Two nights in Bangkok

I shuffled off a sleeper bus in Bangkok at 5.30am, sore and grumpy from a cramped and bumpy night on the road. I really wasn’t in the mood for another big city, and certainly not the tacky Khao San Road area, a backpackers enclave full of cheap souvenirs, neon lights, beer-swilling westerners and burger joints. My frazzled brain was too tired to make a good decision about breakfast, so ended up having a soggy croissant in Burger King and wishing I was back by the sea. I had a long wait until check-in at the (grubby but cheap) hostel I’d booked,  so there was six hours of shuffling about trying to stay awake to do. Bleeeergghhhhh.

resizedIMG_3111bangkok resizedIMG_3115bangkok resizedIMG_3223bangkok

Luckily, things got better and better.

Once I escaped the Khao San Road and ventured out into the city centre I immediately woke up to the excitement and charm of this amazing place. Bangkok is the epitome of a modern city… but with temples, shrines and monks thrown in. There was no point trying to blend in amongst the young, hip crowd who hang about the ultra-slick fashion malls sporting achingly-trendy clothes and haircuts. My tatty travellers clothes didn’t quite cut the mustard (even after a visit to the hairdressers, where a young guy in skinny jeans with a heavy metal-meets-neo-punk-Asian haircut gave me a trim). The girls all look like they’ve stepped off the pages of a fashion magazine and everyone seems to be worshipping at the temple of fashion here.

resizedIMG_3126bangkok resizedIMG_3140bangkok resizedIMG_3136bangkok resizedIMG_3282bangkok resizedIMG_3224bangkok

Oh, and the temples! What an amazing site, to ride a river taxi by night and see the golden temple roof tops along the banks sparkle and glimmer with gold. They are inlaid with small pieces of glass which catch the light, giving a fairy-tale effect. I loved riding backwards and forwards along the river, leaving behind the insanity of the Bangkok traffic jams for the cost of a few Baht.

resizedIMG_3266bangkok resizedIMG_3260bangkok resizedIMG_3252bangkok

On my second night in the city I moved to a new guesthouse, tucked just behind the Bangkok Arts and Cultural Centre, for peace and fluffy pillows. This was more like it! I could step on and off the sky train here and had a great time exploring the city and enjoying the Bangkok buzz. It’s vibrant here but at the same time it’s not at all crazy. I was surprised by the low-level of hassle I got from rickshaw touts (I felt like shouting back ‘is that all you’ve got? I’ve been in Delhi mate…’) and it seems like a perfectly safe place to wander round alone.

resizedIMG_3181bangkok resizedIMG_3182bangkok resizedIMG_3226bangkok

Yesterday I visited ‘Jim Thompson’s House’, which was the home of an American entrepreneur / silk merchant who disappeared mysteriously in the 1960’s. During his time in Thailand he joined together several traditional wooden Thai waterside houses to make a beautiful teak home, full of antiques and surrounded by a gorgeous jungle garden. I loved this place and wanted to move in immediately!

resizedIMG_3245bangkok resizedIMG_3246bangkok resizedIMG_3276bangkokresizedIMG_3296bangkok resizedIMG_3271bangkok resizedIMG_3298bangkok

This morning I woke early to go in search of some of the famous Bangkok Buddhas. The stunning (and HUGE) reclining golden figure at Wat Pho was an awesome site and the temple grounds there were serenely beautiful. I’m so glad I went early as I practically had the place to myself, except for the chanting monks (making an amazing sound). I also visited the solid gold, 3 meter high, 700-year-old Buddha at Wat Traimit. He was once covered in stucco to protect him from looters and it wasn’t until he was moved and got cracked that they realised what a treasure he was.

resizedIMG_3187bangkok resizedIMG_3191bangkok resizedIMG_3109bangkok

My ‘too-much-Indian-curry’ belly is being further enhanced by my ‘oh-my-god-the-Thais-can-cook’ obsession. As I tucked into my flat rice noodles with fresh prawns, chilli, holy basil and delicately spiced vegetables this afternoon I decided that diets are off the cards for the coming weeks and I’m just going to have to live with an extra spare tyre. The food is worth it.

I have to tear myself away from Bangkok now and catch the sleeper train north to Chang Mai. Will let you know how it goes!

Advertisements

About lucygriffith

Off to seek adventures backpacking in Asia between September and December 2010
This entry was posted in Thailand, Travel Diary. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Two nights in Bangkok

  1. Daria says:

    Hei! Love reading your blog, it’s really nice … and it brings back so many memories…. In Chang Mai you can eat some amazing fish, grilled on the spot…. delicious!! Have fun and looking forward to the next post and pics!!!
    Daria

    • lucygriffith says:

      Thanks Daria, really nice to hear from you and glad you’re enjoying the blog. The grilled fish have been amazing in Luang Prabang…. will write all about it in my next entry. x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s