What’s up! So, if you read my last post, you’ll know that I was in Bangkok last month. I was meant to write this post much earlier but I just kept pushing it off so here goes nothing.
I was in Bangkok for a week with work to capture some of the sights (yeah, seriously!) I mentioned in my last post that I was a tiny bit anxious to be literally flying to the other side of the planet. This anxiety doubled when I got off the plane before disappearing entirely.
Security proved to be a bit of an ordeal. So when you land, you’re supposed to get this little form to fill out to get the visa stamp (I was only there for about 5 days so I didn’t need to organise a visa before leaving). I somehow missed the announcement and left the plane with no form. At the visa control place I see everyone with the forms and started to panic a bit.
I approached the security and was literally sent from one end of the airport to the other twice over before one of them managed to get me a form to fill out. I don’t know whether it was a case that the security couldn’t understand me or just couldn’t be bothered to help me but we got there in the end.
I produced my filled out form and my passport to the most intimidating man I’ve ever met in my life. I stood in front of him for no longer than 2 minutes but it felt like an eternity. After he had basically taken my passport apart, he stamped it and sent me on my way.
I’ve never felt so much relief in my life. You’d swear I had committed some sort of crime or something! Once I stepped into the arrivals part of the airport, all my anxiety eased.
I arrived at 6am Bangkok time and despite my best efforts, I didn’t get a wink of sleep for the whole journey. From my house to the hotel, I think it was like 23 hours total travel time. Because I was there for such a short time, I didn’t want to waste a second. I got to the hotel, got my stuff unpacked and sorted, watched an hour of Thai TV and headed out to explore.
This was my only fully free day where I didn’t have a whole lot of work stuff to do so I looked at what was around that wasn’t already on my agenda for the week and decided to take a trip to Lumphini Park. The best way to describe this is not quite Bishop Lucey Park in Cork and not quite Central Park in New York. It’s what I’d imagine would come slap bang in the middle of the two.
Lumphini Park was beautiful. Because I was so sleep deprived, it was the perfect place to start as it didn’t require any thinking, I just arrived and started walking. It was bliss.
It’s essentially a huge park in the middle of the city and just seems like the ultimate chill out zone. It’s very popular for joggers as it goes around in a big loop. Needless to say, I went for a leisurely stroll instead of a jog. The whole time I found myself in complete amazement at how I was strolling through this beautiful park with all these lakes and small fields of greenery but when I looked up I could see a whole city in every direction. I’m very easily amused it would seem.
The wildlife was absolutely class too. While over here we have pigeons and maybe a squirrel if you’re lucky, in Bangkok, you have literal turtles and huge lizard dinosaur things. Safe to say I absolutely cacked myself when I saw mini Godzilla chilling by one of the rivers.
They also had some sort of Zumba thing going on in one of the big open areas which consisted of hundreds of people of all ages absolutely giving it socks and busting moves. It really was a sight to behold.
At one stage while I was walking around, everyone stopped dead in their tracks. Literally everyone. I looked at the time and it was 6pm on the dot. My initial thought was that the Angelus was a big deal in Asia. Turns out that the Thai national anthem rings out twice every day and when it happens. Everyone stops what they’re doing until it ends and then they continue on as normal.
After my stroll around Lumphini, I hopped in a taxi and made my way back to the hotel. I stopped off at the 7/11 across the street for some snacks and a beer before hitting the shower (much needed because it’s humid as f**k in Bangkok) and falling into the deepest sleep I’ve ever had in my life.
My second day in Bangkok was probably the quietest one. I managed to completely avoid jetlag by not sleeping when I arrived the day before so I was fresh when I woke up. Today was when my work started so I didn’t do much exploring. It was however, when I got my first taste of real Thai food (I had a dodgy stomach when I arrived so ate very little.)
On my break from work, I had this chicken dish which was accompanied by a pile of rice with an egg on top. Sounds tame, it was not tame. It was probably the spiciest thing I’ve ever eaten in my life and I’m terrible with spicy food. Even my co-worker who I was with for the week struggled with it and he’s a fan of spice! We also shared a pork pad-thai dish which was absolutely amazing. To was down the food we ordered some sweet tea and as someone who doesn’t like tea, it was so good.
Once we went back to work and finished up our day, we went out for a meal with everyone who we were over in Thailand to meet. We found a traditional Thai place near enough to the hotel and because there was such a big group at the meal, ordered literally everything off the menu. All I’ll say is that we got served some very interesting dishes.
I also got offered to taste a maggot which of course I jumped at the opportunity. It actually didn’t taste that bad, once you get the idea of what you’re actually eating out of your head, it’s just like eating nuts. Obviously this doesn’t mean that I’m going to be searching the garden for creepy crawlies to fry up but I don’t regret giving it a taste.
After the meal we found a quiet bar to have a few beers before retiring relatively early because day 3 was going to be a big one.
This was my absolute favourite day in Bangkok. Today I got to do a tour of the temples. This is what I was most looking forward to doing before leaving and I was absolutely not disappointed.
