Bangkok -Thailand – a special place and starting point for a lot of us, and not just a place where to put your foot for the first time, but a starting point in habits, new culture, a new way of living and who knows maybe a new life.
The first impression
After an exhausting 14h flight with a 2h stopover, all the way up from Romania, I finally arrived in the heart of SE Asia. First time here and already planned to stay with a local host on Couchsurfing. Unfortunately, because I had to wait till night for my host, and being too tired, pushed me to take an accommodation.
Where else you would go first time in Bangkok?? Khaosan road, of course, was my choice.
I wanted to diminish the impact with the cultural shock so I chose this street where you can meet a lot of foreigners and places made especially for westerns.
Took some rest and went out to explore the streets, food and the most important – thai beer.
I already started to feel how my thirst of unkown was becoming bigger and bigger. After a delicious pad Thai (stir-fried rice noodles – Thai street food), a couples of Singha (thai beer) and shared table discussion with some travelers, the night was already here.
I jumped into a taxi and went to weekly Couchsurfing meeting. Among all the people I met, remained in my mind an American guy from Oklahoma who explained how many tornados saw in his life, a local Thai guy who could speak a bit Romanian (had a Romanian roommate when he studied in London) who sang to me “Dragostea din Tei” – O-Zone, and Konstantin, an interesting Russian guy with whom I talked so nicely about life, in general terms and gave me some really good tips. Tips which later on I will follow and have so much to gain.
The night ended up with a big party on Khaosan road, directly in the street, and with ladyboys who were pulling to drunken foreigners for – I can not imagine why 🙂
Grand Palace (Wat Phra) – most sacred place in Bangkok
The following days I explored the temples from the city. Even I don’t enjoy so much wondering in temples, Grand Palace(Wat Phra) – Temple of Emerald Buddha shocked me with its shiny roofs and pillars. Wat Phra is considered to be one of the most sacred places in Thailand in which the highly revered Buddha image is meticulously carved from a single block of jade.
The entrance fee is a little pricey (500 baht=15$) but worth all the money.
There are many temples in Bangkok but Grand Palace definitely is the one which you don’t want to miss. The image of those golden shiny worries will remain in your head for a while.
Chatuchak – JJ Market
Besides temples, Bangkok has Chatuchak Market also the largest weekend market from Thailand with more than 8000 stalls. Known also as JJ market, here you can find anything you could imagine. From interior decorations, clothes, accessories, to animals, food, fresh fried bugs which are waiting to be your next protein enriched snack.
The diversity of stuff you could find here blew my mind. You could easily lose yourself through a large number of small streets. I can say that here I started to practice my negotiation skills. You have too, otherwise, everything you buy will be at least twice more expensive.
Luckily I took a map with the market before starting my tour, otherwise, I would spend a long time to find my way back. JJ market is easily accessible by metro so I would highly advise you to pay a visit if you have time.
Thai street food
Besides bugs, Thai street food is something special, which I can not compare with my street food from Bucharest, oh I forgot we don’t have street food, such a pity. For sure we could do also amazing “snacks”. Even if you risk to have stomach problems, you have to try what Bangkok street food has to offer. Deep fried noodles, vegetables, mushrooms, seafood on stick, special tiny eggs with veggies, all these mixtures will give you an unforgettable taste of Thailand. Try it out all of them!!!
Even dough the differences between Bangkok and the place I was coming from were infinitely big, I could say that is the perfect starting point for exploring Asian culture. For me, it was a random place from where to start my travel, because of the cheap flight from Europe, but I’m so glad that I remain with this choice and gave me the perfect immersion in exploring this part of the world.
Have you ever been in Asia? Which country and city were your first choice? If not but it’s on your list, what will be your starting point?