Bangkok

Well, I’m here, alive and well. This blog is partly to keep people back home up to date with what I’ve been up to, but also so I can actually remember it all myself afterwards, so apologies if I ramble too much about pointless things.

My first day arriving here it definitely took some getting used to the heat and humidity. After maybe 5 minutes sleep on the flight over I wasn’t planning on doing much so just headed into Bangkok, a few stops before my hostel so that I could walk around a bit. In an attempt to cool off I wandered around Lumphini Park, which is actually quite peaceful considering it’s in the middle of the city, with several lizards also enjoying the quiet.

Lumphini Park

Chillin’ with the lizards in Lumphini Park

Walking the streets of Bangkok is entertaining in itself, a sprawling mix of modern and run down buildings, endless markets and street vendors. My first night I had a massive portion of Thai chicken and rice from a food stall near the hostel for what works out around 80p! Crossing the road with the insane traffic can be an adventure, but I soon learnt to just shadow a local.

Wednesday it was time to be a tourist and try and see some sights. I managed to find my way to the river in the morning to catch a boat up to the main area of temples. Wat Pho, the temple of the reclining Buddha was the most impressive with beautiful buildings and endless golden Buddha statues, but it’s easier to show photos than me try to describe everything. Wat Phra Kaeo was very similar, but a short boat trip across the river to Wat Arun was worthwhile, the steep climb to the top offering great views across the the city.

Golden Buddhas

Golden Buddhas

 

Wat Arun

Wat Arun from the river

 

Temple in Wat Phra Kaeo

Temple in Wat Phra Kaeo

Rather than rely on transport to get between places I always prefer walking, it means I get to see more of the normal every-day city streets and often ends up finding unexpected things. In this case I found myself coming across The Golden Mountain, another temple of sorts but another place with great views over everything. Continuing my stroll across half of Bangkok I ended up in the busier central area with many large shopping malls and by luck one of them has Muay-Thai boxing matches held outside every Wednesday night, starting not long after I found the place. It was free to watch so I stayed for a couple of fights, it seemed to start off a bit tame but soon got a bit more brutal. By that time it was night, which I think is one of the best times to experience Bangkok. I wouldn’t want it all the time, but the bright lights and hectic crowds are what makes it what it is.

Muay Thai fight

Muay Thai fight

Thursday started as more of a relaxing day, taking the Sky-Train to various places and exploring the central area some more. To get out of the heat for a bit I went to the big IMAX cinema and watched Gravity. First time I’ve seen a 3D film and I’m still not sure what to make of it, some of the trailers in 3D had so much going on it was actually too distracting. I was quite impressed with Gravity though.

In the evening I went back to the hostel and got to know a few people, a great mix of people from all over the world, some just arrived, others here for months already. Had a few drinks at the hostel, shared some really good food at a nearby place and then inevitably headed to Khao San Road – don’t get me wrong, it was a good night, but I really don’t see the attraction of this place. Drinks are twice the price as everywhere else and it’s almost like being back in England, just with more people trying to get you to eat scorpions…

City lights

City lights

I was hoping to do a day trip to the River Kwai, but that would have involved getting up early this morning, and well… that didn’t happen. So now I’m just relaxing at the hostel, which is a really nice place incidentally. Lost a game of chess and now just preparing for tomorrow when I leave the city behind. I’ll head up to Ayutthaya to spend the day there exploring the old Thai capital, more temples and ruins and such, before getting back on the train to go overnight north to Chiang Mai.

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