A metro train in the Ratchadamri district of Bangkok, Thailand

Observations From a Crazy First Week in Bangkok

Observations from visiting Bangkok during Songkran — the Thai New Years festival

  • bangkok-metro-train-downtown-thailand-adventuresofagoodman
    A skyscraper in downtown Bangkok, Thailand

    Not sure what we did to deserve it, but our flight from Sri Lanka to Chennai (the first of 3 flights to get to Bangkok) was upgraded to first class. It was awesome!

  • While most threw water with no regard for what other people were carrying, the mother outside The Overstay told her kids “not the camera.”
  • We saw more black people (I won’t use the PC “African American” because we have no idea where they were from) in Bangkok during Songkran than we have seen since leaving the states.
  • It was shocking how little English people spoke in the capital of Thailand. Sure, we assumed in more rural areas we might have to rely on pantomime to get by, but barely anyone in Bangkok could understand us.
  • Considering the size, Bangkok is a very clean city.
  • Also considering its size, we saw very few beggars in Bangkok
  • Internet cafes are filled with kids and teens playing online games: especially World of Warcraft. There are even special cafe rates for games vs normal surfing.
  • Any location with air conditioning is my best friend.
  • Bangkok Office Depot
    Sitting on the floor of Office Depot packing up a box to send home

    When the post office did not have packing supplies or boxes big enough to ship we went to the Office Depot next door. There we found an empty box in an aisle and grabbed some packing tape and brown butcher paper and proceeded to sit on the floor of the store wrapping, packing and taping up our package.

    Employees walked by and gave us funny looks but said nothing.In reality, we could have put anything from the shelves and shipped it home and for that reason we bet that what we did would never have happened back home. When we went to the register we just handed her the torn UPC codes from the tape and paper, paid and headed back to the post office.

  • Apparently my skin does not like to be covered in sweat for five days straight, as after our time at the Overstay I broke out with hundreds of pimples all over my legs. When I went to the pharmacy to get something to help they prescribed me an oil for diaper rash…which did nothing. What eventually worked was a week of AC, scuba diving and relaxation.
  • I sometimes wish I liked seafood, as it’s everywhere.
  • Historic buildings in downtown Bangkok, Thailand
    Historic buildings in downtown Bangkok, Thailand

    It’s tough to get off the tourist path in Thailand.

  • On a few occasions, including at the hellhole known as the Overstay, we have actually had wireless in our room.
  • It’s so hot out that even my palms sweat.
  • Even the government train ticket office wants a piece of the tourism money and charges a markup on a bus ticket when purchased to complete a train-bus journey. Of course, we didn’t find out until we were on the actual bus.
  • A ladyboy cabaret in Bangkok, Thailand
    A ladyboy cabaret in Bangkok, Thailand

    It may not be India, but we have had one long distance train so far and one two hour delay.

  • Carrie and I are constantly pushing the limits of stinky clothing in an effort to go as long as possible without doing laundry. This worked much better in the beginning of the trip when it was still cool out.
  • We saw a gecko hold onto the side of a bus going 85 kph.
  • While waiting for a tourist bus I overheard a man trying to make a point to a bus employee say “You joke with other people. I’m Russian. You don’t joke with the Russians.” In reality, he was German, but he uses that line often because, according to him, Thais are afraid of Russians due to the large Russian mafia in Bangkok.
  • A funny anecdote from back on the Andaman Islands, where we were hanging out with a few Israeli girls: one of which lived in Florida for a while. She was amazed, shocked and appalled at the way American strangers dance with each other at bars and clubs. She said, “basically the man comes up behind the woman and begins to dance with her and essentially humps her from behind. If she approves, they keep dancing. If she doesn’t want to dance, she turns around, does a little shimmy and moves on to the next man waiting to come up behind her. It’s simply amazing and something you have to see to believe.”
  • The best pad thai I had was from a little old woman with a street stall who we visited at 3am on two successive nights. She made it from scratch in 5.5 minutes and wow…was it good! Check out the video.

Finally, a parting video…the pedestrian crossing signals in Bangkok totally walk. Check it out!