So we have arrived in Bangkok, literally no idea what to expect…armed with no map, no idea of costs and no real sense of how people get around.
Much of the issues we faced could’ve been avoided if we just booked a Bangkok hotel online. I looked into some of the online options after this crazy adventure, and I’ve gotta say I was kicking myself when I saw how easy it would’ve been to get a hotel. Just check out a site like Expedia, for example, they let you know about pretty much every hotel in the world, and from there you can just choose one that’s close to the airport, or maybe one that’s a bit further from the airport but less expensive. Ultimately this is your call, but just make sure you’re prepared!
So the first thing we did on our arrival at the airport (Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) – Public Transport Info) was buy a couple of bottles of water, 45 baht each was the going rate for one bottle of Evian. This is roughly one pound GBP so with respects to airport prices this was not bad! I remember thinking that it was very cool in the airport so after the 11 hour flight from Heathrow (I would check SkyScanner for best prices! – that’s where we found our flight.) this was a very welcoming temperature. It soon became evident when we stepped outside with our bags and luggage trolley that it was in actual fact 32 degrees, humid as hell and an instantaneous sweat had covered my entire body. This didn’t really bother either of us though as we were both elated at the prospect of finally arriving in a country we had longed to be in. Game on!
We walked maybe 1000 yards before a Thai chap walked with us after having just finished work and helped us with some useful suggestions of where we could chill for the night. He sat at the bus stop with us and we mentioned to him Khaosan Road which is where somebody named Tom had told me about in Corfu the previous week. The guy (whose name I can’t for the life of me remember) gave us a loose drawing of where to go, the number of the bus which was 59, and a wedge of banter which was pretty hilarious. He also tried to make Scotty flirt with the girl sitting next to him and he of course bottled it! :). After an hour of sitting at the bus stop at peak hour 16:30 we were joined by two other more experienced travellers named Neil (South African) and Amanda (Aussie) and had some general banter with them. So only an hour off the tram and 3 newbies met, was this the norm? Apparently so. Amanda flagged down the next bus which came along and of course it wasn’t the 59 haha, it was the 135 and in her best Thai she got us on there so we instantly thought, ‘lucky bastards’ and ‘what a legend’. The bus was very old school and had a fan attached to the roof which operated in a circular motion blowing warm air around but to be fair was much better than no fan at all! The bus trip was around 45 minutes but this was all due to the rush hour, and it was our first experience of mental scooters and motorbikes quite literally driving on the pavements, both side of the bus, and probably even on the bus if they wanted to. All very crazy but absolutely cracking to watch.
The smells were another interesting experience and could range from urine, smog, chicken, rice, sweet confectionery right through to cheese, sweat, various meats and more smog. A real blast on the old nose especially if you have one the size of mine :).