First Impressions

Phra Rama 8 Bridge, Bangkok

Phra Rama 8 Bridge, Bangkok

Wow. This place is huge and crazy. I thought I had a booked a place to stay pretty near to the centre, but as I discovered it was actually about 20km’s from the centre! Public transport is very difficult to use as no signage is in English and everything outside of the big well known landmarks pretty much looks the same, so its super difficult to know where to get off. Perhaps I should consult a map before I set off adventuring the city next time..?

I set off to get my bearings just as the sun was setting, which probably isn’t the best time, but managed to navigate a couple of buses and a bit of walking to get me in to town, I was getting frustrated and literally about to sack it off and go home, to try again in daylight.

I was getting annoyed with not knowing which bus I’m supposed to be on and not being able to use Google maps, which is one of the creature comforts you take for granted at home, but costs about £1 per second to use when you have a British phone contract in Thailand. Still, I managed to navigate my way to the right bus thanks to some directions from the girl who worked in trusty Starbucks (the only thing that is more expensive here than the UK) and got talking to a girl who was heading the same way I was and had a little more experience navigating this craziness.

The Thai people are very friendly and all willing to try and help you out. With varying grasp of English and the sheer size of Bangkok, they may not always know how to help, but they will certainly try!

I’m glad I did persevere and not turn back, I met a few cool people and made use of my first evening, which will in turn allow me to make better use of my day tomorrow, not having to do the virgin navigation thing. I managed to get half way home back on the public transport before giving in for a cab, so tomorrow I should be gold. When I talk about working out building character and attributes that will make your whole life better, this is the kind of thing I mean, having built the perseverance to stick with it when I was frustrated and would have preferred to be at home. That leads to good adventures, successful businesses and sick bodies.

Like I said, Thai people are really friendly. They come and talk to you in bars if you’re on your own and invite you to join their group. The cab driver from the airport dropped me off down the road a bit because he wasn’t sure exactly where the hotel was. I just started walking around and asking people, assuming he was driving off. As it happens, as I got the correct directions from someone, my cab driver walks up to me smiling, to show me to the door. Different level of service and I literally paid him £1 for the journey.

This really is a 24 hour city, I went for a quick beer at the bar next door and it’s full of Thai people partying on a Monday night, and it’s a completely random bar on the side of the road, not in the party district. Anyway having travelled for about 24 hours and only having had some uncomfortable half sleep on the plane, my brain is pretty frazzled so in summation, my first impressions of Bangkok; big and crazy.

Bangkok Christmas Tree Lights & busy street

Bangkok Christmas Tree Lights & busy street

New Year’s Eve in Bangkok

I spent 5 days in Bangkok, including New Years.

Khao San Road, New Year 2015

Khao San Road, New Year 2015

New Year was super fun. Massive street party all down Khao San Road, with people from all over the world, backpackers, tourists and locals. Really friendly vibe and lots of sound systems outside and people selling vodka/whiskey in a bucket for £4. It reminded me of Notting Hill Carnival in many ways.

We met a group of Thai girls and hung out with them for the night, so I guess that helped us get the scoop on the best places to go. I find it hard to describe a party – it’s something felt, that no amount of description can do justice, but I had a great time. I would definitely go there for New Year again if I was in this part of the world, and will certainly be back for a party another time.

Khao San Road New Year's aftermath at 5am

Khao San Road New Year’s aftermath at 5am

Bangkok, my thoughts

I’ve left now and after 5 days my take away are that it is a huge city with a fun buzz, definitely a place for a party. However it is dirty, like filthy, and honestly I didn’t think there was that much to do there.

It is a fun city to visit, but not somewhere that I could see myself spending a great deal of time. It is too go, go, go and doesn’t offer much in the way of balance. Not being able to breathe for the pollution gets old fast too. The smog totally ruins the weather, it was hot and ‘kind of’ sunny all the time I was there, but the sun never really managed to break through the haze.

Old Fort Phra Sumera, Bangkok on New Year's eve

Old Fort Phra Sumera, Bangkok on New Year’s eve

I’ve come up to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand now and immediately the weather is significantly better. It is actually sunny and hot here, not to mention, I can breathe!

Next time I am in Bangkok I will explore the city some more, do a bit more research and venture further afield to find specific things.

Working out in Bangkok

If you want to workout while you are in Bangkok and you are near the Khao San Road CLICK HERE.

My recommendation

Definitely check out Bangkok if you are in this part of the world, or flying in, but I wouldn’t advise you spend more than a day or two there. Book somewhere to stay that is really central,you will probably underestimate the distance between things, traffic is horrendously congested and public transport hard to navigate. You will definitely be best staying near to where you intend to go.

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