Bangkok

Saturday, 26 September 2015

I've always wanted to travel. I'm impatient, inquisitive and curious and I don't like to settle for what I know. Don't get me wrong, I'm very lucky to live in England but for me, there's more to life outside of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire and the U.K for that matter. One day I'd love to travel Europe but I like a challenge and knew I wanted to take some time off and do something amazing before settling down and building a career. I just can't quite comprehend the mindset of being happy in one place forever - I want to explore for a little bit. My personality says that there's always something new and exciting worth seeing and that's the only way I know how to explain my wanderlust. I'm about to see for myself what a beautiful place the world is and here's the first instalment. My travels might sound cliche with Thailand, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Hong Kong on the ticklist but I can imagine they're cliche for a reason - because they're incredible. After planning my trip for over a year and a half and booking it nine months prior to departing from the UK, the closer it got the more surreal it seemed. After packing my life into 14kg worth of backpack and 5kg of rucksack, my parents drove me to London Heathrow to meet Abby and Kate, my two best friends who I'll be sharing the experience with. Goodbyes aren't my favourite and after saying goodbye to my boyfriend the day before, I then had to contend with my emotional wreck of a mother who I knew was going to cry the minute she started to cut off my circulation while hugging me. After a mini photoshoot in Terminal 4 I waved my parents goodbye through security and got a little teary when my mum started crying.



Being three 21-year-old girls who love wine, the first thing we did was find a bar and sink a bottle of rose in record time. Armed with snacks we headed to the departure gate and boarded our Qatar Airways flight for our 4pm take off. I've never flown more than 3 hours with anyone other than Easyjet or Monarch (can you now see why I'm flying halfway around the world after going to Spain and Portugal for the last 21 years of my life), so I didn't quite know what to expect from a long haul flight. If  you get as much free alcohol on all of them as we did on this one, I'm game. Aside from the freebies in abundance the service was immaculate. Nearly as immaculate as the cabin crew's eyebrows. Not that I'm jealous. I sank into my seat with a vodka orange and was shortly presented with a shredded chicken, bean and vegetable curry which was really good, alongside a rice dish, cheesecake and a bread roll. All was well until I felt adventurous and learnt that a G&T isn't as fancy and delicious as it sounds. Crisps were given out shortly after the meal along with a snack box containing a warm chocolate brownie and a chicken fajita wrap. There was plenty of leg room, a comfy complementary pillow and blanket and a great choice of in-flight entertainment which means I got to watch Pitch Perfect 2, San Andreas and Cinderella during the 3433 mile/6 hour flight to Doha. Having never flown long haul I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable and accommodating everything was.


Doha airport was plush and luxurious and after a swift change we boarded our connecting flight. Poor Kate had one free gin too many and dropped her passport while going through the departure gate but luckily a kind stranger notified us before it was gone forever. So thanks Kate for nearly costing us a trip to the Thai embassy. Man down avoided. The connecting flight was even more luxurious with a plusher entertainment system and deceivingly uncomfortable built in neck rests on the seats. Minus a fidgety passenger in front of me, I managed to sleep for most of the flight until breakfast which was an experience in itself and was my first culture lesson on many. Thai people don't do breakfast apparently, which I soon learnt when I was given chicken and rice. But seeing as it's part of their culture and tradition, I didn't mind at all. 

After another 6 hour flight we arrived in Bangkok a little less bright eyed and bushy tailed (aka smudged makeup, messy hair, sweaty and very sleepy) and the humidity instantly hit us the minute we stepped off the plane. Immigration and baggage collection was speedy and fuss free and within 20 minutes we were in a taxi to our hotel which was around half an hour away in Kohsan Road which we paid 475 baht for (around 8.50 English money). Driving further into Bangkok was strange to be honest. Instead of a run down area leading into a built up more affluent area, it all seemed to be mixed into one, as though buildings were built in any space possible. Bangkok in a nutshell, first impressions wise, was pretty dirty, quite smelly and the complete opposite of London. The only way to describe Kohsan Road is 2k10 Malia strip but bigger, better and with a more diverse mix of nationalities, travellers and holidaymakers. I'm selling it, aren't I?


We'd booked D&D Inn a fair few months before travelling to Bangkok as we wanted our first couple of nights sorted before we arrived. We opted for it purely based on the fact we knew people who had stayed there and recommended it and the positive reviews on Trip Advisor from other backpackers who had said it was a great location and very lively. The rooftop pool didn't influence our decision in any way shape or form. Check in was quick and after we dumped our bags and logged into the free wifi, we got changed to headed out on to the main road to grab some food. 7/11 (equivalent of a Spar or Tesco Express) is something I'd heard loads about prior to visiting Thailand and it lived up to my expectations. Cheap, cheerful and relatively English food-wise.

