We loved the islands, but felt a bit spoiled at the same time. Islands are a vacation, and everything inland is travelling. There is a difference. Both are great but after the R&R we were seeking more adventure, more of the unknown. Bangkok delivered.
Day # 1
This wasn’t our first time here. We spent 8 hours around the Khoasan Road area waiting for our ride to Koh Tao nearly 3 weeks ago. We wanted to stay in a central place, frequented by other backpackers….so of course we returned to Khoasan Road. We checked into The Wild Orchid a few blocks from the party. If you enjoy sleep, you shouldn’t stay right on Khoasan. The surrounding area has a ton of accomadations for every budget.
As we’ve learned already, the website pictures never match the reality of the place you are staying. With such a nice name, “Wild Orchid”, one would assume a certain level of quality. Funny that the hotel name is a flower, yet they put us in a windowless room. A janitors closet turned bedroom, where flowers come to die. Sounds dramatic but it wasn’t that bad. The bed was clean, it had AC and we only needed to spend one night. It was about 9pm by the time we got settled. So we went out for a quick snack and a night cap before returning to the closet.
The next morning we had to shuffle to a new hotel. We booked it in the same area but had no idea it ended up being directly across the road. It made for an easy move. We booked a triple room at Erawan Guesthouse. We needed a 3rd bed for our friend Nicole who was joining us on our journey. She plans to continue travelling solo after spending a while with us. She hopped on the blog bandwagon as well, check it our here. We were both getting excited to see a familiar face from back home.
We took off on foot and walked aimlessly for most of the morning. We had a tuk-tuk take us down to the canal. Bangkok had an extensive canal system years ago, but in recent years they have filled them in for paved roads and infrastructure. Canals still exist today and are a practical means of transportation and popular for tourism. We stopped for a noodle soup lunch at a roadside spot. These roadside noodle stands are very popular amongst locals. Noodles are suitable for any meal, especially breakfast.
So we weren’t sure how to kill the afternoon, we had lots of ideas but also wanted something kind of chill. We remembered hearing from our friends in India that oddly enough, it’s a good time to walk around some of Bangkok’s malls. They are massive! Very high end shopping. You can definitely access some first world comforts in this city. We decided on Central World Mall, apparently the 6th biggest in the world. It was big, the AC was pumpin’, and who woulda guessed we would find a Krispy Kreme….damn, was India ever a distant memory at this point.
Well, the mall killed the rest of the day. We kinda wanted some evening entertainment but also knew we had to get up early to meet Nicole. We decided to check out one of the “Red Light Districts”. Probably the most seediest area is Patpong. Home to the famous “Ping Pong Show”, it ain’t table tennis…if you don’t know Google it (not for faint of heart). What goes on in certain areas of Bangkok is not right by a lot of standards, and it definitely challenges our morals. But it’s still something we wanted to see, just to walk around. You would expect it to be a dangerous place given the partying and the sex trade being so prevalent, but it’s actually a place you could see families dining, in plan sight of western men on the prowl for a ladyboy. Maybe not into the darkest hours of the night but surely anytime before midnight, when we were witness to it. It felt safe and harmless to walk around. The Patpong area is also home to one of the cities busiest night markets.
Day # 3
Nicole Arrived! We gave her a big airport welcome. The rest of the day was short on pics but consisted of some serious walking time, a good ole fashion day drunk and thai massages to end things off. I think we slept 12 hours that night.
Day # 4
Our 4th day felt action packed! First we returned to the canal for a long boat tour. It was cool seeing the locals who live along the waters edge. We also stopped at what the salesman said was a small floating market aka one lady in a boat selling cheap sunglasses and beer. We stopped at a Fish Farm, the whole canal is overloaded with carp, and there was a guy on a dock selling bread to throw in and feed them. Lastly we stopped at a temple “Wat Arun”, which was under construction and mostly covered in scaffolding. If you think that these stops were underwhelming, you are right. But the whole experience was great! It’s another tour that is taken over by touts trying to charge 10x it’s actual worth to tourists. Barter hard and keep expectations low and you can enjoy it like we did. We also road the regular water taxi boat which you can get on for about 13 Baht and it’s something to experience on its own, for next to no cost.
We met a new friend from England on the boat tour (in the pic above) and he strongly suggested checking out Wat Pho. So we had our boat drop us off at the closest pier to that temple rather then taking it back to the original spot. Wat Pho is home to the famous reclining Buddha. It was definitely worth the visit. It’s a huge temple and we spent a couple hours there.
After a short relax and refresh at the room we were out on the town again to do the Midnight Food Tour we booked the day before. We booked online through Bangkok Food Tours. This was definitely one of the trips highlights! We cruised the town with a group of about 10 of us split up in tuk tuks. We stopped at 5 spots, experiencing both famously known places, and hidden gems. Tasting the most popular Thai dishes and getting schooled by our super friendly and well spoken guide “Mod”. We also met a fellow Canadian named Brad, who would later join us on some other adventures.
Day # 5
Like we said, Brad joined us the next day for a thorough tour of China Town and some weird eats. We continued into the evening. The beverages kept flowing and we visited two rooftop spots. The debauchery led us back to Patpong where we visited the Ladyboy area. We shared some drinks and laughs with them, they know how to party. Our new friend shared a kiss with a ladyboy, Britt got proposed to and Jeff had his junk grabbed. All in good fun. The next seedy stop was Soi Cowboy. Another walk down a strip lined with bars and girls standing out front offering there services. Not much excitement there….strictly business. After a short walk we were back to Khoasan and stumbling to our room. Good night.
Wow, that felt like a long post. I guess it was nearly a 6 day review. There was so much fun and so much to see we probably could have broken it up into 6 posts. Oh well. Moral of the story, Bangkok is great, one of our faves. Six days flew by! After our last big night out we were back to the airport and on plane to Chiang Mai. We made the decision to fly to most of our next destinations. It’s cheap and quick. If we traveled slow by road we would have to cut out some areas and we really don’t want too. Hard to believe our trip is coming to an end. Our last day in Bangkok left us 25 days until home. That may seem like a lot but we still have 2 more countries to see (Vietnam and Cambodia). Let’s hope it all works out!
Britt and Jeff