Well the first day went pretty well. We woke up around nine, took a nice shower and were on our way. Just walking around Bangkok in the morning really brought to reality that I was in another country.
In Thailand there are not pedestrian street lights, you more or less just have to use your best judgement when to go.
Anyways we walked around a while and then ate breakfast at some western cafe. I just had a beef/pastrami sandwich and some water (bottled, tap water is not safe). After that we just walked around a little and made our way to a station. On the streets of Bangkok there are a lot of street carts that sell various food such as fruits, fried food, and traditional Thai food. The street food is a little bit more down the earth, and we called it “dirty food”. It is really really good, but just very modestly made.
We made our way to the sky train station and bought a ticket to the Central Station. From the central station we bought a boat ticket to the Grand Palace pier. In Bangkok it seems that everyone is out to get your money. You can’t let your guard down. While finding out the right boat to take we were approached by at least four “private” boat owners that wanted to charge us 150 baht for the same service. The official boat that we took ended up being 17 baht.
The boat ride was pretty enjoyable. We managed to get a seat near the front. The river looked pretty dirty though and I would hate to fall in, but seeing Bangkok from the riverside was pretty cool.
Once we got to the Palace pier we actually had to walk to the Grand Palace. Coming out of the pier there were a ton of dirty food stands with delicious looking fruit and interesting looking food. We walked down the road ignoring all the offers we got for taxis and made our way to the grand palace within ten minutes. The grand palace was beautiful. All the architecture looked very traditional and the colors were very vibrant. We had to have pants on (which I did), and there were a ton of foreigners there. At one point I had to take off my shoes to go in and look at the temple. It was very very pretty, but I was not able to take any picutres as photography was prohibited.
After the Grand Palace we made our way to What Pho. Wat Pho is famous for the traditiona Thai massages. Again we were more or less harrased by the taxi drivers as we made our five minute walk. Wat Pho is also famous for the reclining Buddha, a huge statute of a Buddha laying down. We had to take our shoes off again for this but it was really a sight. The statue was HUGE and you had to wonder how it was made.
We asked the guy working at the Reclining Buddha where the massages were. He took us outside to a shady looking establishment, so knowing that it was a scam, we went back to the temple and found the official massage place.
We decided to both get one hour massages with “herb” treatment. It came out to about 400 baht and was well worth it. First we went to a changing room where I put on some massage pants. Next I went to the massage bed and the massage began. I had never had a professional massage but it was really nice. I got a full body massage by a true professional. The massage girl pressed hard on a bunch of muscles and pressure points and I left feeling very relaxed and refreshed. As I left we were also handed a drink that seemed like water, tea, and milk. It was very nice.
After the massage we were both hungry so we looked for a dirty food place. We found a pretty decent one that served this spicy udon-looking soup. I bought a coke and Juan bought a water and we ate. It was very good and it only came out to about 30 baht.
After the food we just walked around the street vendors and looked at all the different goods. Tomorrow we are going to the weekend market, so we didn’t want to get too crazy. Eventually we made our way back to the pier. At the pier we were approached by 3 Thai university students that had to do an assignment for their college. It consisted of them asking us different things in English like why we came to Thailand, where we wanted to go, etc. They seemed pretty nice and we took a few pictures with them. They even helped us get on the right boat.
Next wek took the boat to the central station and then the sky tram to the station by our hostel. We just chilled at the hostel for a couple of hours, took a shower to clean off the abnormal amount of sweat, and then headed out to meet one of Juan’s friends at the station.
Juan’s friend (who he just told me he is in love with), Pui, met us at that station. She was really kind and spoke English very well. We all took a cab from the station to this authentic Thai restaraunt. It should be noted that since Pui spoke fluent Thai, we were charged about 10% for the cab of what we normally would be charged. 🙂
Anyways, the restaraunt’s food was really delicious. We ordered three entrees and also had a couple of Heinikens. For the first entree we had this sort of seafood curry that had a very distinct Thai spice taste. The second entree was crab with shredded mango, and the last dish was catfish with this very very flavorful spice. Did I mention that I love Thai food?
After the restaraunt we went to this Irish pub together. I just had a pint of Guinness (which was delicious), and a Long Island Ice Tea. It was a pretty nice bar and there was a nice band playing that performed western songs (such as No Woman No Cry). After the pub we bid our farewells to Pui and Juan and I decided to walk around the market/bar area of Bangkok.
This proved to be a very interesting experience. I don’t think I’ve ever been aproached so much (even in Shinjuku) to go to strip clubs/hostess bars. Almost all bars that we passed by had bikini clad girls dancing. We went down this very interesting “Japanese” street also. All the signs were in katakana which through us off, and during this time Juan and I only spoke in Japanese.
At the end of the Japanese street we walked down another main road a little bit and then turned down a market road. There were tons of street vendors on this road selling everything from sunglasses to tasers. At one point Juan was in an engaging converstation to one of the vendors about buying some sunglasses, but after about five minutes we just left without buying anything (they were overpriced). If I am dead tomorrow please send condolences to my family. (joking)
At this point we had a little bit of liqour in us. We passed through this “gay” street which was just screaming “gay” and “ladyboy”. Being a little bit buzzed we decided to go on this street. Let me assure you, Juan and I are 100% straight and love women, but it was hilarious going down this street and having tons and tons of guys trying to usher you to go to their lady boy club. At one point we even got a picture with a few of the bouncers that I will post later.
At the end of this street there was very chill bar which Juan and I got a beer and a tequilla shot. It was really relaxed and not crowded at all. Behind the bar was a ladyboy club with a few ladyboys out front (which I couldn’t help but periodically stare at), but the bar was pretty nice relatively inexpensive. Aftwards we decided to head back to the hostel. We passed through the Japanese road again (and again we spoke in Japanese). After passing through another market road and dodging some cars at intersections we got to the hostel and I imediately got on the internet where I am writing this message now.
Tomorrow is our main shopping day in Bangkok. I want to buy a nice bag and perhaps some sandals. I bought some postcards at Wat Pho for family and friends, but I really want to buy something unique. Anyways, the first full day in Thailand was amazing and I am eager to write about new experiences.