The first time I was in BKK, 3 months ago, I was overwhelmed. I was fresh off the boat & wondering just what the hell I had done. I had just quit my job & left a happy life and I was contemplating the sanity of that decision as I found myself smack in the middle of the hot, loud, dirty, heaving metropolis. When I returned a couple of months later I was determined to get to know this city a little better.
Bangkok is loud, dirty & hectic. True. But is also full of some of the best food in asia and like any big city it has a palpable energy that can be both invigorating & exhausting.
The food in Bangkok is amazing: you can find good food on the street or dine in 5 star restaurants (if that’s your bag or in your budget). We found some of the best food in the mall food court. Yep. You heard me. the food court. Here’s how it works. You go to a kiosk & get a card & load it with money. Then you go to your vendor of choice & they swipe your card. You can get the balance refunded on the same day if you desire.
Bangkok is full of great sights. Cultural & well, not so cultural.
I was getting used to navigating my way through the city. I liked the river taxis for their efficiency & cheap cost (14 baht) and on those hot days it was nice to be on the river with a breeze. But they can’t get you everywhere & they stop running at about 8 pm. Taxi’s, when you can get them to turn on their meters are efficient, comfortable & reasonably priced. The BTS sky train is easy, inexpensive, and had the internal temp of meat locker, which i loved. However, the sky train doesn’t run everywhere & just getting near it can take a while. Tuk Tuks are a pain in the ass. Expensive, loud & hot, they were my least favorite mode of transport.
During rush hour, in the rain, we hailed 7 cabs before we could find one willing to turn on the meter. And I think he only did so because he didn’t know where he was going. (which became painfully evident about 15 minutes into the ride, when he threatened to kick us out) The excuse is always “traffic”. Uh, ok. Let’s see….you are a cab driver. And maybe no one has explained this to you before, but your job is to drive, in fact, a cab. In traffic even. Because guess where you have chosen to drive a cab? In Bangkok, a city riddled with, yes, you guessed it, traffic. If you persevere & actually get the driver to turn on the meter, chances are they will not know where you want go. Because apparently, they moved to Bangkok yesterday. Having a card. In thai. With a map. Will not help you. They will look at the card, turn it upside down, sideways, and backwards. Then hand it back. uh, I guess that’s a no? next. One night we went through a queue of about 5 cabs before we found a driver that knew where we wanted to go. Once we got on the road, he slid a CD in his AWESOME stereo system…….There it was, Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton belting out “Islands in the stream”. He shouted over the duet ” All farangs love this” And we was right, we did. “And we rely on each other, uh huh……..”
If you want it, Bangkok has it. or something just like it. or something nothing like it.