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The Bangkok Blues

THAILAND | Monday, 26 January 2009 | Views [2306] | Comments [15]

 

I've been in Bangkok for 24hrs now and I've been feeling a bit useless again - mainly because of the heat, the expensive hostel rooms, the tiny streets and the swarming and constant crowds.

I left Sihanoukville for Phnom Penh on the 24th. The bus trip was fairly standard - a bumpy road, no leg room, screaming children, loud Khmer pop music emanating from the television at the front of the bus and of course, the constant ear-piercing beeping of the bus horn.

We swerved to miss all manner of things on the road; herds of cows, pedestrians, chickens, motorbikes, trucks overflowing with logs or cages of chicken, and at one point we had to stop to avoid a toddler who'd wandered onto the road; naked from the waist down, his mother screaming as she ran out to get him.

After four months in Asia I've become quite patient and none of this shocked or aggravated me. On such noisy trips you can't read, sleep or even just sit and think. You're constantly aware of your sourroundings, so it really is just like...well, it's like sitting on a noisy bus for hours. Luckily this bus trip wasn't too long, so it could've been worse.


I only stayed one night in Phnom Penh this time, which was just enough time to book my flight to Bangkok and say my good byes to Cambodia with one last gin and tonic at the Foreign Correspondent's Club and a stroll by the river.

The flight to Bangkok was short and trouble free - I even got a quite delicious dinner with organic red rice and curried Thai fish.

I arrived in Bangkok at 9pm and got a registered taxi straight to Khao San Road to find a hotel. A lot of places around this area are full which seemed pretty strange to me. I thought tourism in Bangkok would be suffering because of the protest troubles late last year. It seems, as ever, tourism is alive and well in BK. If only because it's the largest city in South East Asia and a stop over for many in transit.

The streets are filled with backpackers, hawkers, buskers and at night - prostitutes and drug dealers shamelessly skulk around in full view of everyone.

Because of its state of development, Bangkok reminds me of Hong Kong - except it's more spread out and there aren't as many high rise buildings. It's like a cross between Hanoi, Shanghai and Hong Kong...Everything is western and geared towards tourism, and it's just SO DAMN CROWDED.

Today was my first day here and I managed to get quite a lot done including printing out my British visa application form, sending a bunch of stuff home as well as a birthday present for my sister and I even got my existing tattoo extended!! (See photo)

Khao San Road is the place everyone said is the best to stay. Everything you need is within walking distance, there are loads of friendly backpackers and although it's not exactly keeping it real (as in not very Thai) it's a fun place to stay if only for a few days, especially between transit.

I don't much like it much my self. There are just too many people. I stayed in a hostel on the road last night and this morning decided it was best to move one street over. I miss the quiet of Luang Prabang and Laos in general. Still, over the next few days I will get out and see the sights of Bangkok as well as organising my U.K. visa/flights etc.

As it turns out I've got a friend who is here and tomorrow I'm meeting him for drinks. Lyb and Graeme are also due to arrive on the 28th - so I'm sure I'll have much to do before my flight to London which will be in about 8-9 days if all goes to plan. :)

PS: HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY!! :)

My new tattoo. :)

I got the old one I had added to. (Which was just three tiny stars) 

I'm pretty happy with it and it was CLEAN, SAFE and cheap.

My new tattoo. :) I got the old one I had added to. (Which was just three tiny stars) I'm pretty happy with it and it was CLEAN, SAFE and cheap.

 

Comments

1

Your writing is developing nicely - very descriptive and there's a maturity beyond your years. Good job. No comment on the tat.

  Baba Jan 27, 2009 12:00 PM

2

your tattoo is very beautiful
i hope every success in your journey

  lucy Jan 27, 2009 2:00 PM

3

Thanks Dad and thanks Lucy!!

Dad, I wish you understood about tattoos. I don't know why people are so against them when they are so beautiful. I love mine and to me it's also something fantastic because a tattoo is usually something you get with a friend there. But in the spirit of my trip I went and got it alone. However, the stars are suppose to represent PEOPLE. The importance of being alone and yet meeting fantastic people along the path of life.

:)

  mazystar Jan 27, 2009 2:27 PM

4

Like the tatoo too. Yes we stayed at Khao San during our recent trip to Bangkok. It's certainly not very Thai there. We moved to Pratunam area after 2 nights there. Much more authentic and lots of shopping....

  tohca4 Jan 28, 2009 2:11 AM

5

Dom and I LOVED reading the stuff about the boat trip, Battamabang and Sihanoukville. Brought back a lot of memories. Gee, you've been lucky meeting up with people too :)

I have to say, after the first 2 times, I stayed away from KSR in Bangkok. Last time we stayed in the Pathumwan area near Central World, MBK, Siam Paragon and other big shopping malls (Siam Paragon has the largest aquarium in South East Asia in its basement!)

