Bangkok – first impressions

21 Jan

We came to Bangkok last Friday and so far our backpacking adventure has been flashpacking – the only 'backpacking' about it has been that our stuff is in rucksacks.

Bangkok is sensory overload, which explains why this update – telling you that we have arrived and are absolutely loving this travel already – is slightly delayed. Taking the time to draft up our thoughts means popping our eyes back into their sockets for a while and not seeing yet another layer of this bustling 8 million-people strong city. But now, next to the rooftop pool of our 23 euro a night hotel it's finally about time to rub it in and say hi to everyone!

Bangkok is rumoured to be a complete chaos. We wouldn't know. We spent the weekend with Ton, my Thai brother in law. Five lanes of honking drivers of tuk-tuks, cars and mopeds – each treating said five lanes as their real life car video game – becomes a relaxed tourist attraction when your driver seems like calmness itself. Most tripadvisor hotel reviews say you need to get a room not facing the road in order to be able to sleep. We woke up to bird chirping and the odd chicken. Sightseeing these days has been a breeze – it's been a luxery city weekend with superb local guides who drove us from place to place and from restaurant to restaurant in an airconditioned car. When the weekend didn't seem able to get any better, Ton announced that his mum would come over on the Sunday morning to treat us to breakfast (read: five-course dinner, including green chicken curry, barbequed pork and grilled fish). (After this trip, going back to cereals will be tough!)

Now, where can I begin to describe this city? So far Bangkok is 34 degrees, having to shield one's eyes from the sun though not getting burnt because of pollution which shrouds far away buildings in what appears to be fog. It's a city where food is everywhere – varying from dirt-cheap street food in stalls lining every street corner to superb restaurants and food courts in glitzy malls putting the ones in London and New York to shame. It's a cost level so low that we're having five courses for each meal and have preemptively started to walk all stairs we see in order to not get obscenely fat while in Asia.

It's a city where you would not like to live, but not like to leave either.

All photos above from Chinatown.

The Gulf of Thailand is a mere 20 minutes away in Ton's airconditioned car.


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