After what seemed like weeks of talking excitedly about Thailand, we were finally on our way. Even with standstill Delhi traffic and our Uber driver needing to pee every 5 mins, we arrived at Delhi airport with just enough time for a quick Krispy Kreme and a McChicken sandwich. 😍
On the flight we got chatting to the American guy sitting next to us. Scott travels regularly to Thailand from the US, mixing business with pleasure and gave us an absolute wealth of advice while we swapped travel stories about India. One of the best things about travelling is the little unplanned moments when you meet people and out of nowhere, have these amazingly memorable experiences. Not only did he fast track our progress through airport Visa/Security but he then insisted on paying for our taxi so that we didn’t have to fumble around on the metro on our first night. Scott, if you’re reading this, thank you so much for making our first impressions of Thailand so enjoyable. We wish you the best of luck and hope one day we can return the favour.
The taxi that picked us up was a low rider pickup truck and looked infinitely cooler than anything we’d seen in months. We drove through buzzing nightlife, into the centre of Bangkok, passing enormous skyscrapers as lighting flashed overhead and arrived 30 mins later at Samsen 360, our little hostel in Samsen Soi 4.
It might have been because we’re accustomed to something quite different but our Hostel seemed very upmarket and modern. Ran by an efficient mix of friendly locals and travellers, it had everything you could need. AC rooms, amazing showers, super fast Wifi and free breakfast all for £4. We even washed our clothes… with a machine! 😳
After a good night sleep (even the bunkbeds were cosy) we walked into town for our first taste of Thai food. Pad Thai, Green Curry, Spring Rolls and fresh fruit smoothies at KC Restaurant. A family run business, not far from Bangkok University that is also home to the chubbiest chihuahua I’ve ever seen.
Walking through the University campus, we got talking to one of the linguistics professors. He gave us some advice about places to see and complimented our pronunciation as we did our best to recite the Thai we had learned on the plane. Unfortunately the tuk tuk driver he recommended, stopped 200m down the road and said the fare was no longer 50 baht, unless we visited 5 government shops with him so that he could collect fuel tokens as commission. Not wanting to to spend our day being hassled into shops, we found a metered taxi that dropped us off at the standing Buddha temple for 47 baht. First lesson – Say no to tuk tuk. (this was actually on a sign in our hostel)
We called into a 7-eleven on the way back to the hostel and I achieved a life time goal of picking up a bottle of Karating Daeng. #dreambig
This is the original product, created in Thailand, that eventually became Red Bull in Europe after it’s creator partnered with the Austrian, Dietrich Mateschitz. Although it’s not carbonated, it packs a punch, and will only encourage me more to be a massive Red Bull fanboy. 😇
That night we checked out the infamous “Ko San Road” and had some food at one of the street side restaurants. Famous for its party atmosphere, we quickly had our fill of loud music and streets filled with beer holding western tourists. It is however, a great spot for picking up street food as most of the local vendors will gather here in the evenings, helping the gap year kids soak up some of those vodka buckets. My favourite was the Vietnamese Banh Mi stand. Ella’s favourite was any place that sold mango sticky rice.
One of the great things about spending five days in a place is having the luxury of time. We took full advantage of this when it rained, rolling out of bed in time to pick up some lunch before checking out Bangkok’s flower market. Nancy home was a small shed turned restaurant with a basic but homely feel, located 2 mins from our hostel. They served mains for 40 baht (90p), large beer for 70 baht and you could play with the family’s pet cats while you waited. It’s no surprise that we spotted it from the large “mango sticky rice” sign outside.
Later, we sheltered from the rain in Bangkok’s china town market. A stretch of stalls that seemingly goes on forever, and despite selling just about everything you can imagine, Is not a good place to buy phone covers. Just FYI 😔
China town itself is a pretty spectacular vision of colour with shop banners lining the streets as far as the eye can see. A great place to buy steamed dumplings or anything made of gold.
When the sun came out, we visited the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. Impressively ornate temples in the centre of the city that require you to cover your shoulders and legs when entering. Sorry Ella. The area around the Grand palace was filled with mourners dressed in black, coming to pay their respects to the late king. Most of Bangkok is still draped in black and silver linen as the country continues its year of mourning.
We paid a visit to AMA, a restaurant highly regarded online, located opposite Wat Pho and it did not disappoint. The food was crazy cheap and tasted incredible. That and playing with the owners dog earns Ama a solid 9/10, would pet again.
Once we’d had our fill of culture and noodles, we took a taxi out to MBK, one of Bangkok’s biggest shopping centres. Here you can buy everything from gadgets to handmade crafts but unfortunately, is still not a good place to buy phone covers!! Unless you have a very recent model. It is however, a great place to pick up knock of versions of major brands. We picked up some T-shirts for £3 a piece, unless you work in Trading Standard… in which case we just looked. 😇
On our last day we took the river taxi through the city for 15 baht. It sails past most of the city’s major landmarks and is a really fun and cheap way to get around. It dropped us off next to the Sky Lounge, where the Hangover was filmed and here we took a taxi to the Unicorn cafe. When we got there, it was packed with tourists taking photos of their rainbow coloured cakes and drinks. We decided a picture was enough and went to a coffee shop next door instead.
That night we went to a local bar that serves street food from one of the local vendors. We had some beer, ate crispy pork and listened to some live Thai music while pondering over our first experiences of Thailand.
Despite being the huge city that it is, we actually found Bangkok to be quite relaxed, hassle free and easy to navigate. It’s a city that seems to have something for everyone and we’d definitely recommend you pay a visit. Tonight we catch an overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. We’ve heard mixed reviews about this train but I’ll bet my left foot that it’s better than our last. 😜
A huge thank you goes out to Simon and Jo Melhuish for sending my replacement iPhone from London, along with a whole host of other essentials. Organising a package to arrive at an exact date, time and location in India is nothing short of a miracle, especially when you have to plan a month in advance. I can’t explain how much this has made our lives easier and our experiences more enjoyable.
Thank you so much for all the effort it must have taken. We are forever indebted. 😊