After a grueling 16 hour journey from Pai to Bangkok, all I wanted was a bed. It was about 7 AM and Khaosan Road was just beginning to wake up. I wandered into a large guesthouse and walked right out when I saw the rates for the night. I strolled next door to “Mom Guesthouse” (SUCH a creative name for a hostel…) and agreed on a private room for 350 Baht (about $11). I was not happy with the rude staff, jail-like room with no windows or rock hard bed but at that point I could have slept on a piece of plywood so I sucked it up for one night. I napped for about two hours and began my 24 hours in this bustling city!
Before I get into my amazing Bangkok adventure, I think it’s important to let my readers know I am back to being a solo wanderer. As with most things in life, things change, people change and plans change – usually without our permission. Although this was never part of my “plan,” I am a firm believer that our lives are defined by our actions and reactions. This bump in the road could have led me in several different directions. I know this is all part of a bigger plan for me, which is why I have decided to continue my travels solo. This decision has brought about many emotions for me and those who are close to me but I refuse to give up on my passion to travel just because things didn’t go my way. The show must go on!
So, here I am in one of the craziest cities in the world without a clue as to where I should begin. I was strolling around Khaosan Road when a Thai man approached me wondering where I was headed. I usually ignore these people with a cordial smile but for some reason I stuck around for his speel. He gave me a list of five places to visit in Bangkok, grabbed me a tuk tuk and I was on my way. As I approached The Lucky Buddha, one of the workers explained to me the sight was closing but he would allow me to go in and take a quick look. We began to connect when I told him I was from New York as he had just taken a trip to New York and absolutely loved it. He also gave me a list of places to visit. After seeing the beautiful Lucky Buddha, my tuk tuk took (haha) me to a custom-made suit shop. Yes, they tried to sell me everything. A polite, “No thank you” is all it took to get them to leave me alone. I’m sure my dirty jean shorts, flip flops and sweaty tee were a dead giveaway that I was not looking for a custom made suit anyway..
My adventure around Bangkok continued as I climbed the 400 steps up the Golden Mountain, which is a temple that overlooks all of Bangkok. What a beautiful sight!
I spent the evening on Khaosan Road, wandering around the night market eating more amazing Thai food and bargaining (or attempting to do so) with the vendors.
My dad is a pastor for the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Lafayette, NY and he actually knew of a pastor who was currently living and preaching in Bangkok. So the following day I grabbed a taxi for 250 Baht ($7.75) and made my way to the other side of town. I’ve got to say, it was refreshing to see so many Westerners in one place.
After church I found a Starbucks (Yes, they have those here!) and relaxed for a while. As I walked out another Thai man approached me asking where I was going. I told him and he spent the next 10 minutes explaining how to use the local transportation instead of a taxi. In his very broken English, he told me where to find the local bus, which bus to get on and, “Taxi too expensive, take bus!” So, I did just that! I hopped on bus number 22 and made my way back to my guesthouse. I’m more than sure every Thai person on that bus laughed as they saw a tall, blonde white girl trying to get around like a local. But that’s okay, I spent a whopping 7 Baht ($0.22) to get back =)
I had to be checked out of my room by 11AM so when I returned I didn’t really have any place to go until 6PM that night when my bus would be picking me up. So what did I do? I did what any American would do – found a McDonalds and took a little napski in the booth! Hey, you can’t go wrong with an ice cream cone and free WiFi.
I patiently waited, okay maybe not so patiently waited for my bus to pick me up at my guesthouse. They were supposed to be there at 6PM. When 6:01 rolled around and they weren’t there yet, I immediately panicked and thought for sure they had forgotten about me. I grabbed my ticket and called the emergency contact number. Silly me, they were right around the corner. The next 16 hours consisted of a VIP bus ride, being dropped off in the middle of nowhere at 2:30am, songthaew rides, feisty french people, a fight with a Burmese man and a four hour ferry to the beautiful island of Koh Tao. I’d say my week in the Thai islands was off to a good start =)
And I leave you with this, which has given me incredible inspiration over the past few days-