Saturday, 9 September 2017

1st Week: Weekend in Bangkok

Sawadii ka, everyone!

On our first weekend almost everybody decided to go to Thailands capital, Bangkok. As I've already mentioned, we all left on Friday at 5pm in a minivan.      
                                     
It took approximately 5 hours in total to get to our hostel when usually it should take about 3. That was probably because traffic was really bad since it was the Queens birthday on saturday and many people wanted to celebrate that in Bangkok.

Our first stop was Mo Chit bus station where a man approached us, saying that he's a taxi driver and we should come with him. We did but soon realised that he wasn't from a serious taxi business and left the place he'd taken us to. We then had to wait in line for the official taxis for another half an hour and then, when we finally got a taxi, the driver was really weird. At first he just didn't want to turn on the taxi meter when we askes him to and then he drove in a completely strange way. He, for example, suddenly pulled over and checked something in the car bonnet but didn't say anything to us and just kept driving. Apparently then there was no petrol anymore and we'd just reached the highway but he didn't really bother, even when the car made some strange noises.



When we got to Khao San Road, where our hostel was located near, we thought we'd finally made it but unfortunately the taxi driver let us out on the wrong end so we had to walk the rest of the way through the crowds. Our hostel was in a quite sketchy side street about 7 minutes from Khao San Road but on the inside it was great. After we'd checked in, we took a first look at the rooms and were really happy about them. We stayed in an eight person mixed gender bedroom where there were whole sleeping areas rather than simple bunk beds with lots of storage room for our stuff and even a safe. The pillows were nice and soft aswell and, most importantly, it was air-conditioned.


After we'd unpacked our stuff we wanted to take a proper look at Bangkok's busiest shopping street and get something for dinner, since we rather concentrated on finding our hostel when we first walked through there. So we obviously went the 7 minutes to Khao San Road by foot and were already surprised by weird looking food stands who sold, for example, fried crickets, spiders and even scorpions.



There were of course also stands with typical Thai food, fruit (juice) or coconut ice cream. Apart from all those food stalls, there were lots of little market shops where people could buy souvenirs such as keyrings, bracelets, shirts or bags. Since this road is just like any other road at daytime there were many restaurants and bars on the sides along with hotels, hostels and 7elevens.


We walked the street up and down once and then decided to finally get dinner. We simply chose the first restaurant we came across and ordered our food right away. I only ate cheesy garlic bread because I really needed a break from Pad Thai, curry and, most importantly, rice. While we were eating we got approached a lot by street sellers who just wouldn't leave us alone, which resulted in us just ignoring them at the end and not even bothering to say "Mei kap khun ka" (No thanks) anymore.

After Dinner we went back to our hostel and took a shower  (with warm water!!) before we all went to bed to be fit for the next day. I haven't slept that well in a week. Finally a room that's not too hot and pillows that were soft.





On Saturday we got up at 9am and had breakfast in our hostel. After that we passed the giant swing by foot to go to the big palace of the royal family.  As I've already mentioned, it was the Queens birthday that day so the palace was closed to visitors.


We could only see the walls and a few roofs and tips of temples. We walked around the palace and ended up at a large market where we booked a boat tour.


It took about half an hour and on that boat tour we saw a bit of the "behind-the-scenes-Bangkok-life". We, for example, got to see fisher men, typical Thai houses (the ones which are built on poles over the water so that the people can use their boats),

pretty gardens, fish we could feed with bread and we even met other greenway volunteers who were staying in other hostels.


For lunch we went to a vegetarian/vegan restaurant called "ethos" near Khao San Road. The food, drinks and staff were amazing (it was a bit pricey for Thailand though) and we were already planning on coming back the next day since we all liked it that much.

We then left to go to a side road of Khao San Road to buy souvenirs. There we spontaneously decided to get our first Thai massage for only 150B (~3,75€) per half an hour. I'm usually not a big fan of massages but this one was alright, I guess. The others seemed to love it. After another few minutes of looking for souvenirs we got back to our hostel to rest a bit. In the evening we wanted to visit a local park and went all the way there just to find out that it was closed due to renovation.


Half of our group went back to the hostel to sleep but three other girls and me decided to get cocktails at a bar we've seen the day before.

I was planning on going back after one drink but we ended up staying until the bars and shops closed, which was at 2am. Whilst walking around we came by the hot-spot of Khao San, where everyone was dancing to western charts. There we also met other volunteers again and had a great time enjoying the 2nd and last night in Bangkok.

On Sunday we already had to go back to Twinhouse but, before we started our drive back, we went to ethos again and had brunch. The food was amazing once again and after that we were ready to go back to Singburi by taxi and bus and start our second week there.

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