Bangkok, Thailand

March 23
We took a tuk tuk to the Chiang Mai airport, which was only 5 minutes from the city center. This is the only airport I have ever been to that is walking distance from the main city center. Our hostel tried to charge us $12 for a taxi to the airport, but we just walked outside and flagged down a tuk tuk for $3. We took the hour long flight to Bangkok and then an hour taxi from the airport to our hostel. The hostel was called Lub D Silom. It was a European style hostel with many dorm rooms, a bar, and a lot of amenities right in the hostel. We checked in and went to get lunch. There were a lot of places to eat around us but we weren’t prepared for the fact that Bangkok is a real city and is more expensive. We found a place that was reasonably priced and just ate there. We then wanted to go to the Sunday Market so we took the above ground metro all the way to the north of the city from the south. This market was so cool. It was our favorite market of the entire trip. It was so big, you get lost and forget which direction is out. There were tens of thousands of shops and many of them sold different types of things, so it wasn’t like many markets where vendors sell the same ten things. We walked around for hours and bought some random things, like khaki shorts, a backpack, a Mickey Mouse tshirt, and iphone cord, and soft nice shirts. Around 6:00 pm, the shops began to close so we took the metro to Siam Square, which is Bangkok’s equivalent of Times Square. It was the main busy shopping area that had a lot of bright signs and big billboards. We went to Hard Rock Cafe and got our fix of good western burgers. It was our third time and I don’t regret it. There was a local battle of the bands while we were there, so we got to see the end of that. Once we left, we were pretty exhausted and didn’t know what else to do, but we passed a movie theatre that was playing a movie, Divergent. Matt remembered hearing something about it, so we decided to go see it for $3 each in a really nice theatre. We found out after that Bangkok is known for its luxury movie experiences. For $60-$90 you can get a bed to watch a movie in a theatre instead of a seat, and you get a free foot massage during the movie, some free drinks, and free food. We didn’t do that but it’s pretty cool that it exists here. The movie was amazing. It was so good and to us it seemed like the new Hunger Games quality. After the movie, we flagged down a tuk tuk, bargained from unrealistic amounts to a lower amount that is still a rip off as usual and then went back to our hostel to sleep. I like Bangkok so far.

March 24
We woke up early to walk to the Myanmar embassy. We are flying to Myanmar on March 27 so we need a visa ASAP. We walked about ten minutes to the embassy and waited in line for it to open at 9:00 am. We waited for about an hour for it to open and as we waited, we filled out the application form. We also needed to bring our flight tickets, a hotel confirmation, a passport photo copy and two passport photos. The doors open and we all walked it. It was chaotic but fairly organized. We got to the front counter after about 20 minutes and the lady took a look at our applications and made sure we had everything required for a visa. She then gave us a number and we sat down. We were soon called to another counter where we had the option of paying $25-$50 for the visa depending on if we wanted it today, tomorrow, or the next day. We chose the two days from now option because it was cheapest and we were in Bangkok until then anyway. We handed everything over, got a receipt, and were told to come back in two days between 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm to pick them up. We then walked to the river, which was further than we were expecting. We were hungry and tired so we stopped at a cafe for a rest. We then took a local ferry up the river for very cheap. The guy at the counter tried to convince us that it was the equivalent of $90 to take the ferry. We just didn’t pay him. Some people are so dumb here. Just because we aren’t from here doesn’t mean we are stupid. It ended up being around $.75 each for a ticket that we purchased once we got on the ferry. Why don’t people like that at least try to say something that may sound convincing, like $5 or even $10? Some people here are just so bad at scamming. We took the ferry up the river to the area with all of the temples and stuff. At one point we had to switch ferries because our engine was overheating and seemed very unstable. We walked to Kao Sahn Road for lunch and ate on street next to it. Kao Sahn Road is the backpacker street of Bangkok and is the main road for travelers to get their fix of backpackers bars, clubs, shops and restaurants. When we first arrived in Bangkok three months ago, we didn’t like this road, but coming back, I enjoyed the fact that it was a one stop shop for everything backpackers wanted. We walked around and hung out for a while. We got beers at a place that we first got beers three months ago to start our Southeast Asia loop. We now had a beer at the same place to end our journey of the loop we have just traveled. It was the first time all trip that we went back to a city that we already left and it was a weird comfortable feeling. We walked around the area surrounding the road, like some temples and a giant swing that used to be used each year during a festival, but people kept falling off and dying so they don’t allow it’s use anymore. We wanted to go the the Grand Palace, but it was closed today, so we decided to come back either tomorrow or the next day. We took a taxi around some protests that are still taking place. It takes longer to get from one side of the city to the other because people are set up on some central streets for the protests that are still taking place. I thought they were done, but I guess not. Two days after we left Bangkok, apparently a huge protest took place and all traffic in the city was disrupted for hours and hours. It seemed like a huge group, nothing violent has happened though for two months or so. We got back to our hostel, showered and rested. We then took the metro to Soi Cowboy. It was a road that started out as one cowboy western bar, but now turned into a red light district with a combo of chill bars, strip clubs, and lady boy bars. We ate at one of the chill bars and grabbed some beers at another. It was cool to see and walk down with all of the lights and atmosphere, but it wasn’t our scene. We walked to another bar area pretty close and on the way, we happened to run into this girl we met in Luang Prabang bowling from Baltimore. She was super chill and really nice. She was actually going to the same street that we were going to because she had a hotel on that street. We talked to her for the entire walk and found out that she was going to Myanmar soon too. It’s always fun to talk to people who are going to the same places that we are going to so we can talk about what we know there is to do there. We parted ways once we got to the street. Matt and I went to an outdoor bar where street performers were flipping around right next to it. We watched them while drinking some beers and then we got another drink and some food at a Spanish Tapas bar. I had patatas bravas and Matt had olivas. We took a taxi back to our hostel and were going to figure out what to do for the rest of the night, when we ran into our friend, again, for the fifth time this trip! We met this girl, Marianna, in Koh Tao the second week of our trip. Two weeks later, we saw her in Kuala Lumpur. Two weeks after that, we saw her on a side street in Bali. It was so crazy! Then, we finally got her Facebook and kept in touch. We happened to be in Ho Chi Minh City three weeks later at the same time, so we planned a meet up there. After that, our itineraries didn’t match up, so we didn’t think we would see each other again, until right now, she happened to be in the hallway outside our dorm room when Matt walked out and all I heard from inside the room was a familiar British voice saying, “No…F***ing…Way!!!” It couldn’t be and yet it was. We saw her again! She said she was going to Koh Sahn Road with her friend from New Zealand, so obviously we tagged along. We took a taxi and went to an outdoor bar. We got a huge beer tower and all got a little drunk. We then went to about bar where everyone was just drinking in the street, so we bought beers from these street vendors. I noticed something very interesting though. The street vendors sell Chang and Heineken beer, but the Heineken actually tastes the same as the Chang. They charge more for the Heineken than the Chang, so I think they have a keg in the back and just refill bottles left out each night with the keg of cheap Chang. They are the ones who open the beers for you before they hand it over, so the caps probably aren’t even on right. Also, there is air noise when the caps came off and the beer was a little flat, so I’m pretty sure I’m right. They just think people are too drunk to notice, but not this guy. We then got some kabobs and then Burger King, although I resisted the Burger King. We then took an overpriced taxi back to our hostel and called it a late night around 3:30 am. We were all exhausted from a fun night out.

