16.11.2008 30 °C
My trip has had a flying start as almost a week has passed and it feels like I only arrived yesterday! Bangkok is the first place I'm visiting and I've had a great time so far.
I was expecting to be totally overwhelmed by Bangkok, maybe even a little bit intimidated, but there was no culture shock at all. It's not mad like I thought it would be, it's just a city, a very fascinating city though! During the long period of time that I was waiting to do this trip, I heard so many stories, saw so many pictures and read so much information that I had a very vivid image in my mind before arriving. For me Bangkok turned out to be more or less the city I pictured beforehand. I suppose I was too prepared, so much so that the city couldn't surprise me. But I really, really like it - just like I thought I would.
Of course Bangkok is like nothing I've ever seen before. It's so full of smells and noise and colours and dirt, it's beautiful and disgusting at the same time. And of course on my first day I almost got driven over by several tuk tuk drivers as I was walking around in my fluffy little world like stupid, looking very white!
I spent my first two nights in a pretty little place called Shambara Boutique Hostel just off the Khao San Road. It was cozy with dark wooden floors and spotlessly clean too, but I wanted to find something cheaper (although at 350 baht for a single room Shambara is a bargain too and good value for money). The problem was that it was quite difficult to meet people there as they didn't have any common room apart from the restaurant downstairs.
So I downgraded slightly to a guesthouse called My House, where I pay 200 b (about 4 euros) for a cell-like single room with a toilet and shower. You couldn't possibly call this room nice, but I'm getting what I'm paying for and have long ago stopped staring at the dirty, pale green walls and wondering about the cockroaches (there isn't any). The best thing about my hostel is the common area/restaurant downstairs where you can lie on the sofas and they show three movies every day on the big screen. It's always packed with people and really easy place to talk with other travellers and chill out. So my room may be a bit of a dump but I'm having so much more fun here!
I chose this place cause it's located on Soi Chanasongkram, which is a really nice road and was my favourite part of the Khao San area since day one. It's only two minutes walk from the actual Khao San Road, so you get all the advantages but don't have to deal with the touts poking you with their signs that say "Cocktails! Very very strong! We don't ask for ID!"
Before I left everybody told me to leave Bangkok as soon as I could. That wasn't my plan then, and indeed, I have now been here nearly a week and could easily spend another one if my time in Asia wasn't so limited. There's so much to do here, the city has so many faces and so much character. Most of the people I've talked to seem to disagree with me though. Maybe it's just because it's my first time here and everything's new. After living on islands for the past 4 years I always really enjoy visiting big cities. I like the hustle and bustle, streets full of different people and the technicolor nights.
Soon I'll try and write about some of the things I've done so far... I'm determined to keep this up to date although it's very difficult to find time to write!