a tiring city
09/26/2009 - 09/29/2009 93 °F
Ｉ arrived in Bangkok in the evening off a flight from Phuket. Blake, my then travel partner was quite adamant about staying near the backpacker haven of Koah Sahn Road. My friends from home had all advised me against this neighborhood as its a bit shady and definitely not Thai for it caters to westerners. That being said, Ｉ ｌｉｋｅｄ ｓｔａｙｉｎｇ ｔｈｅｒｅ． Ｉｔｓ ｄｅｆｉｎｉｔｅｌｙ ａ ｓｃｅｎｅ， ｂａｓｉｃａｌｌｙ ｉｔｓ ａ ｎｉｇｈｔｌｙ ｃａｒｎｉｖａｌ ｏｆ ｐｕｂｌｉｃ ｄｒｉｎｋｉｎｇ， ｃｈｅａｐ ｅａｔｓ， ａｎｄ ｔｏｕｒｉｓｔｙ ｍａｒｋｅｔｓ． Ｂｕｔ ｔｈｅ ｓｈｅｅｒ ｅｎｏｒｍｉｔｙ ｏｆ Ｂａｎｇｋｏｋ ｍａｋｅｓ ｉｔ ｉｎｈｅｒｅｎｔｌｙ ｅａｓｉｅｒ ｔｏ ｈｅａｄ ｆｏｒ ｔｈｅ ｍａｓｓｅｓ ｏｆ ｂａｃｋｐａｃｋｅｒｓ ｒａｔｈｅｒ ｔｈａｎ ｇｏ ｉｔ ａｌｏｎｅ． Ａｓ ａ ｆａｎ ｏｆ ｂｉｇ ｃｉｔｉｅｓ Ｉ really wanted to appreciate and enjoy Bangkok. This is not an easy thing to do. Bangkok's streets are a maze of confusion. I ｗｏｕｌｄ ｓｅｔ ｏｕｔ ｗｉｔｈ ａ ｄｅｓｔｉｎａｔｉｏｎ ｉｎ ｍｉｎｄ ａｎｄ ｗｏｕｌｄ ｗｉｔｈｉｎ ｍｉｎｕｔｅｓ ｂｅ ｌｏｓｔ． Ａｄｄ ｔｏ ｔｈｉｓ ａｎ ｏｐｐｒｅｓｓｉｎｇ ｎｉｎｅｔｙ ｄｅｇｒｅｅ ｈｅａｔ， ａｎｄ ｌａｓｔｌｙ， ａｎｄ ｍｏｓｔ ｄｅｐｒｅｓｓｉｎｇｌｙ， ｄｏｚｅｎｓ ａｎｄ ｄｏｚｅｎｓ ｏｆ ａｎｎｏｙｉｎｇ ｓｃａｍ ａｒｔｉｓｔｓ ｏｆｆｅｒｉｎｇ ｔｏ ｂｅ ｙｏｕｒ ｆｒｉｅｎｄ ａｎｄ ｔａｋｅ ｙｏｕ ａｒｏｕｎｄ ｔｈｅ ｃｉｔｙ ｉｎ ｔｈｅｉｒ ｃａｒｓ． Ｓｃａｍ ｊｏｂｓ ｔｈｒｉｖｅ ｉｎ Ｂａｎｇｋｏｋ ａｎｄ Ｉ can see why, its a place that makes even the most self-assured independent traveler gulp and struggle.
Ｔｈｅ ｄｅｔａｉｌｓ ｏｆ ｍｙ ｔｉｍｅ ｔｈｅｒｅ ａｒｅ ｎｏｔ ｒｅａｌｌｙ ｔｈａｔ ｉｍｐｏｒｔａｎｔ． The highs included going to the famed Sunday weekend market, the largest in Thailand, and finally learning how to navigate the city on the river ferries. By my last day there I was comfortable walking around various neighborhoods and I could get around confidently by taxi or ferry. Ｉ found the locals distant in a way that locals in big cities (NYC) can be distant from tourists, and really, Bangkok was enjoyable within the confines of the backpacker world that Koh Sahn provided. Blake and I ｍｅｔ ｓｏｍｅ ｇｕｙｓ ａｎｄ ｇｉｒｌｓ ｗｅ ｈａｄ ｐｒｅｖｉｏｕｓｌｙ ｍｅｔ ｏｎ Ｋｏｈ Ｐｈｉ Ｐｈｉ， ｓｏ ｔｈｅｒｅ ｗｅｒｅ ｓｏｍｅ ｓｏｃｉａｌ ｅｖｅｎｉｎｇｓ．
Now that I have had the benefit of a week in the northern province city of Chaing Mai， Ｉ can say that any future trips to Thailand will not emphasize Bangkok any more than Ｉ have to. I enjoyed Bangkok and would have stayed longer if I had the time I think you would need a long period of time there to truly begin enjoying the city, or a local to help your out. But even so, with the air pollution and general difficulties one encounters with all large cities combined with the benefits of traveling in the less visited north its just not worth it unless you have ample time.