Bangkok was the first stop after half of a year in China and before Vipassana course. Just for a couple of days but still with some expectations.
Actually, those expectation were based on “Hangover 2: from Vegas to Bangkok” movie. I don’t really know what exactly it means but that time it was something about rush and not-sleeping-city where everything is about sex, drugs & rock&roll.
But Bangkok fell short of my expectations. Two days were enough to get totally bored. IMHO, there is no point to stay in Bangkok more than a day as long as you are not interested in Thai prostitutes or lady-boys.
Well, sure, one day is not enough if you plan to shop. I guess it’s an awesome place to go shopping as there are several massive markets where one can get whatever possible. Exactly the same like in China =) But… the trick is that markets could not surprise me after real China at all.
But still, it’s not that bad anyway. I can clearly divide things one can do in Bangkok in the daytime and nighttime. And tourist activities withing the daytime I liked pretty much. The main thing – don’t make it too long there.
And what I like about Bangkok – it’s not something special but that mix of everything in the same place which you can find in most Asian cities but in size of metropolis. Palaces are next to bungalows, posh cars are parked near houses made of rusted iron pieces and old newspapers.
Actually, if you move just a bit from “highly recommended by Lonely Planet” paths, it’s getting way better and it’s more pleasant to walk as there are no tourist and even no locals.
And sure, the most wonderful thing about Bangkok – its Wats (temples). Google says that there are from 300 to 400 Wats in Bangkok. And I do believe it! Who knows, but I won’t be surprised if there are even more of them.
So, definitely I wasn’t in any of main Wats. I walked toward Wat Phra Kaen, but saw numerous tourist there and turned back. But I was in Wat Traimit. That’s close to China town and it was the first Thai Wat I’ve ever entered.
The view from the window was not that weird for Asia – deserted construction area. Luckily nothing worse.
After visiting Wat Traimit we (me and two girls from Czech Republic) did the best thing one probably can do in Bangkok – took a boat along the main river of Bangkok – Chao Phraya. There are hell of posh and expensive tourist boats but the good thing is that even backpacker still can take a ride – there are boats which work as public transport and cost almost nothing – just for 20 bath (what is 50 Eurocent) you can sail through almost whole city.
There are plenty of stations at those boat’s routs, so it’s way better to do any trip possible by the boat instead of taxi, tuk-tuk or bus. But actually, some words about buses…
Tourists use buses in Bangkok rarely and only in the city center. But when I entered bus somewhere far away from the main tourist attractions the whole bus smiled me. Thai passengers showed that “Yeh, cool!” Sometimes they even refused to take payment – they looked so offended when I took my wallet from my bag…
Bus still, back to the boats. There are schedule and map of routs at every boat station, so it’s very hard to mess up. We sailed almost to the end of the rout. The good thing is that you can see almost all main Wats from the river. So, easy to take a short look and decide where you wanna go and where not.
What’s about night Bangkok… Well, I didn’t like it at all. If you are not interested in go-go bars or night markets… you hardly can find a place where to go.
First evening I and two travel mates started at China-town market. I guess it’s obvious that China-town could hardly surprise me after half of a year of living in real China. But then it was the middle of January – the beginning of Chinese New Year, so red lanterns were everywhere. And it looked really cool.
Plus, it was China-town where I had Thai foot massage for the first time in my life. That was very refreshing after a day of walking and walking. But then, I found that my legs are covered with bruises when I woke up next morning. So, my good attitude about Thai foot massage didn’t last for a long…
But still, feeling good after foot massage we spent a lot of time walking along market streets, around Siam square (same market and go-go bar place as everywhere in Bangkok). It would be too boring if not awesome signs of go-go bars.
So, when girls were done with buying fakes, we had to think what’s next. It was merely 8 p.m. but we’ve already had no idea what else could we do there. By some reasons none of us was eager to get to know neither Thai girls from go-go bars nor lady-boys… I thought about Khaosan Road (backpacker’s place as Lonely Planet says) but Czech girls said that it’s just loud and expensive.
So, we ended up sitting on a bench near Victory Monument drinking beer. Skyline flew there and back above our heads, drunk Thai man danced in front… Bangkok appeared as an extremely unpleasant place withing that half of an hour we managed to stay there…
But what’s about Khaosan Road – I got there in several days. And it’s exactly as Czech girl said: loud and expensive. Beer starts from 80 baht for a bottle what is too much for Thailand. Plus, I thought that it’s only in China neighbor bars make competitions whose sound system is better. But no, every bar at Khaosan Road is even eagerer than Chinese bars to prove that it is the loudest place in Bangkok. So, I have no idea how drunk or dead you should be to stay there longer than couple of minutes. It’s insane.
Actually, if you go further you find places which are calmer and even with live music, but still it’s too hard to be there and boring anyway. You can do there just one thing – get drunk but then there are a lot of way more appropriate places in this world to get drunk.
And ones again about city architecture: Skyline. Bangkok’s subway. It’s special for Russia or Europe because it’s not underground but above it. Trains fly several meters above the Earth surface. It’s cause Bangkok is build on marshland and it’s bad idea to dig a proper subway there.
Bangkok is very proud of its Skyline. And it’s really nice to check it out and have a look to Bangkok from above. But what is not nice – is how this Skyline looks from the ground: massive grey columns and railway itself same grey and horrible. In my mind it associated with world after nuclear war or total urbanization of Earth when no single spot of grass has been left. So, to prove that I have a picture… where Skyline looks pretty cool and seems to ruin all my words against it.
So, Bangkok… What can I tell? Don’t know. Something bad, something good. I guess it would be perfect for me to come in the early morning and get out soon after the sunset.
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