Bangkok was really just a touch-and-go for Ottie and I. We spent two nights there, but not before taking the opportunity to walk across borders from Cambodia to Thailand. It was so exciting!
The experience was educational, showing the stark difference in wealth between Cambodia and Thailand. The Cambodia border was really just an wooden stand on a dirt road, where we were herded into confusing lines under the hot sun for about half an hour before getting our passports stamped. A Cambodian official even told Ottie that he could expedite him for USD $5. A ten minute walk later, we found ourselves queueing up in an orderly fashion in an air-conditioned room with no obvious signs of corruption. It felt pretty surreal.
Once we cleared Thai customs, we sought transport that would take us to Bangkok. I guess it was a testament to the hardened tourists that Cambodia had shaped us to be when we managed to finagle a preview of our ride before paying. We even negotiated our price down to $9 from $10. Four hours later, we got dropped off at Khaosan Road. Ottie and I strayed onto a smaller road parallel to Khaosan Road and chanced upon Viengtai Hotel. Thanks to Ottie’s skills, the receptionist gave us a deluxe room for the price of a standard room. It was a pretty sweet stay:
We spent our days strolling along the quiet streets lying just off of bustling Khaosan Road. It was the perfect laid-back atmosphere.
As usual I always order my favourite Tom Kha if a place has it.
Chairs by the dock at Chao Phraya.
We visited the Patpong Night Market and spied a Hello Kitty stall that Ottie insisted on taking a photo with.
We also visited a ping pong show at Patpong. It sounds way more exciting than it really is, though it did open our eyes to the tenacity of the human vagina, chief among them the ability to expel darts, bursting balloons from across the room.
I read about Terminal 21 while searching for things to do the morning of our second day. It’s an airport-themed shopping mall, each floor a different country or city. It sounded pretty exciting, so we took a cab down to Sukhumvit. That high-end district was such a different facade of Bangkok compared to where we were staying.
I found CoCo in Thailand!!! They were sold out of my favourite Milk Tea with Pudding, so I tried their new Matcha Green Tea; it wasn’t as good. :(
By the way, there was a peaceful protest right outside Terminal 21. This side street was filled with tents and street stalls selling demonstration and propaganda merchandise. Even though it lied adjacent to the actual protest area, the air here was already so charged!
Soi Cowboy was right across the street, so Ottie and I had no choice but to cut through the sit-down protest and into the famed red-light district. The juxtaposition was just incredible, and I actually felt a bit ashamed to be entering a place so sleazy while the good Thai people were trying to make a change behind us. At the same time, I didn’t actually want to put myself into a potentially dangerous situation considering that recent protests had turned a little bit fatal.
Ottie and I went past the city centre twice during our stay, each time witnessing the aftermath of protests. One morning we spied three badly charred cars – one of which was a police car. But I digress.
First stop was to a ladyboy bar! There is only one pretty girl in this picture, and it’s definitely not yours truly. I was actually surprised when she asked if I wanted to take a selfie, but I guess we were the only ones to actually try to hold a normal conversation instead of being pervy. Also check out her makeup, she does everything in ten minutes. Mad skills~
Speaking of mad skills, Ottie and I took a walk around our block after dinner one night, when we walked past this unassuming stall on the more deserted face of the block. I literally backtracked, dragging Ottie with me, and the both of us ended up squatting in front of the mat for twenty minutes asking this talented man about his craft as he quietly worked on another critter. I really wanted everything he was selling, but affordable as it all was, our light travel didn’t exactly accommodate a shopping frenzy. He also doesn’t have a website, which just killed me. T^T
The only details he provided on his stall was a name and a telephone number. If you’re ever in Bangkok, search for him! His work is exquisite.
Regarding our experience getting around Bangkok, Ottie and I primarily hailed metered taxis. They’re not that hard to find, if one is persistent enough. Most tuk-tuks and taxis would quote a fixed price upon knowing your destination, but that price is usually inflated by about 200%. One example was when a cab quoted us for 200 baht (which we rejected and immediately turned to the next cab in line) and it turned out that our metered cab charged us for only 65 baht. Dude. We ended up giving our honest cab driver a generous tip as a reward. (TT w TT)
I had a bit of a problem interpreting the symbols on one of our cabs. The first five were easy – No Durians, No Dogs, Wine, No Smoking, and VIP. But the sixth confused me, because it looked like a man peeing into a bidet. I pointed it out to Ottie, who recognised it as a reclining chair… Let’s just say that I’m glad that there’s someone to be the voice of reason. ^^;
This concludes our trip! My videos from Bangkok are in this post. :)