Bangkok 2012 – What’s it like to travel solo ? pt 1
Flood what? I know I shouldn’t read the news on the internet. I stop watching news on TV and read news paper for almost 5 years now and it is some kind of therapy for those who worries a lot, like me. I know world is going to end somehow, there are always be wars somewhere, some part of the world, because hatred, greedy and all kind of non senses are always inside human and it is bigger than love and compassion. So why worry? But I can’t help to read the headlines on MSN or Yahoo page, every time I wanted to log into my email. It was all about “sinking Bangkok” news for the past 2 months next to the Kim Kardashian’s divorce headlines. And that fucking false news made me wait and wait (wait until flood receded), ended it up getting myself expensive flight ticket to Bangkok. It was two hours flash flood! It happens to KL too, and it is not the end of the world, duh. Next time I will still fly to South Korea even the news said the North is about to press that missile button in the next 5 hours. I don’t care anymore.
This supposed to be a sweet trip with someone. You know, welcoming new year with a new phase in life, lips locking under giant fireworks, be in each other’s arms and seal the deal. But you don’t always get things as you planned. There always something more important in life besides kissing under the fireworks. So here I am, instead of getting kissed on the new year eve, I learned something else.
“For half a second, I wondered if I was dreaming. I saw something flickering, and I knew I was not dreaming.”
I never imagined that I’d be able exploring stranger’s land on my own. I keep on telling people that, “if I was a guy, I’d be travelling this planet earth alone with no fear, I wait for no body to go with me, I can sleep on the streets and talks to anyone I’d liked to, I can carry a big heavy bag on my back and feast my sight and soul with everything strange around me – just because, I am a man”.
Well, I was wrong. I undermines myself too much. I was too comfortable being in my own compartment – familiar roads and faces, being around friends who took me few years to trust them. “Nothing like home” is such a killer phrase. It is an excuse made for those who are too afraid to take the chances and to leave what’s used to them. The food, the language, the weather or friends. I admitted that I was too worry and afraid to be all alone in Bangkok. I’ve heard many versions of stories about Bangkok. I begged everyone that I know to go with me. But it seems I was fated to go through this trip alone and learn from it.
For the 1st night, I choose to stay somewhere nearby the Chao Phraya River. Because I still don’t have any idea how am I going to move from city center to this area in cheaper way. Bangkok have a lot of temple and most of it located along the river. There is also famous spot/streets called Khao Sarn road. It was such a relieved to get an email on my last minute booking from this budget hotel called Bhima Inn, that I booked for 01 night, giving me some information of how much the taxi charge supposed to be from airport to their hotel and how long it will takes – like they know that I am all alone!
I was lucky because the taxi driver is a Thai guy who happened to stay in US for more than 10 years. His English is perfect so I don’t have difficulties in getting a lot tips and information to get around Bangkok.
This is how ‘single’ room looks like. Never booked a ‘single’ room before and it wasn’t bad for THB900. Clean, quiet, I dont care about the small TV because I don’t have time to stay in. The room has big mirror both in the room and toilet, so that is what most important to me! At the reception, is a guy who really helped me with a lot of information too. Free wifi at the lobby area & restaurant, and the guard was so nice to me, he came with mosquito’s repellent coil and put it underneath my table when I was busy facebooking on my iPad. Everybody was so helpful, welcoming, and filled my heart with warmth feelings after few hours I’ve been here.
Tomyum is my favorite dish. I would never missed to eat tomyum if I go to any part of Thailand.
It was okay, not as what I expected. Maybe I need to go to the streets rather than having one in Hotel. My 1st night dinner was kind of expensive! THB 370! Im still learning!
So I put on my pink shoes and started to explore around after dinner. From Phra Sumen Road to Rambuttri Road then to Khao San Road (see red dot). I hadn’t take a long walk for a long time, I almost break my back that night!
I don’t know where I was heading to, I just followed the direction given by the guy at the hotel reception. Go straight, turn right, go straight again and will see the place with stalls and bars. Right. I wanted to go to Khao San night market, but ended up with Ranbuttri road.
Well, I always use a ‘moth to a flame’ method when I got lost in direction of where Im heading to. Without map in hand, I just find colorful flickering lights, and I know, that must be a fun place to go 🙂
Just strolling the streets without worries in my heart. People enjoying their drinks and the locals smiles welcoming you to their bar and restaurant.. and to take a look the stuff they are selling and always at ready to hear your bargain price.
