I finally did it… I arrived in Bangkok. As I got off the plane a million emotions and thoughts rushed through my mind. I couldn’t believe it… this wasn’t just another country I was visiting, this was the beginning of the end. From the start of my trip I knew I would break my trip into 4 parts first Central America and Mexico, then Europe and Morocco then the Middle East and India and last but not least the famous SouthEast Asia. I was so nervous and even though I know 5 months is a long time I was scared to think that this adventure was almost over… those thoughts quickly faded as I told myself stop it and enjoy what is left to the fullest.
As I waited in line to get my VISA at Passport Control my nerves ran rampent… those familiar feelings of fear of the unkown rushed through my body again. Even though I have done it a million times I get so worried when I am crossing borders and don’t think they will ever go away, but it’s those feelings I love. They let me know I am living and am not letting my fears of the unknown stop me from living my dream. It was my turn… “GOOD MORNING” I say, she didn’t say anything, but look through my Passport look at me… stamp it staple my exit form to the page and say “WELCOME TO THAILAND”. I walk along with a sigh of relief.
—The back of the iconic “Tuk Tuk” —
Now it’s time to go through the motions of coming to a new country… look around okay a whole new language I can’t read displayed everywhere, now I must find the nearest ATM withdrawal enough for a few days as I get aquatinted with the new currency and now I must figure out how to get to my hostel. I pull out my directions and it says I can easily catch a bus that takes me straight to Koh San Road which is perfect because I am staying near by. I ask for the bus and everyone tells me it’s no longer in service… time for plan B take the metro to the center of the city and then catch a cab to Koh San Road. So I do it… I arrive to the center of the city and try stopping a cab… of course they are all trying to rip me off. Then a guy on a motor bike says “TAXI… TAXI” I look at him like “You must be fucking crazy… I can’t ride a motor bike with my backpack” … and walk away. Then I ask myself… okay I’m in a new city and have never ridden a motor bike as a taxi and sure as hell never with my backpack so why not. I ask him how much he tells me the right price… the price my hostel said it should cost to get into to town. I put my helmet on and was wisked away through the crazy Bangkok traffic… swerving in and out… going the wrong directions on some streets, running red lights… I felt so alive and thought… OMG I’M GONNA LOVE BANGKOK!!!
I found my hostel very easily and am told I must wait for check in… since I am exhausted from my long flight from Istanbul I decide to just wait in the lobby for my friend. Oh yes I forgot to mention I would be spending my time in Thailand with a very good friend of mine. I am sure y’all know her by now… Meri from Barcelona… you know my Barcelona girls? Okay well if not here’s a recap: I met her in Morocco then stayed at her home in Barcelona for a while then we met up for New Years in Istanbul and well now she had a month of vacation and will be with me through most of Thailand. By the time she finally arrives it’s nightfall and we screamed like crazy… we can’t believe we are together again. We catch up a bit and then get ready to see the famous Koh San Road that’s only a few blocks from our hostel.
We make our way there walk around and I’m not impressed… I look around and keep thinking “wow… this is all crap, yes it’s nice to finally see the street food everyone talks about, yes it’s nice to see this crazy street, but wow this is just a sad street filled with tons of tourist waiting to get drunk and take advantage of the cheap prices.” I carry on and try to not be snobbish… I enjoy my 1st plate of pad thai and seeing all the street vendors.
—-Koh San Road at night after some rain fall.—
—My 1st Pad Thai—
—Street food vendor.—
The next day was spent being a tourist. It was a hot humid day and the weather was horrible… the weather was so horrible it reminded me of the horrible weather we have back home in Houston. We visited the Grand Palace and I was impressed by the detail put into it all. I loved seeing a new culture and new temples. The love though faded fast as we then visited Wat Pho the iconic reclining Buddha which did too impress, but the temple looked so much like the temples I had just seen at the Grand Palace and I felt so sad, because I knew I was templed out already… on my 1st full day in Bangkok. We carried on anyway walking around the city to our next stop China Town… we had decided to wait and eat until we got there to eat some chinese street food there. We arrived and walked all over the place, but couldn’t find any food… the food we could find were lots of soups, but neither of us were soup people so didn’t have that. Even though I liked the Chinese writings everywhere… I wasn’t impressed because it looked like any other China Town I have ever visited. So we carried on and made it to the top of the Gold Temple Hill to see the city from above and as I looked around… I was once again not impressed and felt horrible. After walking all over the city all day we called it a day by taking a Tuk Tuk back to the hostel and made plans for the next day.
—The roof top of the Grand Palace.—
—The detail of the Grand Palace was the most impressing.—
—The head of the iconic Wat Pho.—
—From head to toes.—
—China Town. I loved all the chinese signs.—
—Bangkok from above.—
The following day we had booked a tour to visit a floating market. We were both up bright and early and very excited to be seeing a floating market since neither of us had ever seen one. We made the journey there and get off and are both quickly disappointed. This was not what we had imagined or were shown int he photos. All we saw were Thai’s selling more crap and souvenirs to bus loads of tourist. It was like a floating Koh San Rd. We left the main area quickly and wondered away from all the tourist and is where we found a bit of relief… it wasn’t a floating market we saw, but just locals living. It was a beautiful site to see and kind of made the trip there worth it. I mean the truth is we both wanted to see a real market that we have seen all of the world, but floating and well this just wasn’t it. We both felt like it was a tourist trap, but at least we made the most of it. Then back in Bangkok we did a bit more exploring the areas around using public transportation.
—The very touristic floating market.—
—Only saw a few ladies actually selling fruits and vegetables.—
—This was amazing… seeing the un-touristic side of the village.—
—I call them Chicken Boats, but they are just like buses transporting people from one end of the city to the other.—
I know you must be thinking “what the fuck is your problem Jaime… you are in BANGKOK one of the biggest most amazing, exotic cities in the world”, but I’m just being honest. Every time I wasn’t impressed with anything I kept wondering: Why is nothing impressing me??? Was I still being stupid and depressed cus I left him??? Was I being a travel snob??? Is the weather making me miss home??? Have I seen too much??? Am I even going to enjoy SouthEast Asia??? What is wrong with me??? Then on my 3rd day in Bangkok I figured it out… for me Bangkok doesn’t have that spark. You know that spark you feel after a few hours when you visit a new city… the spark that makes you want to explore every corner of the city. It’s a spark I felt in Barcelona, Istanbul, Cairo and many more cities around the world, but not Bangkok.
The truth is to me Bangkok was just another flat city with a million skyscrapers and horrible weather… oh wait I just described Houston my home city. I know many people hate Houston, but I love it because I know the hidden gems and places that make Houston Houston. Since I only spent a few days in Bangkok and never really gave it a chance I never found any of those hidden gems… and even now for some reason don’t care to find them. I left Bangkok by train to Chiang Mai thinking fuck… please don’t be in a travel rut again and well from the moment I arrived in Chiang Mai felt the spark and knew I wasn’t in a rut.
I’ve mentioned it before and will say it again we can’t love every place we visit, but when we don’t I always wonder why I feel so guilty? I mean I don’t owe any city anything, but yet my mind make me feel guilty and wonder a million things I could have done differently. Does this make sense? Don’t get me wrong I didn’t hate Bangkok like I hated Fez, just wasn’t impressed and honestly have no desire to see more of it.
Tell me below a city you have visited and weren’t impressed by and let me know if you feel guilty or not for not liking it as much as you know others do. Have you been to Bangkok what are your thoughts on this huge city?