After an amazing month in Vietnam, travelling with some amazing people, meeting some amazing new friends and enjoying some unforgettable experiences we took our voyage onto Thailand, specifically Bangkok for a couple of days of experiencing Thai culture, seeing the clichéd temples and salivating over the delicious Thai cuisine.
My first stop in Bangkok was unfortunately to a medical clinic – however despite having a mild infection for the past couple of weeks I was quickly reminded that things could have been worse – take the French couple in there for rabies shots after being attacked by a monkey earlier that week.
A couple of days in Bangkok was perfect – taking in the lively hustle and bustle that is Kho San road, the endless cavalcade of merchants, tuk tuks, tailors (of course) and bar owners all eagerly vying for our tourist dollars. One of the famous, and arguably more touristic attractions in Bangkok is the variety of food – namely bugs available for the game. I will say – don’t knock them until you try them – they are surprisingly delicious.
The next day we set out to explore some of the temples, sights and sounds of Bangkok city – in a way most befitting the touristic nature of the city – tuk tuk. So for those who have not experienced that is a tuk tuk in Bangkok it is very different to those down south in Phuket. We jumped in one where the driver offered to take us around the city all for 60 baht (about $2.50) if we stopped at his friend’s tailor shop.
Seemed like a good enough deal and we could resist the sales skills of one tailor, however once we had left, and told our guide that we weren’t buying anything he dropped us at the first temple and drove straight off. Actually quite frustrating. The temple was incredibly peaceful, almost out of place in a city as busy as Bangkok.
We quickly found a new tuk tuk driver, this one offering us the same deal. We learnt from him that the drivers get rewarded with free tanks of petrol for every tourist they take to their little shops, and sure enough this driver had a couple of promotions he wanted to see us buy from on the way to the Kings Palace. We spent the next 40 minutes driving around Bangkok like mad men with our driver weaving through yelling “Schumacher” and “Alonso” every time he accelerated.
After our trip – we arrived at what looked like a hotel and a large duty free shop “Kings Power” not the imperial palace, indeed a little lost in translation. After a failed effort to arrive at the Kings Palace, 3 tailors and the local tourism office later we decided to call it a day and headed for the shopping mall MBK. MBK is huge multi-story hundreds of retailers centre which was perfect to polish off some last minute shopping before Europe.
Another Thai institution is the famous Muay Thai fighting. Thai children grow up dreaming of fame in side the squared circle, with some of the best Thai kickboxers making extremely good money, while some of the lower fighters can make 2 -3 times the average salary in Thailand. I have been to the fights in Phuket but Bangkok is a completely different experience. Trying to put my finger on exactly why I landed on the atmosphere. The local Thai people love their fighting, and are not afraid to make noise for every kick, elbow, knee or strike landed – what an experience!
That night also represented the last time we would be travelling together as a group. For 3 of us were on to different things – Harley returning home, Josh and Tus connecting through the middle east on route to New York, while Peter and I would head to Koh Phanang for the infamous full moon parties.
We lived large that night, taking in the culture, and sights of Khao San road at night. Meeting people, drinking with friends, and a final 3 am massage on the street before trying to get a little sleep before our 9am flight. This was definitely the start of a massive 3 days and the perfect way to say farewell to my friends Josh, Tus and Harley – someone I met at the airport with Peter but someone who we has been there to share in all of the memories that we experienced in Vietnam.