Bangkok

Right strap yourselves in this may be a long one! We arrived in Bangkok around 6pm local time on Thursday the 8th. We passed quickly through security (another stamp for the passport) and gathered our bags, luckily no long wait for me this time and headed to our hostel. At this point, I still felt a little rough but seemed to have more energy than the day before. We, therefore, headed out for a bite to eat and a quick exploration of nearby Koh San Road. Koh San Road is mental by the way but more on this later. The boys started ordering in the big bottles of Chang, but I played it sensibly and stuck to my Sprite. After a little while chilling with the lads I decided to call it an early night and headed back to bed. On the way back to the hostel I even bumped into a friend from university (Leah) who I knew was in Bangkok but was still crazy to walk right into her. Another one for my list of crazy places I’ve met people I know, small world.

The next day I awoke and still didn’t feel right (by now I had determined I had tonsillitis) I therefore made the decision to stay in bed all day to try and get over it as quickly as possible. I told the lads not to bother waiting around for me and to go do what they wanted. However, due to a combination of the weather being bad, them needing a day chilling themselves plus the fact they need me to organise everything for them they just chilled around the hostel all day too. That evening while in the hostel dorm, the door into our dormitory was playing up for some reason and wouldn’t close properly. Then a Canadian girl who had arrived decided to slam the door shut, at this point I was pretty pleased she did so as it kept the room cool from the AC and kept the mosquitos out. It wasn’t until about 30 mins later when I needed the toilet that I released she had slammed it shut and thus made it impossible to open. So, there we were both trapped in the hostel room, although if there is ever a way to get to know someone it’s being trapped in a room with them for a while. Luckily, I managed to bust the door open after about 10 minutes using my pen knife (glad I brought this from Amazon) and told the guy at reception. He then proceeded to not believe me when I said don’t shut it as it gets stuck, thus trapping the 3 of us again. Once again, after 5 minutes I managed to free us whereby we then proceeded to remove the lock completely to stop it from happening again. Although it does now mean I can add professional locksmith to my CV.

After another night’s good sleep, well good for the most part other than the boy coming in drunk again from Koh San road I awoke on Saturday feeling more refreshed after my day of rest. I was awoken rather abruptly however due to a massive street procession that was moving past the hostel with music and firecrackers being set off. Quickly we ran outside to join in with all the commotion. Apparently, it was a large Buddhist festival that was occurring all day. After being rudely awoken, but very much grateful for the show we decided to head out and explore Bangkok. We headed for the royal palace first but unfortunately were unable to enter due to unsuitable attire. Now we knew we needed to cover our shoulders and legs, so therefore I wore my proper dad trousers which convert to shorts via a zip, so I was fine. The rest of the boys opted to purchase sarongs by the temple to cover their legs which had worked previously. The woman flogging us the clobber did say we won’t be able to get in you need to buy the pants, but we just assumed she wanted to get more money from us. Turns out she was right, and men aren’t allowed to wear sarongs around their legs, yet women are. So, therefore, although I could have got in I didn’t fancy it alone and we deceived to move on. (It looked packed full of Chinese tourists anyway). We, therefore, made our way to the temple housing the reclining Buddha. Here we were successfully allowed in wearing our sarongs. The temple complex was massive and had loads of interesting building with many unique features. There also seemed to be lots of stages and shows going on within the temple ground likely a result of the Buddhist festival responsible for the morning’s commotion. We eventually made our way to the large golden reclining Buddha which was very much a spectacle but housed within a very crowded room. The Buddhist temples here was far more impressive than the one in the Cameron Highlands. After being all templed out and also sweating our tits off, (Bangkok is a strange kind of heat, it doesn’t necessarily feel really hot or humid, but you just seem to sweat absolute buckets!) We headed back toward the hostel. During the walk back, Ollie once again proceeded to shit himself, but this time along with Fred. As we were walking past some kind of construction site on the way back a digger with a pneumonic drill attachment started carving out concert right next to where we were walking. Consequently, Ollie and Fred jump a mile, like what occurred when the lightning bolt struck. I, on the other hand, continued to stroll nonchalantly past like nothing had happened simply laughing at the pair of them.

