Saturday 29 June 2013

A Journey to Bangkok

If there's one thing I enjoy, it's travelling. Studying abroad in Amsterdam for a year has given me the opportunity to travel. In this academic year alone, I've been to Belgium, France, Switzerland, Thailand, Malaysia and I'll be going to Abu Dhabi in a few days time for a 21 hour stopover. So if you haven't guessed it already, this post is on my experience in Bangkok! 

On first impression, on my taxi ride to Samsen Road (the road of which we stayed) from the airport, Thailand was not what I expected. From the photos of others, and on the internet, I was expecting something that looked a little less western. A little less western, is exactly what I got, when we arrived at Samsen Road. A bit taken aback by my surroundings, I yearned to see what more Thailand had to offer.

Samsen Road

Transport around the city was amazing, I loved the concept of the 'tuk tuk' (picture below). If you go to Thailand this is definitely something you don't want to miss!!! You have to haggle to get a fair price because they will bump you. The only downside of the 'tuk tuk' was the the drivers constant need to take us 'shopping' as they like to call it, in order for them to get free petrol coupons. The first time it was okay, but walking around expensive jewellery shops and sitting with tailors gets a little tired, especially when you have no intention of buying anything. We had a driver ditch us in the middle of nowhere because we refused to do more shopping, in hindsight we'll look back and laugh but at the time it was far from funny! Another downside of the tuk tuk was the air pollution... I found myself struggling to breathe at times. I guess that was two downsides but hey. We also travelled by regular taxi and by the sky train when we went to Sukhumvit. The sky train was very modern, arguably better than most equivalents in Europe!

tuk tuk

Activity wise, bangkok doesn't have an excessive amount to offer but don't let this hold you back, there are many excursions from the city. Near our hotel we visited the temples, went to the markets, went to a club and so on. Not selling it to you? Sorry, that's how I felt. As interesting as temples are, you can literally see them all in one day. After realising there wasn't much to do we branched out. We spent a day at the floating market, and elephant trekking. Elephant trekking? as great as it sounds, it really opened my eyes to animal abuse.... please when you go to Thailand do not do it. The poor animals are tortured to cooperate, the employees are not discrete about their methods either, each were equipped with a sword or axe to 'control' the elephant if they 'misbehaved' on the trek. Honestly, I felt awful afterwards. *clears throat* On a brighter note, we travelled to Sukhumvit on two nights, definitely a highlight of the trip. It was more built up, the shopping mall and amazing shops where the clothes were handmade. The clubs and bars were awesome! In 'XYZ bar' we got 2 free drink tokens on entrance and a man who I assume to be the manager told me I could have 6 more drinks for my friends and I, if I continue to dance and tell my friends to dance as well. Lets just say by the end of the night we were given 2 free shots, and 5 tokens for cocktails all for free... even without drinking it all I was still busted the next day... drink responsibly guys lol! 'Levels' nightclub in Sukhumvit Soi 11, was also a great night out, Did I mention it was on the rooftop? I wish I had pictures to show you but they wouldn't let me bring my camera in -_______-.

me in Sukhumvit
an outside bar
floating market 
sad baby elephant tied up :(
temple (don't remember the name..oops)
At this point some of you are probably wondering, where the section on food is right? Of course I wasn't going to leave this out. Thailand has a lot of street food, you can get anything from noodles to Scorpions. Personally, I steered away from the streetfood because I have a sensitive stomach and the hygiene just wasn't up to scratch... my friends on the other hand loved what they tried. Thai food in Thailand does not taste like thai food in the U.K, if it wasn't for the food being so cheap and me having the ability to stuff my face, I would have been disappointed. If you're a non-egg-eater like myself, be prepared to ask if the food has egg, they literally put egg in everything! My favourite restaurant that we tried was 'Soul Food Mahanakorn' in Sukhumvit... despite the misleading title it serves mouth watering Thai food... should I add that the restaurant is owned by an American? 

Green Curry in China Town
garlic prawns, noodles and chicken wings from a restaurant on Khaoson road which was just Blah!!!
Rice and Ribs from 'Soul Food' 
'Chicken curry from 'Soul Food' 
chicken wings from 'Soul Food'
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my 8/9 days in Thailand. Although, I'm not booking my next visit, I loved the experience. If there's one thing I want add, we attracted A LOT of attention being 3 black females in Thailand... it was a little ridiculous, people were whipping out their cameras to photograph us... Not cool!!! 

ps. Stay tuned for my post on Malaysia ;).

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