March 25
We woke up around 11:00 am and met up with Marianna and the Kiwi girl. We all went to the mall and ate at the food court. I had delicious Indian food. We then walked around for a little and went back to the hostel. We rested for a little and then dressed up nicer so we could go to the famous Sky Bar here that has a great view over the entire city and The Hangover 2 made famous because of a scene in the movie. We ate dinner at a street food place outside the Sky Bar because it would be way too much to eat there. We took an elevator up 83 floors and sat on a couch outside. It was really cool. We ordered classy drinks and chilled for a while. We then walked over to another spot on the same floor with more outdoor seating and a bar. It was great to hang out over the city like this. After Sky Bar, we walked back to our hostel and changed into chill going out clothes. We walked to the market area near our hostel because Marianna wanted to buy some leather wallets from this guy who she bought from a couple of weeks before. This area turned into a red light district too. It’s so weird. Any area where tourists flock to here eventually turn into red light districts with places called Pussy Palace and Spice Girls. I guess that’s Bangkok though. We took a taxi to Kao Sahn Road again and drank a beer tower at a chill outdoor bar. We all got custom bracelets made by an older Thai woman that said whatever we wanted. We walked around, grabbed another beer and then called it a night. It was fun to see Marianna again. She was flying out tomorrow but we will be flying through London on our way back to the States, so we will make sure to see her again then.

March 26
Matt and I woke up at a reasonable time and took a taxi to the Grand Palace. Some Thai guys outside were trying to convince us that the Grand Palace was closed for two hours for the monks to pray and that they would take us to a few sites for very cheap in the mean time. We asked about all the tourists walking in right now, and they said that groups are ok, but no individual tourists. We called bullshit and walked away from their pushy scam. Sure enough, we got right in and everything was fine. It was a really nice area. There were a lot of huge buildings and temples with clean paint and many colors. It was really nice to walk around. The sun was blaring so we could only force ourselves to stay for so long. We enjoyed walking around in there and seeing the famous structures that Bangkok is known for. They preserved these old buildings very well and it was neat that they were all in one area right next to each other. It made sight seeing easy and quick in such a big city. We left and walked to Koh Sahn Road again, where we ate at a restaurant on a side street. We drank a lot of water because we were in the sun and heat for too long. We took a taxi back to the area of our hostel and then went to the Myanmar embassy to pick up our passports at 3:30 pm. There were about 100 people there with us all waiting across the street in the shade. About 20 minutes before the embassy opened, some ass hole had to make an early move to be first in line, forcing everyone else to run across the street and get a good spot in line, as well. We got a decent spot, but after one minute, we were like “F this” and went back across the street in the shade. It was way to hot to stand there for 20 minutes. About half of the line gave up and say down by us, while others struggled to keep a good place in line. Once the doors of the embassy opened, we all ran across the street again and a lot of the people who have been waiting in the heat actually ended up getting in after us based on how hard people pushed from behind you. We got in, waited in line for only 15 minutes, then got our passports with new Myanmar visas inside, and bam, we were out of there. We dropped our passports off at our hostel, did some laundry, and rested. We then took a taxi to Siam Square to get our final fix of western food for a while. We walked around the food court and there were too many delicious options! We ended up going to Bangkok Burger Co. It was a small stand with classy amazing burgers. It was soooo good. Two Canadian girls sat next to us and we talked for two hours about our trips. It seemed like we were actually in the same places at around the same time on a few occasions and even stayed at the same hotel in Pai at the same time. They also had similar interests to ours. Unfortunately, we were all leaving tomorrow to different places so we couldn’t hang out more, but unfortunately that happens when you travel. I got a McFlurry to end the night, we took a taxi back to our hostel and packed up for Myanmar in the morning. I liked Bangkok a lot. I was expecting to hate it, but I ended up loving it and would love to come back. The Hangover 2 makes it seem so sketchy and dirty but really, it’s a great busy city.

mikepsilve'sBangkok 2 album on Photobucket