Bangkok: Our First Impressions

So we landed into Bangkok at 2AM last night after a gruelling 20 hour trip from Vancouver (glad that’s over).

Let me tell you, it’s nice to be in warm weather again!

I’m loving being in shorts and a shirt again, sweating just a little bit 🙂 I haven’t been to Bangkok for a good 6 years, so haven’t felt comfortable writing about it since starting the blog. Now I feel like I can!

We spent today wandering around Bangkok, we had a few fun experiences already so I wanted to drum up a quick post and share impressions and things from our first day here.

shrine

We left the hotel that we had splashed out on (just for 2 nights – then it’s back to hostels!) and crossed the street to catch a public bus to “Victory Monument”. We thought this might be a nice area to walk around and get a feeling for Bangkok.

We weren’t sure which bus to catch but an old man with decent English pointed us in the right direction. The bus ride was warm and relaxing and the streets flew by as traffic swarmed around us. I think the ticket vendor was sitting down and having a break because no-one offered to sell us tickets – it didn’t look like anyone getting on was buying tickets. Did we catch the free bus? Oh well, a bus ticket is only 8 baht anyways.

Public Bus Trip in Bangkok

On the way I figured out some rough Aussie Dollar to Thai Baht conversions to store in my head for the upcoming excursion. I like to know how much my food snacks cost me.

30 Baht = $1
150 Baht = $5
500 Baht = $16
1000 Baht = $33

The bus ride ended and we leapt off. I couldn’t see any other foreigners (farangs) about but I could see the Victory Monument, and all around it was street-side markets and a Thai shopping mall.

Victory Monument in Bangkok

We definitely stuck out like a sore thumb, and to top it off I dropped 60 Baht out of my pocket, an old woman picked it up, tapped me on the shoulder as I was walking off, and gave it all back to me with a smile. Welcome to Thailand 😀

Tom at the Bangkok Monument Shopping Mall

We dropped into the Siam Bank to exchange some 1000 Baht notes for 100’s. The smiles continued there as one woman brought her baby over to see the white farangs.

“Sawadee Krap” I said.
“Sawadee Ka” Trudy said.
“… …” said the baby.

He was still clearly in shock from the strange looking people suddenly in front of him.

After getting some smaller notes our rumbling bellies informed us it was time to find lunch. We found a street with side-alley food stalls sprouting off the sides, serving up noodle broths and stir fries.

At one, we struggled to explain Trudy was vegetarian, they waved us off to another stall further down the road – better luck there his grin seemed to say.

Another food stall with plastic seats was busy with locals. It looked good to us. The woman serving up the noodle soups called a family member over who spoke English (we were still figuring out how to say “no-meat” for Trudy).

She was lovely and explained what Trudy was after. I opted for the beef and pork ball soup. Trudy had what I had minus the meat. It was awesome. And guess what? Our meals were only 25 Baht each! Kaching!

Noodle Soup in Bangkok

As I was eating I watched the large Thai man opposite us whack about 3 huge spoons of sugar into his soup and a tonne of chilli. He was still sweating it out when we left.

Random coincidence for the day? The baby we saw in the bank made another appearance (his family must eat at the same place), this time I gave him a high 5. Pretty sure we’re best mates now.

Next stop? Traditional Thai massage of course. For 1 whole hour the cost was 180 Baht. That’s $6. Amaze-balls.

I find authentic Thai massages to be 70% enjoyable and 30% discomfit. They sure know how to get their elbows right up in your leg and back in painful ways. Still, you feel great afterwards.

After deciding to walk back to the hotel, meandering and browsing at shops and food stalls as we go, we came across this smiling lady.

Girl in Bangkok with Thai Fairy Floss

Her and her husband were making savoury pancakes that you fill with sugar strands, roll up and ate. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. Their signs were all in Thai, but they were happy to give us a taste and even posed for photos. I have no idea what the stuff is called, but I dubbed it “Hairy Floss”.

How much did a bag of hairy floss and pancakes set us back? Oh, only 30 Baht.

We found a park to roll up our Hairy Floss pancakes and enjoy the sun.

making hairy floss

Then it was off walking again, attempting to remember and follow the public bus route that got us here. Of course, we got lost. After a while of walking, we finally had to admit defeat in front of a huge building with security milling about titled “Toyota Thailand”. Not the most touristy spot in the world.

Two taxis waved down later, neither of which could take us as we only had our hotel written in English, we sought help from the Toyota Thailand security lads, they may not have been as smiley as the Hairy Floss couple – but just like the rest of the day, they were more than happy to help.

One of them jogged into the main building and got a staff member there to write up the address in Thai. Go Toyota!

The next taxi driver was happy to take us, but still had no idea where to go. A mobile phone call later from him and some haphazard direction guessing from us we rocked up back at the hotel.

We finished the night at the nearby Retro Cafe with some Thai stirfries and some mighty big Changs on ice.

retro cafe

Thanks for the warm welcome Bangkok. Now we just need to get our visas to Myanmar organised tomorrow and we can explore you properly!

bangkok powerlines

10 Responses to “Bangkok: Our First Impressions”

  1. Your trip sounds similar to ours! Half the times we caught the bus in Bangkok it was free too, not sure if we were suppose to pay…no one asked us to. We loved loved pork ball noodle soup! Also who can pass up the cheap massages!!!

    Hannah @GettingStamped

  2. Vera says:

    Proper first Bangkok day, innit:)? I was nodding and laughing while reading your post – just stopped when you wrote about the massages: I STILL haven’t had one!! I’m wondering if it’s best to completely leave it, because if I have one now, and it’s really, really good, then I’m gonna be quite grumpy about not having had one on a regular basis throughout the holiday… Naah, gotta have one. Argh. Anyway: sawadee-kah in Thailand, and enjoy muchos!! 🙂

    • Tom says:

      Thanks Vera 🙂 The massages are great – definitely get one before you go, they can be pretty full on sometimes but you feel great afterwards (that’s what counts, right?) 😀 Hope you guys enjoy your last days here!!

  3. Peter Lee says:

    I am also agree about local transport of Bangkok. This is really a fun. Bangkok is well known for its street food and no other city contains street food like Bangkok.

  4. Mélanie Carrières says:

    I loved reading your first-day adventure ! Sounds like so much fun. Reminds me of my trip to Thailand like… what… 15 years ago ! Hope you still have lots of fun. I am sure you wil 🙂 Mélanie 🙂

  5. Mathew Duong says:

    Nice trip. Hope you will visit my country, Vietnam in the near future. It is really worth trying.

  6. Sri Lanka says:

    beautifull bangkok…Nice ahhh.

  7. I got to visit Bangkok last month (not too far from Hanoi) and through recommendations on Tripadvisor, I did the tour and really loved it because I could see parts of Bangkok. Bangkok has their specialties and lots of places to see such flower markets and many temples on the way.

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