Although Erik and I had spent a few days in Bangkok on our way to Chiang Mai, we decided to give it another go as last time we were there Erik was at the mercy of what is now known as his everlasting fever.
We spent our first day trying to see some of the sights closer to our hostel, but when you’re talking about a city the size of Bangkok it was actually a lot of walking and a very small portion of the city. We made our way to the Golden Mountain passing other beautiful temples along the way.
We were particularly interested in the flattened squids and ducks that were out for sale. We’re not quite sure but it looked like they had been emptied and then flattened so that all you were purchasing was a duck shell with no meat or insides. Erik even found a large pack of replacement batteries for his bank verification device at a great price.
Unfortunately for us Bangkok is a fairly expensive city and the only affordable accommodation we could find was just off the main backpackers area of Khao San Road. Luckily this time around we were able to find a place somewhat off the main strip which proved to be a quiet retreat compared to the booming club music that shook our room until 6 am at the last place we stayed in Bangkok.
If you’ve never heard of Khao San Road, let me try to describe it for you. It is the ugly epitome of a city spring break. Each and every shop, bar, and vendor caters to the typical three and four person groups of frat boys and spring breakers.
But we thought; hey as long as we’re here why not embrace it? So, we set out to live the nightlife of Khao San Road. We did it correctly right from the start getting cheap pad thai and big beers at one of the 8 7-11 stores and ate our dinner on the road in front of a closed store.
We spent the night bar hoping from old VW vans selling cocktails, to lively bars that had signs outside promising strong drinks and no ID checks. We didn’t make it until 5 am with the other partiers, but we made a good showing for ourselves and had a good time observing the craziness mostly from afar.
Our last morning in the city we got up very, very early to catch one of the first public transport longtail boats up to the last stop on the river that lines the city. Packed on to the boat with locals we were surrounded by yawns and students on their way to school.
Vegetables bursting out of baskets on the floor lay next to seafood so fresh it was still moving. Squids, eels, turtles, fish and mussels were just a sampling of the spread. I was very tempted to take home samples from the largest piles of curry paste I have ever seen, but settled instead for a typical breakfast of sticky rice.
Even though we only had time to see a very small section of the city, I like to think that we got a good sense of the culture and sights. Next time I would love more time and money to explore the roof top bars, and elaborate restaurants of central downtown.