My flight from Singapore > Bangkok was a little delayed, but I didn’t mind so much because Singapore airport is ace. So many good food stands and free wifi… Can’t complain.
I was flying with Air Asia and was the only white, British person on the flight. I found the English announcements extremely unclear and didn’t know what was happening half of the time. When going through immigration and visa checks, the queue was an hour long which took the time to 1 in the morning when I was finding my backpack on the luggage belt.
I was a little nervous to be arriving into Bangkok at such a time, but let out a sigh of relief when I saw a little Thai man holding up a sign: “Olivia Mulligan.” So glad I pre-booked a taxi!
“Bangkok Central hotel?” He smiles and nods his head. “How long does it take?” I ask. He doesn’t understand – he has terrible English. Together we marched to a jam-packed carpark to try and find his car. Oh no! A big 4×4 truck had blocked him in. No word of a lie, this little weedy man, no bigger than 5’2, gets his hands on the truck’s bonnet and pushes it with total ease to free his car. My jaw dropped to my chest. It was the funniest thing.
The journey was about 30 mins and he was ever so chatty for 2 in the morning. I couldn’t understand 95% of what he was saying. My responses circulated from “ooo lovely” to “sounds great.” He literally could have been saying anything.
I was slightly nervous to be on my own, in a strange city, in Thailand… But what good is panicking going to do, I thought to myself. You’ll be fine.
Pinch punch, first of the month! Bangkok is hot and humid. It’s 40 degrees. I’m not sure if I have mentioned in a previous post, but I’m doing the first part of Thailand with a group. Because I arrived so late last night, I missed the introduction. So let the meeting and greeting begin!
The tour guide, Sek, is from Chiang Mai. We explored the hustle and bustle of sweaty Bangkok and got a boat to see the city. The boat was SO rocky and I got soaked. As you can imagine, there is no such thing as health and safety here. The boat was about as crowded as the Piccadilly Line at rush hour and leaping on and off the slippy boat was quite a treat. We saw some giant fish leaping around and some giant lizards half the size of a large crocodile. The views on the riverside saw a dramatic juxtaposition – amazing temples and palaces alongside wooden huts on unstable stilts above the water (very, very poor housing conditions).
Wat Pho palace is quite surreal – sequins and sparkles galore and the biggest gold Buddah you can imagine. Unfortunately, it was tourist central and the conditions were made even hotter because you had to wear long clothing. But the buzz of being at such an iconic place made the discomfort well worth it.
It seems I’ve only just landed in Bangkok and am heading off already. Time to get the sleeper train to Chiang Mai! It really wasn’t as bad as I’d thought. I got my own top bed bunk (so better than the 17 hour bus from Sydney to Brisbane!) then there is a little curtain that goes around your bed so it feels nice and cosy. Toilet is pretty gross, but what can you expect (it’s a hole and no flush, just a hose). It’s advised you sleep with your luggage. Don’t put it on luggage shelves because it probably won’t still be there when you arrive. Sleep with passport, money, phone under your pillow.
Oh hi there Chiang Mai! Although still a city, it is quieter than Bangkok so I already prefer it. It has a canal that runs around the city centre, people don’t hassle you in the markets and, you know what, it’s quite pretty.
I went out for brekki with my new friends Anne (from Canada) and Toni (from Germany). I felt a little bit sick and couldn’t stomach all of the eggs that I had ordered. Hopefully that will pass soon…
A table of English ‘lads’ were on the table next to us – all with pasty skin, low cut vests and cringy tattoos. Anne spat out her drink in my face when one of them made us laugh so much… The cute little waitress (her name was Joom) had some mango smoothie left over so she gave the ‘lad’ with the stupid haircut a top up. He then puts his hands into the prayer position, bows his head and in an Essex accent says, “You are a babe.”
She looks confused. “Beb?”
“You. Babe” he says again.
“Wot YOU beb?”
“You. Babe. Good. Babe. Good.”
This dialogue went on for about 5 minutes… Anne struggles to breathe, she is laughing so hard.
The three of us spent the day exploring temples and markets. The night markets were incredible – florescent lights, music and an infectious buzz. It wasn’t too busy and felt very safe. We went out for dinner at an outdoor restaurant and I had the traditional Chiang Mai dish – Kai Soi (thankfully I’m feeling fine and dandy again). Kai Soi is a fragrant curry soup with egg noodles (both soft and crispy). It made your lips tingle and was simply delicious!
Right, we need a good night sleep tonight as tomorrow we head further north to do a 3 day hill tribe trek. I can’t wait!!!