Bangkok, Thailand, 2011-07-17 12:00 by Martin
After a long flight arriving at Bangkok in the very early hours of the morning was a blessing. As soon as we stepped out of the air-conditioned airport, the heat and humidity clang to us as it just do in Bangkok – one of the world’s hottest cities. It wasn’t the first time we had experienced this sweltering and clingy heat, but you never expect it to be that bad. With lots of luggage we were even worse off – even the cabdriver couldn’t believe his eyes. Two full backpacks, a huge suitcase and a rather large sports bag…yep, it was as outrageous as it sounds.

To our defense, this wasn’t the beginning of one of the usual trips round one or the other part of the world. We were actually kinda moving to Jakarta, as Laerke has gotten an internship with the Danish Embassy there. Though we did have two-three weeks of holiday first, which was to be spent the usual semi-backpacker way. First stop Bangkok, and then a few stops down through the Malay Peninsula. We hated the luggage already!

Got a cap to the hotel, who luckily gave us our room right away, even though we came at four in the morning – no extra charge added. Guess that is what you get when you don’t stay at the cheapest places on Khao San

A little jetlagged, we went out into the urban jungle of Bangkok, scouting out the area and trying to find the BTS station, which should have been close. In reality it wasn’t that close and the heat and oppressive humidity were getting to us… we had walked for 20 minutes or so, when it started dripping. Knowing Southeast Asian downpours, we sought refuge under an overhang and soon enough, that turned out to be a good move.

The sky opened up and a torrential downpour ensued. Tuk tuk drivers also scrambled to relative safety under half roofs as the rain became too furious for them to drive on; no-one seemed to be surprised though – except one farang family sitting in a tuk-tuk, from where the driver had already taken flight. The girls were screaming, while dad, unsuccessfully was trying his best to keep the troops together; what a spectacle! What would have been a flood in Copenhagen was everyday life in Bangkok.

When the sky cleared, we continued through Lumphini park, where the local “wildlife” of monitor lizards, tortoises and birds came as a slight surprise for us. The park, a little too manicured though, is a nice retreat from the traffic heavy streets of Bangkok. And the very proper uniformed park police on pink bicycles gave us a good, if discreet, laugh.

In the following days, we did nothing much else than shopping and eating (ok, and a lot of sweating too). As usual the small warrens of Siam Square were a hit with Laerke, who needed just a few more office appropriate attires. MBK made a nice retreat from the heat and I even bought a pair of nice shoes and a new bag (pretty much similar to the other two that I’ve bought in MBK on other occasions, just a different color). We visited the weekend market as well, but could stand more than a few hours, as it was simply too hot. Thai friends have also tried to tell us, that the weekend market is decidedly not up-market, and therefore not an appropriate place for a nice pair of farangs to buy clothes. It so cheap though, that we just can’t help it.

We met with friends for a night out as well; good Thai food, some beer and drinks was an always winning combo. The beer and drinks where hard to come by though, as it was Buddhist lent, which means contemplation and prayer, again meaning no alcohol to be had in the entire city…by law! No law without exceptions though, the exception of cause being a place that is not really Bangkok – Khao San Road. Here the party was in full swing as always, and with a little luck, we found a little more quite corner and had a great time.

We left for Malaysia on the sleeper train, having crammed the latest purchases into our next to impossibly stuffed bags and suitcase…


Road to Jakarta
Thailand & Malaysia