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Last updated : Nov 2009
Bangkok, Thailand
Rating : (4 stars)

Feb 07, 1998 17:29

Pros: interesting place, excellent transportation, good food, friendly people, not a very expensive place, nice shopping malls
Cons: very hot temperature

After checking through customs and claiming my luggage at Bangkok, I made my way to the exit. I was amazed by how big the airport was. In the arrivals hall there is a huge T.V screen on the wall, that I stared at it in amazement. I had barely seen a normal T.V in India, and now here I am only 2½ hours away in a country that is way more advanced
than India. It's gonna take a while to adjust. On the plane I met 2 Irish travellers that are heading to the same area as me, so we decided to travel together. Instead of paying 250Baht for a taxi, we thought we would catch the local bus instead for a fraction of the price. As we stepped outside the airport it hit me. The heat was so unbearable, that I felt like I was stuck in a hot humid oven, and it was 8pm in the evening.! A 2 minute walk from the terminal we caught the no:59 bus costing me 4 Baht. (7p) The 2 hour bus ride took us through the heart of Bangkok, spending most of my time
staring out the window in amazement. There were lots of 7 Eleven's, Kentucky Fried Chickens, and McDonald's. I was really excited comparing everything to India. If you came to Thailand direct from England you would think it was fairly dirty here, but to me coming direct from India, the streets were spotlessly clean. Here, there are no holy cows roaming the streets, no one using the pavements as a toilet, no long stares, or beggars tugging on your arm. You just get left in peace.

Thailand has excellent transportation, and good food. The Thai's are very respectful and friendly people, although they hate to lose face, and can have a major evil streak in them if angered. Nevertheless I like the Thai's, and their country. Eventually we made it to Banglampoo, (the major budget backpacker area) where I headed onto the Koh San Road strip. Along this road there are about 60 hostels crammed in. The area is pretty full of backpackers, and finding a vacant room was a problem, luckily I managed to find a single room. Koh San Road is open 24 hours a day, with hostels and restaurants all showing the latest feature films.

After unloading my backpack I headed into a restaurant and ordered a large fresh cheese baguette with a pineapple iced milkshake. Mmmmm. I've been dreaming of a Thai pineapple milkshake for months, and here I am at last. It was as if I was dreaming, literally only hours ago I was in underdeveloped Calcutta. I spent the night roasting in bed under the spinning fan set on full speed. Why is it that spinning fans seems to make all the rooms feel hotter.?? Looking around the countless amounts of shopping centres was amazing. For the first few days I walked around the air conditioned centres in a daze, monging out at everything on sale. I mean I hadn't seen a proper supermarket or shopping centre in 3 months. One of the biggest complexes I came across, was the World Trade Centre which takes up a whole City block. The centre is in the heart of Bangkok, and is huge, with each of the 8 floors containing a maze of shops and restaurants. On the 8th floor is a full sized ice skating rink, and it also houses 4 big screen cinemas. The first time I walked around there I wandered around dazed for 3 hours, then walking out into the blazing unbearable heat of the evening.

The temperature in Bangkok is just too much. Daytime temperatures reach a huge 35oc, and even heading to the shade for daytime refuge would have you dripping in sweat. Going into the nearby air conditioned 7 Eleven's was great. It's so cool in there that my sunglasses steamed up everytime I walked in.!!! finally I leave the shop stepping into the blazing heat with a large coke in crushed ice. Ahhhh, Bloody great. Thailand isn't as cheap as India, but it's still excellent value. The Asian recession has hit Thailand hard, which means good news for travellers. When I last visited here, 2 years ago the currency rate was 25 Baht to the dollar. Since the collapse of the economy, I am now getting over 47 Baht to the dollar.!!!