I arrived to Bangkok on 19.3.2017 from Warsaw. This was my first experience with Asia. I always wanted to see it by myself and after finishing my studies, I was finally able to do it. Originally I wanted to stay for a longer time volunteering in some thai-boxing gym, but visas allows me to stay only for 30 days in Thailand, so I decided just to explore it while staying in hostels and couchsurfing places. In the moment I walked out of the airport, I had to return back and change my clothes. Trousers and sweatshirt combination I used in the plane was too much for the weather here. I took a train to Playa Thai and from there I started my walking. I like not to have a plan and just to get lost. This way I find new places.
Smells are changing here a lot. You walk through the streets and you smell delicious food being sold in here for about 30 THB (0.88 USD), you walk few more meters and you can smell cars and bikes, few more meters there and there is a plenty of waste and some small huts, another few meters and there is a large commercial building. Every few meters, there was a policeman or a soldier. It seems quite safe in here.
In this random way of exploration, I have found heavily guarded Chitralada Royal Villa, Dusit Zoo and the Ananta Samakon throne hall. In there, there were lots of policeman and also some tourist police guys. Seem like that Thailand really wants to keep people safe.
As Cisco certified network engineer, all those cables really makes me wonder, how they can maintain it.
Markets are places where it lives here. You can buy meat, vegetables, fruits, clothes,
There are plenty of temples and monks here. When you are entering temples, you should wear appropriate clothes. Something that covers your body – no shorts and top.
While walking across the street, one guy stopped me and we started chatting. I told him, that I just arrived into Thailand and that I would like to go to Chiang Mai and Pai for trekking and maybe I would like to go to Phuket for diving. He told me about some places I should see in Bangkok and he also told me that holidays are just starting on that day, so that I should book hostels, tickets and plan in advance. He also told me, that Thai government is sponsoring tuk-tuk drivers on that day and that I can use tuk-tuk for 40 THB (1.17 USD) to explore those places he told me about. There were some tuk-tuks coming close to us, he stopped one and told him to take to those places. It seemed like a good idea, so I asked if it is really 40 THB (1.17 USD), he said that it is like that and he took me to a large Buddha statue and to one Buddhist temple. In there I met a guy from Belgium who was asking me about my black clothes.
I told him, that I have only black clothes and he told me, that it is exactly what I should wear while being inside the temple. He gave me some tips about travelling across Thailand and after some time, I told him that there is a tuk-tuk waiting for me. He asked me why I didn’t send him away. I told him that we agreed on the price and that he offered me to wait for me. He told me, that there are 2 kind of tuk-tuks – white plate and yellow plate ones – private ones and business ones. This one was private. After tuk-tuk guy insisted that I should go to tourist information, I slowly started to realize that there is something scammy about this ride. I still wanted to gather some information though, so I said yes, take me there.
In the tourist information, there was a very nice girl that introduced me to the manager. I started talking with him and he planned a whole 30 day trip for me. He showed me pictures, offered me 4×4 ride, elephant ride, diving and so on. He did all that in few minutes, I was just another moneybag. In the end he was very pissed when I said that I have to think about it by myself and that I have to do some research. He showed me the door and I said to the tuk-tuk driver that I didn’t book anything. Smile from his face was gone. He showed me a card that said 5 L of gasoline for free and he told me that he will get it if I go to the next information office. I knew that they will try the same thing, but this driver was quite nice before, so I said yes. It was exactly the same as in the first office. Very similar plan, same photos etc. I told this guy that I am just looking for some information and that I thought that this is what these places were about when there was written “Official Thai Tourist Information” in front of the office. He was pissed when I told him I will make no booking for 4 times higher price. He told me I wasted his time and he showed me the door as the previous guy. I was about to pay to the tuk-tuk driver and leave. I was quite sad, that he won’t get some extra money for my booking, so I said I will give him 50 THB (1.5 USD) instead of 40 THB (1.17 USD). I gave him 100 THB (3 USD) bill, but he told me he has only 40 THB back. Yes, he tried. I took back the bill, I paid him 40 THB in coins and I went away. This was the moment when my smile left. I realized what is going on in here.
It happened to me 3 more times that day that people were asking me about what I am doing in Thailand and when I said that I am about to go to Chiang Mai and then to Phuket, they said “come and sit”. It would be the same story all over again. I was just saying: “Don’t try.” It took some time to speak with people without suspicion again.
I was walking till 8 PM, I saw the Royal Palace, plenty of markets and plenty of back alleys where I found huge piles of machine parts.
I arrived at the hostel and I started talking with people – with Juan, Spanish guy from Amsterdam, I went to explore Patpong Night Market. We had a beer while sitting there and It took about 1 minute and we were offered a menu with about 20 items that always started with word “pussy”. Whole market was mostly about that. Young girls dancing, smiling, waving at us and so on. Just walking there was very new experience for me.
There are not so many parks in Bangkok. The biggest one is Lumpini park. In the evening you can see plenty of people doing aerobics, running and meditating. It is also a place where you can see big lizards walking around the main pond.
Poor and rich areas are next to each other. There is no urban plan. You can be walking in the slums and next to it, there is going to be a skyscraper.
Thai people love their motorbikes. You can see a whole family of 5 people ride on one motorbike. A motorbike can be turned into a small truck and it can be also stripped down for amazing looks. It is the most efficient type of transportation in here.
I love the food in Thailand. It is fresh, healthy and cheap. Most of the times, you will get drinking water with ice for free and there is always an option to use some sauces, chilli and garlic.
Buddhism has a long tradition here and monks are not separated from society. You can see monks walking on the street, in waiting halls, shops etc. They are part of the society and they have respect and also some privileges (dedicated seats in trains, ….). And they are using Facebook as well.
One of the most beautiful places in Bangkok in Wat Saket temple that is standing on the Golden Mountain from where you can see all Bangkok. I stayed there for 3 hours listening to all the bells around there.
China town is where it lives in Bangkok. It is like a small Chinese colony in the middle of Thailand. Chinese signs, different people and huge crowds. I was walking there in the evening and I was trying to get to the train station through there. It felt like being on a huge party. Getting to the other side of China town took me about 30 minutes and it was just about one kilometer to the other side. While pushing through the crowds, I lost my beloved sandals that were travelling with me for a long time. I thought that I can buy some new ones, but later, I realized that it is very difficult for me someone with shoe size 46 to find something similar.
I was about to go to Chiang Mai. I wanted to be somewhere more quiet and less polluted. I bought the cheapest train ticket (270 THB – 8 USD). It was the 3rd class where there were only Thai people and me. It took me 14 hours to get to Chiang Mai and was one of most beautiful experiences I had in Thailand. More in the next article.