Bangkok is a city with so many sides – there’s the busy side, the laidback side, the shopping side, the foodie side, the party side, and the cultural side (among so many more, I’m sure).
My first inkling that Bangkok was going to be a surprise to me came when I got in a taxi fresh out of the airport, and Michael Jackson started playing on the radio, the driver humming and nodding along to it.
While listening to music from the Western world, I caught my first sight of Southeast Asia’s slums – of which I would see many more.
As I was in Southeast Asia, I was expecting that, maybe even looking forward to exploring that side of Asia more: coming to learn and understand why it exists, and to find out what possibilities there are for change.
Once you’re in the city of Bangkok, the main port of call for shopping and street food is the bustling Khao San Road.
Take a look and have a wander (beware of cheeky salespeople and petty thieves), but if you’re looking for a bargain, maybe head over a street or two, where you’ll most likely find the same item but for a cheaper price.
An experience in a tuk tuk is a rite of passage in Thailand, and my first one was epic.
The tuk tuk we unknowingly got in was what we named a “disco tuk tuk” – complete with pumping dance music, bright lights, and crazy dance moves (at least I think the driver must have been trying to make the vehicle dance….).
Some of the greatest quotes, travel quotes or otherwise, go along the lines of “do something that scares you.”
While travelling, I find I’m more brazen than I am at home, and so on my first night in Bangkok, I tried something different – very different.
At a bar near Khao San Road I tried a tourist delicacy – scorpion. And to think – I’m actually quite a fussy eater!
The “delicacy” wasn’t that bad at all – it really just tasted like old and dry fried chicken. But don’t take my word on it – try it yourself!
Catching an overnight train is an experience many travellers would have, and the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai was my first experience in that field. And I loved it.
Our group took the opportunity to sit and talk for hours, getting to know one another, before we each took to our little bunks that had formerly been our seats.
It was all quite a novelty really and it makes sense for travellers – why spend a night in a hotel and then spend a day travelling when you could travel while you sleep and save money on accommodation?
And for all those worried – I slept fine, although others took to taking sleeping tablets to make sure they got some shut eye, while others said they continually woke up during the journey.