One ham and cheese toastie, Sprite and 41 baht (78p) poorer we got changed into our bikinis and went up to the pool to enjoy some 139 baht strawberry daiquiris (£2.50). At dinner time we went back out on to Kohsan Road and one thing I would say is that if you can't stand being constantly pestered and don't like men shoving ping pong sex show cards near your face while pretending to hit a ping pong bat near your vaginal area - I would avoid it at all costs. Apart from that, the fried noodle and chicken dish I ate was tasty and cheap (£2.70 with a San Miguel) and I didn't die from street food poisoning.

While the strip was buzzing, we headed to the Lebua sky bar to experience where some of the hangover two was filmed.  Dress code was smart casual and drinks were expensive (£10-£15 per cocktails) but the breathtaking views of the city more than make up for it. However do be aware that they add on a hefty service charge which is not optional to pay. We met two American guys from New York who we got chatting to after asking us to take a photo and it's surreal meeting people from different countries with different lifestyles when you're so used to being surrounded by the same people. At 4am after being up for a total of 42 hours with 5 hours sleep we headed back to the hotel and slept through breakfast. It's safe to say our bodies were still adjusting to the 6 hour time difference. And Kate's body was definitely adjusting after the scorpion she ate. 



On the Wednesday we booked the sleeper train down to Koh Phangan for the following day which cost 1180 baht (£21 approx) for a 12 hour train, 1 hour bus and 2 and a half hour ferry which was such a good price seeing it was 1000 baht more expensive at tourist information. We found a Tuk Tuk (use one with a flag as it means they're a government one and won't rip you off) who drove us around some of the tourist spots for 30 baht (less than £1). We went to see the biggest Buddha, sleeping Buddha, did a canal cruise and saw some other sights opposite the Grand Palace which was shut by the time we arrived. The buildings are beautiful and it's clear they value their culture. The canal cruise cost 600 baht per person (£11) but we were the only 3 on the boat and spent an hour on the canal seeing the floating markets and less advertised sights of the city.

The temples and Buddhas are more of a photo opportunity and checklist kind of activity as there's not an awful lot to do, but it's nice to be able to see them. We noticed that everyone was so friendly which was really nice to see. Everyone we went past on the boat waved with great big smiles and the driver even gave us some grapes for free. It kind of made us realise how rude and unfriendly people in England can be. I know it's all down to culture, but it's almost considered weird to talk to strangers whereas in Bangkok it's a perfectly normal and welcoming thing to do which is something we should all try to embrace. You may get hassle from people in the tourist part trying to make a living but if you go a bit further out everyone is very helpful and friendly and will happily give you directions. But still barter as they whack their prices up to get as much money from tourists as possible. We got the canal cruise down to 600 from 1200 per person for example. Back at the hotel we went for a quick swim before going to an Italian. Not very authentic I know, but we were all craving carbs so I got a spaghetti dish and a beer. It was £15 for three main meals and 3 beers which is still very cheap, but expensive compared to eating in a street food place which was more than half the price. 


We decided to go to a ping pong show that night just for the full Thai experience. And I don't quite know whether to laugh or cry at what we saw. The perk was the free beer but we arrived during the finale of a live sex show which was just weird. Girls then proceeded to do unique, shall we say, things with their vaginas. Sitting on beer bottles, shooting out ping pong balls, pulling string out (magician and a hat style) and blowing out candles amongst other vagina related party tricks. Even the waitress came over to us, pulled her top up and told us she was hot. Whether that's the common expression of heat exhaustion in Thailand, I do not know. Safe to say we didn't stay for long and swiftly made our way back to Kohsan Road. It was half hilarious half disgusting, but it was also sad as the girls didn't look as if they were enjoying it whatsoever. I know it's predominantly down to the sex trade and culture of Thailand but it isn't something I'd necessarily recommend.

We were pretty shocked and sober after that, not to mention exhausted still, and after settling on a few quiet ones in order not to miss breakfast for the second time, we ended up meeting some English and French people and staying out until 4am again. The multiple alarms we set didn't work and surprise surprise we missed breakfast. We checked out at 12, stored our bags in the hotel (free of charge until 10pm) and spent our last day by the pool before making our way to the station for our next trip down south to Koh Phangan for the infamous full moon party on Sunday. Bangkok was so much fun, especially the nightlife and we saw some incredible things (vagina tricks not included), but I definitely feel like 2-3 days was more than enough. Unless you're doing tourist things there's not an awful lot to do apart from excursions which we're planning on doing on the islands, so I'm happy we're now heading down to paradise.


8 comments:

  1. Enjoyed that . Thank you . John Xx

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  2. Looks like you had an amazing time. My parents are going to Bangkok in January and I'm so jealous - I can't go because of exams :(( Looking forward to reading more of your stories! xx

    Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-x

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    1. Bangkok is definitely an experience! Glad you liked the post xx

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  3. Missed your blogs! Loved hearing all about it and can't went for the next instalment.. Super jealous as it all sounds so amazing. Love your big sis xxx

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