Asia | South East Asia | Thailand | Bangkok – bangkok (first impressions)
I like Bangkok. I was kind of worried about bangkok. I didn’t want it to be seedy or about sexploitation but in the end i was pleasantly surprised.
Of course its hectic and its polluted but its a capital city so that’s to be expected. The city is a bizarre mix of old, new and abandoned. The ‘Asian Crash’ obviously hit hard. Its littered with incomplete skyscrapers. Rust skeletons decomposing in full view of the population. But there is obviously money and jobs and although I’m sure people dis the whole Khao San Road thing there is a lot of employment in tourism.
I didn’t really like the Khao San road. At night its like Piccadilly Circus on bad acid. Disjointed flashing neon with a distorted techno soundtrack. Just round the corner though by the temple I really liked Soi Rambutri. Drinking watermelon juice, watching the locals and travellers mix, it has a slightly different feel.
And i loved Siam Square. 8 blocks of thai fashion, clothes shops and record shops, and thai people are lovely they have really good eyes (as well as being on the whole stunningly beautiful).
We took the river boat 8 baht from Tha Pra Chan (just on the river near Soi Rambutri) to Saphan Taksin and then the Kings monorail to Siam Square (25 baht) a really nice way to see the city and ‘urban thai’ and had a good mooch around the shops, department stores and noodle bars.
Then back to Sawasdee Guest House (on Soi Rambutri) and paid 600 baht for a coach to Ko Pha-Ngan.
The least said about the coach the better. I’m never fond of 17 hour coach journeys. The train is slower but i intend to return on it simply because the opportunity to sleep is real. That said it was a treat to speed through the thai night with a full moon to light our way.
I felt slightly patronizing about my view of thai poverty as we sped through towns and suburbs of semi-detached houses and new cars.
And then the boat ride from Surat Thani was amazing. The green of the ocean, the blue of the sky, the white of the spray, everything was so vivid.
Chaos obviously when we arrived on Ko Pha-Ngan, Hordes of vans, drivers hussling for business. 11 of us piled in a van and paid 50 baht for a rollercoaster journey over the island to Hat Rin.