In Bangkok on Khaosan Road

I made it to Bangkok last night and met up with Matt at the Buddy Lodge on Khaosan Road. This area is a mad house. It’s a pedestrian street filled with guest houses, resturants, clubs, bars teeming with both locals and backpackers. It reminds me a lot of Pham Ngu Lao from Saigon. Overall impression of Bangkok is very positive. It lacks the colonial charm of Saigon but has a vibrant feel of its own.

Last night we had dinner (the best pad thai I’ve ever had) and then started on a bar crawl of the area. We ended up at a couple places where we were the only non-Thais there, which was pretty cool but we ended up the night at a place that had dancing plus a good mix of people from all backgrounds. Oddly enough, the bars close almos exactly at 1:00am, which is part of the crackdown they’ve had on the nightlife in Bangkok over the last few years. We ended up hanging out on the street talking to some locals we’d met in the bar until 4 or so in the morning. While hanging out on the street we saw plenty of “ladyboys” (as the locals told us they’re called) that had I not been warned what to look for could have easily passed for a women. It’s hard to believe.

After not sleeping much at all, we got breakfast from a cafe on Kahosan Road and hired a tuk-tuk driver to take us to a couple of sites. Here in Bangkok, a tuk-tuk most resembles a auto-ricksha from India rather than the tuk-tuks that I saw in Vietnam and Cambodia. For 30 bhat each our driver took us around for about 3 hours all across various temples and palaces. Matt didn’t have long pants on so we were denied admission to a couple of the more famous wats (temples), which we’re going to try for tomorrow. I don’t recall exactly what things we saw, but off the top of my head we saw the Golden Buddha, the temple that’s on top of a very big hill, the Democracy Monument, a Vishnu Mandir, and a couple of smaller wats.

We made it back to Khaosan Road around 3pm and had lunch. I took off to get a Thai massage. And before you let your mind go in to the gutter, it was a proper professional massage which was quie a bit better than any I’ve had in China. The Thai really do have it down to a science.

I’m heading back to Shanghai tomorrow evening, but not until 6pm so we’ll be seeing a bunch of the other Bangkok sights tomorrow as well and we’re planning on going out a club tonight as well.