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Going Around the World

Bangkok

THAILAND | Tuesday, 9 May 2017 | Views [292]

The flight from Munich, Germany to Bangkok, Thailand was about 10 hours. Not bad at all since I just watched movies most of the time. The biggest issue was the time changes. I left Munich at 2:30 pm Germany time, so that puts me in Thailand at about 12:30 in the morning Germany time. Since I had been in that German time zone for 2 weeks, I was not able to sleep on the plane as it was just past midnight. But the issue is that when I landed it was give or take 6 am Thailand time. I was a bit tired once I landed, but it was the start of the new day already. I was hoping that I could get into my hostel bed early and nap for a few hours. I took the train from the BKK airport to the end of the line downtown, then I figured I would start walking a little ways to see the city a bit. I walked for about 10 minutes and had another 45 minutes to go and it was so dang humid that I grabbed an Uber taxi to my hostel. Very good choice. Once I get to the hostel around 830 am, my bed is not ready as checkout is not until noon. So I couldn’t sleep. I left my bags at the hostel and I took a cab up to a huge weekend market. It was your local farmer's market on Barry Bonds esque steroids. People were selling everything from clothes, to produce, to wood carvings, to shoes, to anything Buddha related. There were open foot massage booths around every turn and there were little stalls that were cooking most types of Thai food. This place had most everything you wanted...I didn’t buy anything, I was too tired to care.

After a few hours at the market, I went back to the hostel to check if my bed was ready; it was. I decided that being about 1pm, I would just stay awake for another 6 or 7 hours and power through. From there I started walking through the downtown touristy part of Bangkok. The first thing I find absolutely crazy is that there are 7 11 convenience stores literally every three small city blocks. No matter where you are, there is a 7 11 within a 5 minute walk from you, very unexpected. The city was as expected, with respect to the amount of trash everywhere and all of that stuff. The most annoying part while walking around is that being white, literally every tuk tuk driver stops to help you with wherever you are going and then they offer you a ride and get annoyed with you whenever you don't accept, even after you tell them no from the very onset. A tuk tuk is a small open air 3 wheeled vehicle where the driver sits in the front and there is a seat behind him that 3 people could fit in. I think the fact that I was tired played into a part of how annoying they were, but I literally just wanted to walk around the city and check out the sights. The other issue with tuk tuks is that the drivers will say they will take you somewhere but then they tell you that they have to make a stop at a certain travel agency or gem stone dealer or tailor shop. The drivers get commissions from the stores for bringing them potential customers. I did not want to mess with that at all.

I ended up making it back to the hostel around 4pm to start making plans for my next day in Bangkok. Sitting in the common area and working on my computer, I met a few other people staying in the hostel. I was thinking about heading up to Ayutthaya ruins the next day and this Canadian girl, Erica, said she was thinking about the same thing. So we figured out how to catch the bus to the train to get ourselves out to the ruins the next morning. Later that evening I met a British girl, Hannah, who was one of the 5 other people staying in my bunk room. We chatted for a while, talking politics of the US and UK. We wandered around the hostel to find some food, as we were bored. Just ended up grabbing some snack food at one of the million 7 11’s nearby. We went back to the hostel and I turned in for an early night, as I was a walking zombie.

Got up early the next morning to grab breakfast before Erica and I set out for our day trip to Ayutthaya ruins. We walked to the bus stop, missed the bus that we needed as we hesitated to make sure it was the correct bus. I'm not sure if the city busses here ever really come to a complete stop, they slow down...people hop off and hop on and they are off again. Welcome to Bangkok. We had to wait another 10 minutes for the bus but we made it to the train station in plenty of time. We go to buy our train ticket for the 2 hour each way trip and it is a measly 15 Baht. That is about 40 cents in American money...and that is exactly the kind of train we got. We had 3rd class seats which is no air conditioning, only open windows and a small fan that circulates air overhead. The seats were similar to a school bus bench seat type, but the seats faced both forward and backward. Outside of being hot, the train worked out just fine. A few seats behind us there was some sort of commotion along the way. The one english speaker amongst them was saying something about there being blood on one of the seats and they didn't know where it came from. I didnt see everything that was going on, but thats 3rd class for you I suppose. You get what you pay for.

We made it to the Ayutthaya train station and Erica and I were off to find bicycles to rent. A friend of mine who had visited Thailand before me, told me that the ruins were worth visiting and the best way to view them is to rent bikes and ride around the area. We took a short boat ride across a river that took about 90 seconds and we found bikes to rent for the day. We hit up a bunch of the ruins and temples. It was really cool to see how old most of these things were. Apparently this had been the capital city way back in the day. The nice thing about this was that while we rode around the ruins, you weave in and out of neighborhoods. It was interesting to see how the locals live when they are not in the craziness of Bangkok. We rode past the area where they kept the elephants that they use to take people on tours around the sights. They are very well trained, but I was not a huge fan of it. We climbed up several towers and saw many buddhas and we made our way back to drop our bikes off after about 3.5 hours. It was very warm and I wore my hiking pants as I had heard that you cannot go on some of the temple grounds if you are wearing shorts. This was not the case for this area apparently, even though i read the contrary online, so I was wearing pants when I did not need to and riding around on a bike in 90+ degree weather...brutal.

We grabbed some food on our way back to the train station and we decided that we were going to upgrade to 2nd class because we had heard that 2nd class has air conditioning, we were all for that. The 2nd class ticket cost about $2 American so we go to get on the train and 2nd class is in fact NOT air conditioned. The one benefit was that our seats were not the bench seats this time, they were more of individual airline seats that reclined. So it was a warm ride home, but we made it. A shower was a must when I got home and then I spent all evening booking my flights and bus+ferry boat tickets to the island of Koh Phangan. There is a full moon festival happening on the island and I am going to go check it out.

Earlier this morning I took a short 1 hour flight from Bangkok to Surat Thani. I had my first “amazing race” moment since I did not think there would be anyway I would make my flight, as the traffic was horrible and I arrived 45 minutes later than I originally wanted to. I ran through the airport going to the terminal that Mr. Google told me to go to. Turns out that was the international terminal, but luckily the other terminal was directly connected and it took me 60 seconds to run over to the domestic terminal. Luckily there was no line to check in and I got my boarding pass. Security was a breeze and I somehow had 15 minutes to spare. That is primarily because they only started boarding for a 9:20 am flight at 9am. We were boarded and pushed back from the gate at 9:21. It was quite impressive, get your stuff together american flight companies! When we were taking off from Bangkok I saw a golf course very close to the runway. I looked closer and turns out they have a full golf course set up between two parallel runways. That cannot be safe at all, unless golfers in Thailand never hook it left or right. I made it down to Surat Thani and now I have to wait about 3 hours for my bus to take me to the ferry dock and to jump on the boat to the island. It will be quite a day of travel, but once I get there this evening at 6pm I am sure that it will had been worth it.

Here comes my first dose of many Thai beaches...

 

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