell of incense was in the air, followed by periods of nasty smelling things. They say Bangkok is a city of smells, so I was getting the complete experience.
At the train station, I attempted to buy a ticket for the overnight train with no luck. All the sleepers were sold out (even the ones without AC) and I was not sitting in a chair 13 hours! December is high season here, so I just rolled with the punches and came up with Plan B to take the train tomorrow at 12:45pm. It gets in just after 4am, but it’s a sleeper bunk. Problem solved. I don’t need AC anyway. I’ll just open the window.
The other minor bump was that the zipper on my small backpack broke somehow, rendering it useless. I just bought it! Not the end of the world, I’ll find something to replace it with. And that folks is how to enjoy travel, find solutions to problems and just let it go.
I was starving at this point so I stopped at a street vendor and got a chicken and rice dish. It was delicious as expected and cost me a total of 40 baht, or just over a dollar.
I also sat for a while trying to find a reasonable flight from Chiang Mai to Krabi as I didn’t want to get stuck taking a train or bus as that would take a long time. I finally found a flight for around $140, which is super expensive any other time of year. Note to all those who told me to just book things when you’re here: Have you ever been in December? No, you haven’t. Book as much in advance a possible. The end.
After that I took the train back to my hostel and decided that after the last week of walking 12 hours a day and being cramped into economy class seats on planes, I needed a foot massage. It was 250 baht for one hour of one of the most relaxing experiences I’ve ever had. Not only do they massage your feet and legs, the do your back, head, arms and shoulders. I think I’ll be getting a couple more.
I headed back to the hostel and ended up chatting with a couple people from France, a girl from Southern Thailand and another from Belgium. We had a few beers and compared similarities and differences between our countries. I also grabbed more street food, this time a chicken dish with peppers, onions, noodles and a bunch of other things. All that matters is it was so good, and only 55 baht. I’m going to have a hard time paying $9+ for Thai food ever again when I’m back at home.
That’s about it for today. Going to get a good night a sleep then head to the train station tomorrow for my journey into the north!