It’s nothing like Petaling streets, they never forced you to buy, not after you bargain with them 100 times. You are free to touch and take the pictures of it. I bet you will get your head chopped off if you do that in Petaling Streets. In fact, they are happy just to get attention from tourists, they are chatty, asking where I came from and alone? The most common replies I got from them was “oh! I thought you are Thai!” and they started to ask about Kuala Lumpur…
But I still want to go to Khao San road, so I keep on asking the directions along the road. They gave me short cut, through not so dark but quiet alley.. it was the back of some people’s house.. or shop.. and I saw a gym complete with small boxing ring in it, it must be Muay Thai training studio or something like that. Not all locals fluent in English, but if you pronounce the road or destination right, they surely pointed you to the right direction, with a smile.
I was at the end of the alley, no way to go but this stairs. I feel like I was in some kind of Alice in Wonderland.. or Narnia : The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. So this shabby stairs will lead me to the place I wanted to go?
So I climbed the stairs and found myself a nice bar, restaurant behind that doors with shabby staircase..
in Bangkok, a stranger can feel like home. You are free to sit at the corner by yourself, do whatever you wanted to do and no one bothering you.
So I asked the restaurant’s staff where is the Khao San Road;
The flickering lights distracted me for a while. I was a bit astray from the direction given and keep playing with my camera. I found myself at the main road. I just wanted to cross this busy road, to be where the lights are. But Im too tired to figure out how to climb the fence and be on the other side of the road, so I gave up and back to find Khao San.
Finally here I am. It is a one busy road! Puppet show was on Bruno Mars song greets me on my 1st time in Khao San Road.
It lifted my spirits, I feel I am no stranger here. Streets were filled up by NON THAI’S. Some of them speaks the language I never heard before. I believed there must be alien or martian among these people, I just couldn’t catch one.
It sting me a bit when I saw everybody walking hand in hand, smiling and laughing, just happy, or to something funny along the streets, or from the drinks they had in their hands. I passed by a white girl crying on other girl’s shoulder in the middle of the streets. Her friend just stood there rubbing her back and whispering something to her.. to calm her down. I looked back at myself, just me and my camera.
This appear to be my 1st photo since I arrived in Bangkok, 7 hours after landed. It so unusual, I supposed to have 150 pictures of ‘ME’ taken in 7 hours time if I have my travel buddy with me 🙁 Yea, travelling solo can be sucks too. Haha. Thanks to the stall guy, who helped me with this. I wanted to buy that straw hat, but I didn’t bring much money in my pocket at that moment. I left it all in the room. I didn’t plan to shop. He offered me THB 320 for that straw hat. And all I have is THB 180. Ha!
It is a shopping heaven for the cheap skate (sorry!) T-shirt is THB100, accessories, dresses, everything is below THB300. But I don’t feel the need to have them. I still favor discount sale in MNG and Zara, or Bershka, or Forever 21 back in KL. But I did bought few T-shirts here as a souvenir, for my girlfriends and special someone 🙂 But I already told them it is a stupid t-shirt. So, they should expected how stupid it is. Ha!
I am a sweet Mango lover. I dont miss the chance to get one on Khao San Streets. THB25 complete with sticky rice soaking in sweet salty coconut milk.
I did have a lot of chats with the people on the streets, the guys who sell the t-shirts. All I did was looking at their shirts and stuff on display, they came to me speaking Thai, and I replied “oh, Im not Thai.. I can’t understand and don’t speak Thai” So the conversation went on and on and on.. until I have to excuse myself. That’s how friendly people in Bangkok are.
The night is always young in here. There is no sign of calling it a day. People just keep on pouring in, and my back hurts.. it seems like, I was the 1st person who went to sleep at 1am at this part of old Bangkok..
Few more snaps while I was heading back to my hotel room..
I came across this stall and saw this. I stopped by and asked the guy what is it. Apparently he don’t understand English and he just smile with shy and continue cooking. 🙁 What a non responsive chef!
I didn’t see any ladyboys or prostitutes on this streets. Or maybe I didn’t pay close attention enough, or maybe people just exaggerate things about prostitution in Bangkok. I bet they are not that cheap, just be everywhere just like a flea, they do have decent spot or station to operate the business.
But I do notice pretty, smooth flawless skin girls on the streets. Long legged with Victoria Secret’s supermodel hairs, with girlfriends or alone texting on mobile. If those are prostitute.. well, don’t blame the guys.. I also want to BUY ONE!
Back to the hotel with smile, and I know this going to be one sweet lonely trip. I know everything is going to be alright. 1st day – it’s already addictive. I can’t wait to wake up to tomorrow. I can be a citizen of the world, dah-ling..
…to be continued.