There's an elevated walkway in the area just for pedestrians so it's a LOT easier getting around. You get to see life from a middle-class Thai angle, and it's worth a day trip if you have the time. http://www.siamparagon.co.th/v8/index2.php

You're really gonna feel the cold when you get to London, eh?

  Leanne Jan 29, 2009 1:57 AM

6

Thanks Leanne! :) I still have a few stories to finish, but thanks so much for reading!!

Yes, KSR isn't exactly great but it's fairly cental and it's been good for meeting people etc. We walked around the Pathumwan are today, reminded me of Hong Kong a lot!!

Oh yeah, I will most certainly feel the cold! Hahaha. I have a coat and a scarf, so hopefully that will be enough until I can find more warm things there. :D

Hope you and Dom and well!! xx

  mazystar Jan 29, 2009 11:16 PM

7

As much as I dislike tattoos, it's tattooing I dislike and not people who have them. I strongly believe that people should be allowed to choose for themselves. I don't like them, if you do, that's cool. As they say in Yorkshire, "Different strokes for different folks."

  Baba Jan 30, 2009 5:24 PM

8

Can you explain why it's "tattooing" you dislike? What are your reasons? If you beleive in personal choice, why do you dislike tattooing if you have resigned your self never to get one surely it shouldn't even be an issue!

I think tattoos can be lovely if chosen properly. I've seen good and bad ones but I will always respect most peoples reasons for getting them.

  mazystar Jan 30, 2009 6:37 PM

9

As I said, different strokes for different folks. Or, one man's meat is another mans poison. If it's your choice, COOl, but if it was up to me, no thank you. It's just not my scene man. I will always respect peoples reasons for getting them as long as they respect my reasons for NOT getting them. It really is down to personal choice nes't pas? Vive la differance!

  baba Jan 31, 2009 1:16 AM

10

Darling, I realise there are many people who choose to have tattoos for personal reasons etc., and they may also regard it as an art form: that's of course up to them. Although, tattoos and body piercings certainly appear to be much more fashionable with youngish people, don't they?

However, I would hate to have a tattoo, because not being young... :)... but seriously, to me they are not aesthetically pleasing at all. I also don't like them because the markings are indelible and the skin must be punctured; and it concerns me that there would always be certain health risks associated with the procedure.

Lots of love,

  antique Rose Jan 31, 2009 12:16 PM

11

Dad, you said you didn't like tattooing, which clearly implied a lot more than it just not being your taste. I don't think saying "no comment on the tattoo" is having no opinion on the one I got. It shows an awful LOT of judgment if you ask me. :)

Mum, the amount of people who get permerment unwanted scars (other than the tattoo) is very minimal. With the technology and safety procedures we have now days tattoos are safer than ever. If you take care of them, then there is no reason why there would be any complications.

A lot of people see them as being something to remind them of a good time or a place or a person and I think there is something beautiful about a carefully chosen tattoo.

Of course it is personal choice and I understand people's concerns, but I also don't see why people have to be SO judgmental with others who get them. Some people see a guy with tattoos all over him and assume he is a thug or a criminal...or a woman with a tattoo is a slut. I think that attitude is wrong and more and more people are getting tattoos so this attitude doesn't really make sense.

  mazystar Jan 31, 2009 2:50 PM

12

Hey gorgeous,

I only just noticed the link to this journal on your Facebook page and have been reading and reading. It's so good to actually get a bit more insight intowhat you've been doing than the standard Facebook update allows.

Miss you a lot hon, and be sure that I'll keep reading now that I know this is here. Stay safe gorgeous! xxx

  Ree Jan 31, 2009 9:45 PM

13

Thanks Ree! Yeah I've been keeping this journal since I left! There are some unfinished stories and I haven't written about everything (obviously) but thanks for reading all the same! I miss you too and I really hope your move to Melbourne goes well. I can't wait to come visit you when I'm back in Australia.
xxxx

  mazystar Jan 31, 2009 10:27 PM

14

Hey Maz, I'm thinking of stopping over in Shanghai for a few days on my way to japan. Would you recommend I stay in the French Concession area, or near the Bund or Nanjing Rd area?

  Leanne Feb 2, 2009 11:46 PM

15

Hey Leanne,
Aw, Shanghai is awesome. There is a lot of cool stuff to see there and you can spend two or three days just walking around and that would be enough!

Oh, well in my opinion Nanjing Rd is not a good place to stay. It's central and safe, but it's usually VERY crowded and littered with pick pockets and HAWKERS, which will grab you and follow you. I would steer clear of it. The Bund is lovely, but the hotels on the river aren't cheap - so I think your idea of staying around The French Concession is a great one.

Look up the Hengshan Road area, it's away from The Bund but they have some great restaurants, pubs etc AND the streets are adorable little cobble stone lanes with faerie lights. It doesn't really matter if you stay a bit away from the center as everything is so close to reach anyway. You could walk down to The Bund in 20-30mins from that area or get the train, which is really cheap and easy.

  mazystar Feb 3, 2009 2:29 PM

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