Bangkok is seriously one of the easiest places to navigate. Admittedly I had purchased the Lonely Planet guide for Thailand and planned my trip a bit before arriving but honestly you can wing it easily.
I arrived to Bangkok at the crack of dawn, literally, and unfortunately was way too early to check in even though I just wanted to sleep. I booked a bed in an all female room at Suneta Hostel near Khaosan Road, the backpacker Mecca. They let me leave my bag with them so I wouldn't have to lug it around while I explored. I decided to get a massage to kill time, and because they are ridiculously inexpensive. I ended up getting a two hour massage for roughly $14. Insane.
Once I was able to check in I showered and took a lil nap. I actually really enjoy staying at hostels even though they have a really bad reputation among Americans thanks to horror movies etc. I managed to make friends with a German girl named Lisa on my first night in Bangkok, she is also vegetarian so for dinner we walked the streets and found a person selling tofu pad thai - it is important to note that I heard SO many stories about getting food poisoning in Thailand, especially from street vendors but luckily for me that never happened. I think this could be because I don't eat meat but even so maybe I just got lucky- I almost preferred street vendor food because it was just so cheap and very nice portions, plus I thought it was delicious. Thai is one of my favorite cuisines! The best thing for sure was coconut ice cream in a coconut!
I had booked a tour through the hostel to check out a floating market just outside of town, and Lisa decided to join me. I do think they are really cool but I probably would have saved it for the end of the trip as most of the vendors sell more souvenir type gifts instead of food and since it was the beginning of my month long trip I wasn't looking to buy stuff I would have to haul around with me. However, while we were there Lisa and I tried durian! I must say I am not a fan. Not only does it smell awful the taste and consistency were not my thing.
We spent the rest of the day shopping around Khaosan Road, I brought almost no clothes with me because I fully intended on buying lots of things in Thailand. I love the bohemian fashion but also because it is so hot and humid regular attire doesn't really suffice. Also it is not possible to visit most temples in shorts or tank tops as it is considered rude. A lot of times you can cover your shoulders with like a shawl, but at the Grand Palace that doesn't fly and they actually rent you clothes to cover up with. I managed to make friends with another German girl named Stella and we got henna tattoos and pedicures on Khaosan because why not? Seriously, everything is so cheap.
Stella, Lisa and I all went to the Grand Palace together, however, on our way there I got into a conversation with a local man who thought I was Thai and he convinced us to return to the Palace at a later time (2pm) because it was supposedly less crowded then. He also told us about a port that was a short tuk-tuk ride away where we could rent a long boat and tour Bangkok that way. We decided to give it a go and because it was like an unknown port each of us only paid like 400 baht and we had the boat to ourselves and they took us around the city for over an hour. What we saw ranged from extravagant temples to rundown shanty houses. We also got to see some local monks feeding giant fish as well as a huge monitor lizard that our boat driver brought to our attention ( featured below).
Once we got off the boat we walked back to the Grand Palace and it actually was less crowded ( although still very crowded).
After my first few days in Bangkok I was headed to Koh Phangan to do a week long Ashtanga retreat at the Yoga Retreat, located on the north part of the island.
I booked a bus/boat to get me there through Lomprayah. However, now that I know better I'm all about the night trains. I lost a day of travel from the bus, which didn't matter much since I was there for a month but still. Sleeping through the journey is so much better in my opinion!
Check my next post to hear all about my magical stay on Koh Phangan that included the notorious Full Moon Party~
Stay curious friends