Arriving in Bangkok – Thailand Part II
Less than a week before my trip I realized that I still hadn’t planned anything else besides booking my flight and hotel because I hadn’t found the time, so I ordered a travel guide for Bangkok via amazon. I didn’t have time to read it either but felt kind of safe just to have it. Especially because it came with a map where I could mark my hotel. Everything else could come later…
The day before my departure I was at university all day. I hadn’t packed my stuff yet and wanted to do that when I came home in the evening but first there were some last mails to write. When I was finally prepared for my trip it was 2 o’clock in the morning and I would have to get up at 5:30 to catch my bus to Kansai airport.
So I didn’t get much sleep but I managed not to oversleep and was on the bus on time. Everything went smooth at the airport, except that the lady at the check-in counter must have seen a German passport for the first time in her life… She looked at my passport like forever as if she thought it was fake. After a while she tried to read “Deu… Deuch…?” “Doitsu desu ne” (“It’s Germany”) I replied.
It was my first flight with China Airlines and just the day before I had talked with a friend who fights his fear of flying by using a service which informs him about problems on all flights so he could find out which companies often report problems and which don’t. He didn’t name China Airlines as one of those who don’t report problems that much… Luckily, I have no fear of flying. On the contrary, I usually enjoy it very much.
My first impression of the plane was that it looks a bit old and not as clean as I was used to. There was a bubble gum sticked to the seat in front of me… But this also speaks for the passenger flying before me and since its colour blended in perfectly with the plastic of the seat I thought that this is forgivable. Otherwise, I couldn’t complain about the service. The food was alright and the entertainment system up to date. I had to transfer in Taipei where I landed on time and continued my journey just a little later.
The flight from Taipei had already started delayed and there was a big bad weather front the plane had to fly around which delayed it even further. Most of the time, I was gazing out of the window. No matter how often I fly I’m still fascinated with watching the earth from above or the formations of the clouds and to watch a stormy sky out of a plane was especially exciting. I could see lightning in the clouds nearby which was really amazing
When we finally had to turn to Bangkok the plane finally got into some great turbulences. It felt like a rollercoaster ride and some people started to scream… At that time, I was listening to Leona Lewis’ “Trouble”. Oh, the irony.
Finally we landed safely, I got through the immigration procedure and got my luggage. The hotel had written on its homepage that it would be the easiest to go to the hotel by taxi and I decided to stick to that advice. I had printed the map the hotel provided as well but the taxi-driver didn’t seem happy with it. After a while he asked me if he could bring me to Khaosan road instead of the hotel because he wasn’t sure if the road of the hotel was broad enough for cars.
The taxi ride including highway fees and a surcharge, which the driver apparently was allowed to add, summed up to around 550 Baht (ca. 14 Euro) in the end. The driver told me where Khaosan road was and then I put my feet on Bangkok’s ground for the first time.
By that time, it was already dark. It was hot, but not as sticky as I expected. I was pretty exhausted and just wanted to reach the hotel as soon as possible. It took a while to orientate but finally I found my position on the map. Khaosan road looked very crowded and I thought it would be easier to walk through the parallel road which, according to the map, should lead me to the hotel too. This turned out to be a mistake…
The parallel road was narrow and dirty. Some unpleasant smells reached my nose and there were some malnourished cats. My wish to reach the hotel as soon as possible grew bigger… However, while the road I was following appeared to be just straight in my map it turned out to have some crossings so when I reached the first crossing I thought that I would have to turn left to get to my hotel. But it wasn’t there…
After some back and forth I returned to my starting point. I was thinking whether I should just walk through Khaosan road but it still seemed very bothersome and I decided to try the parallel road one more time. This time I walked past the crossing and finally, I somehow ended up near the end of Khaosan road. At least I knew that the hotel wasn’t far from there so I felt relieved.
Then a taxi driver asked me where I was going and asked me to show him my map. He pointed in the direction of my hotel. All I had to do was to cross the street and walk down a few more meters. While I was waiting for the traffic light to turn green, I was constantly asked for my goal by taxi and Tuk-Tuk drivers. At that time, I was still used to being polite and answer if someone asks me a question so I named my hotel and some drivers tried to get me on a ride even if my hotel was maybe 50 meters away…
So I was still waiting for the traffic light. And kept waiting… and waiting… By the time I started feeling stupid many people had passed me and ran over the street between cars and buses already. Being a good girl, I still thought that I should wait for the green light and after all, I surely was to slow to slip through the traffic with my luggage so I waited a little longer. I had pushed the button, hadn’t I? Yes, I had… Still no sign for changing lights. It began to dawn on me that these lights would never change. I had to look for a chance to run…
Somehow, I made it to the other side and learned my first rule for Bangkok: Traffic lights are optional! This rule was proved for validity many times during my stay and can count as being true
Finally, finally, I reached my hotel. At the reception I was told that there were no more single rooms so I was given a double room for that night. I had to change rooms on the next day and couldn’t leave the hotel until then but that was fine with me. I intended to sleep longer the next morning anyways.
The hotel did have an elevator for luggage and if you didn’t fit in your bag you had to walk the stairs. Just kidding, you had to walk anyways My room was on the 5th floor, yay! The room itself was just as I had expected and as it looked at the pictures I had seen. It was clean but the bathroom smelled a little bit like sewage. It wasn’t much though, so it was bearable.
My last mission that day was to get some food and water from the 7-Eleven across the street. I managed to pick the spiciest meal available as my friends told me later: Some fried rice with pork and basil.
It was tasty but really really spicy. After a few bites, my cheeks started to feel tingly! I had to take a few breaks in between to finish my first meal in Bangkok but no meal was as spicy afterwards. I guess it was a good primer for Thai food