When we got back to the hostel Fred and I decided we wanted a massage, we therefore headed to the massage parlour across the road (they are everywhere) and for 150 baht about £3 we both got a 30-minute back neck and shoulder massage. Although in reality, it was a full body massage. It was such a funny experience, made even funnier by the fact me Fred were laid right next to one another. We would both crack up when either one of us made noises due to the pressure being applied by the masseuse. Things only got funnier when either one of us would look across to the other and see the crazy positions we were in. At one point masseuse had me in some crazy head lock position before twisting me one way then the other with my back cracking about 500 times. Fred proceeded to open his eye look at me, piss himself laughing and then say “cor was that you” to which I mustered a painful but also relieving “yeah”. A few moments later Fred burst out laughing again, he later described what he saw as the woman basically planking on top of me while I was sat upright. Overall as well as being very funny, the massage was actually pretty good and relaxing, even if a little uncomfortable and painful at times. I know what you’re all thinking, was there any happy endings, don’t worry we weren’t offered the service and would of declined anyway, I think its more a case of enquiring first rather than them being handed out (no pun intended)! Due to the massage being such good value for money we headed back a few days later, this time with Ollie in toe, quite literally to have a foot and leg massage. This time was equally as funny with all 3 of us laying side by side and jumping whenever our feet got ticklish.

Once again, the boys headed out for a night on Koh San while I although feeling better was still not 100% and headed for bed. Sunday, we decided to make our way to Chatuchuck weekend market. The place was massive and like a maze full of lots of stalls sealing everything you could imagine. The market was broken up into section whereby each section was dedicated to selling different things. There were also numerous food stalls where I tried durian ice cream. Now those who don’t know durian is a fruit famous in south-east Asia for being really smelly and I can confirm it doesn’t smell good, although it’s not as bad as you’d think. I decided to try the ice cream flavour seeing as the fruit itself can be expensive. However, I don’t think I will be trying much more as it was rather grim. I wouldn’t say it was horrible and if I really had to eat it I probably could of, but I won’t be ordering it again. I also managed to buy a sick bucket hat, having lost my previous cap in the taxi from the airport, and also lost a game of odds on (basically a stupid game we play daring each other to do stuff) to buy a big bar of penis shaped soap!

That night having promised the boys I was better I finally headed out for a proper night on Koh San Road, we had a few Chang beers listening to some great live music in a bar and had a vodka and mango bucket. Koh San road is a crazy place with loads of bars pumping out music, shops selling typical backpacker attire such as Chang vests and the elephant pants and well as street food merchants. You also get stopped every 40m or so and hear “pop, pop, ping pong show” which anyone well versed in Thailand will know what that entails (don’t worry mum we didn’t go to one). In addition to the normal street food, which might I add is amazing in Bangkok, we also saw people selling friend scorpion and other insects. Now I will try some of these delicacies, but I don’t think Koh San Road is really the place to do it, I would rather go somewhere a bit more authentic.

Monday morning came around and we were due to move north but decided to stay an extra day in Bangkok. We had some breakfast at our usual spot which is this amazing little restaurant which sells fried pork and rice. It’s so simple but once again so good, often the case with the simple dishes. Also, for the price of 50 Baht (£1.10), you can’t go wrong. While on the subject of food, the food in Bangkok has been really good whether from street vendors or little restaurants. We have eaten very well, for example, dishes such as pad Thai, Thai green curry, noodle soup dishes it’s all been very good and also very cheap. After breakfast, we headed to the Golden Mount of Bangkok which is another temple but has far reaching views of the city after ascending the 344 steps. The views were great plus it was also good fun smashing the large gong that was present with a massive hammer. After the temple, we took a tuk-tuk ride to Chinatown. Now, this was a bit of squeeze getting 4 of us in but was equally good fun. The only downside was all the fumes you seemed to inhale, and my lungs felt dirty come the end of the ride. It probably didn’t help travelling to Chinatown which also seemed very polluted. It is probably the only downside I found to the city is the air quality. I’m looking forward to some fresh air out in the countryside. Chinatown was as you would expect, and we once again had some nice lunch here.

Come Monday night we were all rather worn out and had an early night seeing as we had an early bus ride north this morning. That brings us to the here and now as we are currently 2 hours into the 8-hour journey from Bangkok to Sukhothai, the former capital of Thailand. We shall be staying here tonight (Tuesday the 13th) and tomorrow night before heading even further north to Chiang Mai arriving there on the 15th. Although the bus journey seems long, the bus is very spacious and comfortable. We were even given food of rice and chicken once we departed, which we were all very happy about seeing as we hadn’t eaten breakfast. I’m glad to be fully back to full health and am looking forward to exploring Thailand outside of Bangkok. Let’s hope this bus ride isn’t too tedious and I shall update you all again in the coming days.

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