I love Bangkok.
I love the atmosphere; the structured chaos, the endless side streets, alleyways and markets that you can disappear into and get utterly and wonderfully lost, sucked into the tide of people floating between the myriad of stalls and vendors. Sure you have to deal with the white curse-tourist prices, target for scams, near constant badgering from tuk tuk drivers. You learn after the first day that “today special Buddhist holiday” is a big fat lie, after a question or two whoever is asking you can make a pretty educated guess that you aren’t going to know any better and they want to get your money by taking you to all the temples (“because today only is free for non Thai”), and you will come to loathe Big Buddha. Black Buddha, and Happy Buddha. Yes, it’s true that by the end of my first day in Bangkok I wanted to pull my hair out, and if one more person dared say, “You see Big Buddha today? Very special day, I take you”, I was going to tell them where to shove it. It’s true, I hate being seen as a walking ATM by a lot of these people, and I’m not a fan of the fact that you just kind of have to assume you are being ripped off before haggling a new agreement. But once the sun sinks below the horizon the city buzzes with new life and I am once again mesmerized.
I don’t really know how to plan. I sat in the Pape’ete airport for 5 hours and only managed to scribble down the names of a couple different hostels. So despite my attempt at flying in prepared I found myself standing outside the Bangkok airport at 10pm, surrounded by bags and clueless about where to begin looking for a hostel. I hailed a taxi and vaguely remembered something about Khaosan Rd being a cheap destination and hosting a night market, so off we went. I was expecting it to be busy, but I was not expecting the wall of people, energy and pandemonium that met me. The entire road shuts down so neither car nor tuk tuk could get through, and my driver dropped me off at the end of the road to battle the madness alone. There are no open container laws, music changes every 10 seconds as you amble past bars and restaurants, and people just seem to blend into each other.Feeling a little overwhelmed, I ducked into the first hostel I came across. I got a room to myself, fan, free wi fi, and double bed overlooking Khaosan Road. Thank God I sleep well…it didn’t quiet down until well after 3am.
I had heard Bangkok was nothing special, just a waste of time, so I only booked for 3 nights and bought a bus ticket to Chiang Mai . I don’t know why people hate on the place so much, I haven’t been this visually, mentally or psychologically stimulated in a while. I find myself wishing I could spend more time here.