It took about 9 hours all together but this included like an hour or two of sitting in the shade at midday because it was so hot. I don’t even know how to describe how stunning each and every temple was so I’m just going to show you (also, because you can’t show leg in the temples, I had to purchase some elephant pants and I kid you not when I say that I loved them so much that I bought several pairs to take home with me.)
During the break, I got taken to another restaurant that served traditional Thai food (now that I’m writing this and reading it back, I’m starting to realise that 90% of the restaurants served traditional Thai food because I was in Thailand – duh). It was in this restaurant that I probably had some of the nicest food I’ve ever tasted in my life. I found the perfect balance of spicy and tasty.
There was four of us on the tour and it’s normal in Thailand to order food to share between the table so I got a nice variety of food here. Everything tasted amazing!
After it got a small bit cooler, we went back exploring the temples. The last temple we visited required a quick boat trip across the river which was very cool.
We timed everything perfectly because just as we got back to our taxi, the heavens opened and it started to lash rain. I felt right at home then. After I got back from the temple tour, I grabbed a Tuk Tuk and headed to Khao San Road.
Khao San Road is the craziest place I’ve ever been in my whole life. Imagine the intensity of a busy club but set on a random street in the middle of Bangkok. Now throw some shady shit and lads trying to lure you off to see ping pong shows (if you don’t know, google it) amongst other things, you have Khao San Road.
The street is lined with bars where most of the seating consists of plastic furniture on the side of the road. You will meet some absolute characters on this street.
One guy came up to me while we were sat at his bar and asked me if I knew who he was. Before I could respond he goes “I’m Mr. Chow” before rattling off random lines from The Hangover. To be fair he did look a bit like Mr. Chow and definitely kept us entertained for the night.
I think my favourite moment from Khao San Road was when we took over the music in one of the bars and had a sing song and a dance to ‘Come out ye Black and Tans’.
After we grabbed a tuk-tuk back to the hotel, we popped in to the local 7/11 for some drunk food. I wasn’t expecting much, maybe a bag of crisps or a cold sandwich if I was lucky. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that you can get toasted sandwiches in the 7/11s and they toast them for you. I got a cheesy hotdog sandwich and it honestly saved my life!
Day 4 was mainly work and my last full day in Bangkok. On my break from work I went to a pizza place for a bit of western comfort to cure my slight hangover from the night before. The pizza was grand but the Watermelon smoothie I got with it was absolutely beautiful.
After the work section of my day had finished, we decided to hit Khao San road again to pick up a few souvenirs, get a traditional Thai Massage (I know what you’re thinking and no, not that kind) and go for one more beer before our early flight the next morning.
So 4 am rolls around and we find ourselves multiple beers in with a few vodka buckets and good measure so we grabbed a tuk-tuk to go home and catch a few hours of sleep and pack.
After about an hour of sleep my lovely alarm went off and I scrambled to get everything packed to checkout before grabbing a taxi to the airport. I learned a good lesson about long haul travel on day 5. Don’t got on the lash until 4 am the night before a 20+ hour journey.
I was bolloxed to say the least. Once we got to the airport we had about an hour before we could check our bags in, once that was out of the way we made a beeline for the closest fast food place that would serve us the grease we needed at 7am.
We found a Burger King, I ordered the biggest burger I could, took about 3 bites before sprinting to the closest bathroom to chuck my guts up. The closest bathroom was about 5 minutes away so it was a very close call.
After chilling in departures in misery, it was finally time to get on our flight to London. It went exactly how you’d expect a 16 hour flight to go when you’re savagely hungover.
Once again, I hardly slept on my flight home. I was almost asleep at one stage until the air hostess woke me to tell me they were serving lunch. I could have done with the sleep more if I’m honest!
The flight home was much easier than the flight over, even if I was hungover. I think having my long flight from Bangkok to London before the London to Cork flight helped. The latter flight felt like 5 minutes in comparison to the first.
Once home, the jetlag was real. I was trapped in Bangkok time for about 4 days before I started to get back into a routine.
Bangkok was amazing. I really don’t think I did my experience justice in this post. The people are some of the nicest and funniest I’ve ever met. Almost every Thai person I met during my week there radiated good vibes.
The food is amazing. I’ve always liked Thai food but actually getting to experience real authentic Thai food was something else! I don’t know what it was but the pork in Thailand was absolutely amazing.
The humidity caught me off guard. I knew it was going to be hot but I’ve honestly never sweat so much in my whole life (as you can probably see from all the pictures).
Bangkok is not what you’d imagine. There’s a stereotype that it’s just a huge city to party in. While that’s true in places like Khao San Road, there are some absolute gems in Bangkok such as the temples and Lumphini Park.
Again, this post doesn’t half do my experience justice but I would absolutely recommend everyone visits here at some point in their life. I will 100% be back in Thailand someday in my own time so I can see the rest of the country and catch anything I might have missed in Bangkok.
Until Next Time,