Colorful, amazing, shocking, full of contrasts city… these are just a few words that pop up into my mind when I remember Bangkok. I have never been to Asia before my trip to Thailand in November 2016. I supposed to see a big modern city full of tourists and sights, but I even couldn’t imagine how this is going to affect on me. I had a cultural shock when I got to Bangkok. It seemed like I came to another planet. Everything was different, unusual and weird for me. Locals and their life, buildings, temples, streets, public transport, smell, humidity, noise, street food everywhere, power lines above my head. I was just stuck with my mouth open and couldn’t realize where I am. I suppose that most tourists don’t see the real life of Bangkok in the first moment they arrive. Usually they take a taxi from airport and go to their hotel. But I had a great experience to observe this amazing atmosphere of Bangkok from my very first steps there. We decided to get from airport to our place by public transport and see the real local’s life immediately.
Now I can confidently say that for me Bangkok is the city with two faces. It’s an atmospheric street Bangkok and cultural religious Bangkok. I even can’t describe my emotions about this city in one post, so I’m going to separate my story. Let me begin from my favorite part, from the street Bangkok I deeply fell in love with.
We rented a small room in non touristic area of Bangkok where only locals lived. It took us about 1,5 hours to get there from airport. At first we took a train and then moved to the metro. I was impressed by Bangkok metro, clean stations and trains and very polite and kind people. You can see lines of people on the platform who wait for the train. They stand on the special places where train doors suppose to be opened when it arrives. You will never ever see a crowd on the platform as we are used to seeing in Moscow metro for example. Also you will never see sad faces of people in grief like in Moscow. People in Thailand look very kind and friendly, they will smile you and even talk to you on streets trying to help you or give some advice. It really looks so nice from them, but you should be careful. I am going to tell you a funny story about this kindness of some Thai people we met and about the result of our trust, but a bit later.
So next thing we experienced after Bangkok metro was a red bus that brought us to our place. It’s a small bus with big windows without glasses. It seemed so much fun for me as I’ve seen before cars like this which transported animals like cows or sheeps. Here I saw people inside of this car and it looked very strange at first. I have to say that this bus was extremely cheap, just 7 bahts and it surprised us a lot.
So in 20 minutes we arrived to our place. I was astonished, I looked around and saw local Thai people sitting on the streets and trying to sell something. There were shops everywhere in each and every house. Better to say, it weren’t real shops, it seemed as if people lived there and they sold different stuff in the same place. You can buy everything you need there, fruit, clothes, tools and even wheels! You can also see a street food everywhere. People cook national dishes specially for you here and it costs very very cheap. I haven’t tried more delicious Pad Thai than at that area where we lived.
Another thing that amazed me was a tuk tuk. This is a bike with seats for two people with a roof. I believe it was created especially for tourists and individual excursions. Drivers crave to pick up some tourists and persuade them to take an excursion and see the city or the most beautiful temple of Bangkok or something else. Usually their price is not so cheap. So we became those tourists who believed their persuasive words. We were looking for a port where we could take a boat and see some beautiful temples, when the tuk tuk driver picked us up. At first he brought us to ‘the most beautiful temple of Bangkok’ (we didn’t find it very special by the way). Then he stopped near one shop where they sold fabrics and told that we must visit it even if we are not going to buy anything. It was really fun. I suppose they have some per cents from sales at this shop. Then the driver finally brought us to the port. We were very surprised to learn that they sell only expensive cruises there, but we wanted just a boat. So we thanked them and went away. Of course you imagine how angry the driver was, he spent so much time with us and didn’t sell anything after all.
The next moment I will always remember is our walk on the Khao San Road. This is a very famous street in Bangkok full of bars, restaurants and souvenir shops, and as a result, full of tourists. This is the street of night life with alcohol and other stuff for relaxation. If you saw the movie ‘The Beach’ with Leonardo DiCaprio you certainly remember this street. This is the place from a very beginning where he lived, walked and drank snake blood, and then got the map of the beach and met his fellow travelers. I can’t tell you how it was impressive to walk on that street and see all this atmosphere by my own eyes.
Also we walked on Chinatown of Bangkok. This is a huge street with shops, restaurants and street food. It looks like a big marked where they sell everything. You can find a lot of exotic fresh fruit like mango, coconut or dragon fruit. If you want they will prepare fresh smoothy for you from any fruit you have chosen. It’s so helpful at the hot and humid day, believe me.
Bangkok certainty amazed me! I saw something that I haven’t seen before in my life. But there is another absolutely different part of this city that I am going to describe in my next post. So see you there.