This year’s travel included going to Asia for the first time.
I spent around 48 hours in Bangkok. Whilst having travelled on my own frequently for short flights (1-3 hours), I had never been on a flight for longer than 8 hours, especially not the whole way on my own.
Traveling to spend 48 hours in Bangkok was very exciting and a great life-changing opportunity to explore unknown areas of the world.
My journey started in Berlin, taking a flight to Moscow for 2.5 hours then onto Bangkok for a 8.5-hour flight. Upon arriving in Moscow, everyone seemed to address me in Russian and continued to do so through security.
Getting a connecting flight with only a short amount of time is rather stressful, so it’s important to move fast, travel light and not lose your passport. I did manage to buy some vodka in time, though!
Taxi to Bangkok city centre
8.30am: After arriving in Bangkok 8.5 hours later, I was very tired as I could not sleep on the flight. Some passengers seem to have no issue with this, even right through to landing.
The air was very thick with 80% humidity and 31 degree Celcius heat – feeling more like 40 degrees, however.
At this point we jumped in an air-conditioned taxi for 1200 baht. Later we learned the legendary GrabTaxi application which instead cost us 240 baht to return to the airport 3 days later.
The cars are less fancy (although one was a neon yellow lowered Honda Jazz with a Hello Kitty interior) but they seem to arrive on time; they are friendly and cost half the price. They also quote you beforehand and they also have an instant SMS service so you can tell them you’re on your way, for example. There is air-con and the risk of your being driven to a gem shop is much smaller.
10am the next day: 48 hours in Bangkok begins. Lots of people are offering instant lifts around the city in a famous tuk-tuk. It’s sort of like a moped with 2 seats in the back. Some have boom boxes, fairy lights and cute designs.
As driving standards in Thailand are not to the same caliber like in Europe, it’s to be expected that you’ll be scared sitting in one of these. For 100baht I negotiated getting a trip around all the Temples in Bangkok including Black Buddha and Wat Pho. Often they inflate the prices or take you via a gem shop or somewhere to buy suits. This can get awkward so be prepared to move on swiftly.
The drivers are insistent and invent any price; start with the price they suggest and reduce it by a third. If they won’t agree, keep walking.
The same technique can be replicated across the board in Bangkok.
Temples in Bangkok
11-3pm: There are many ancient temples, the most famous being Wat Pho with the Reclining Buddha worth 250million in gold, others more humble and discreet. It is amazing to see all the mosaics, the sequin and glitter designs, the colours all splashed across the monuments. There are indeed lots of Buddhas everywhere.
3-5pm: Near the buddha many advertise trips outside of the city to go to a floating market. Unfortunately, most of the charm and traditional feeling to these markets have been lost, as there are only tourists visiting them and the locals tend to sell the same stuff along the way.
We went on a boat trip through the canal to see where the Thai people live! We saw mangoes, huge fish, indigenous Thai houses in the water and a single woman floated over to us in her boat. After we ended up in a fresh food market and tried to eat in a restaurant where there were only Asians. Spicy.
Remember to negotiate much more on prices quoted, including the boats.
Food in Bangkok
8pm: Street food is famous in Bangkok with someone considering it a health risk, others cannot resist a hot, cheap bargain such as 20 chicken skewers with salad and a drink for 250 baht. In chinatown there were small tables spilling out onto the street, with the employees washing up cutlery on the street alongside them. Food which I saw being served was often sea food, sticky mango rice, Thai green curry, pad Thai, panang curry.
It gets very busy here, as the best restaurants fill up there is often a queue just to get a little table out on the street with taxis passing by in a constant stream. Sometimes its hard to find somewhere and it can be a risk, the best thing is to avoid any food which is being reheated or hasn’t been cooked in front of you. We went to Queen of Curry in Bangrak which was an absolute dream.
Nightlife in Bangkok
11pm: Khao San Road is famous for its nightlife which gets increasingly high energy once the sun sets. The bars offer buckets of vodka and mixer for 100 baht, balloons, entertainment and street dancing.
Whilst people are eating street food throughout the night, you can also get a massage, a drink, a tattoo, a fresh coconut, fruit shakes and fresh mango to eat. Many advertise for rooftop bars which is also good fun if you want a break from the streets.
Many people advised me not to spend longer than 2 days in Bangkok. I believe this is good advice – although, if the hustle and bustle of the city gets too much, then you can easily get a massage, cool off in the shopping centres and relax by your hotel pool, if there is one.
We stayed in Siam@Siam Design Hotel, it had a great infinity pool which made the experience simply amazing.
– Bring cash and keep small change separate from larger notes (to haggle better)
– 100 baht = 2,60€ (correct on 05.05.2017)
– Drink out of as many coconuts as you can
– Eat as many mangoes as you can
– Buy bottled water and ensure the seal is intact
– Do not eat too much salad or take ice cubes
– Try the street food but choose wisely
– Be careful not to get your feet ran over in Chinatown
– Do not engage in any conversation with people who are selling things
– Get the GrabTaxi App
– Get massages whenever you can!