My first night in Bangkok
“Just get out of Bangkok ASAP” was the deafening cry I heard in my head from mate’s advice as I landed in Bangkok airport. Of course I wanted to check it out for myself and make my own mind up.
11 hours of flying time, plus 2 hours of delays and lots of turbulence had made me a tired old boy but I still greeted Thai immigration with a beaming smile (mainly as I hadn’t got an onward ticket and knew this may be an issue when passing immigration).
Thankfully my baby face passed with flying colours, I was granted a 30 day visa but when leaving the airport I was met by the wall of humidity. To say Bangkok was hot would be the understatement of the year. It felt like any remaining energy I had was instantly stolen by the muggy air. I landed at 5pm and it was a humid 34C. A far cry from the deiced cars I left back in England.
I arrived at the Bodega hostel through a thick set of traffic at 6pm and checked in. The guy on the desk asked how my flight was and I replied “good thanks, apart from the 2 hour delay and turbulence”. Before I had even had chance to finish the sentence I knew I had lived up to the stereotypical Brit. I’m in Thailand, about to start the adventure of a lifetime and I’m moaning about a 120 minutes of my time and the flight being a bit rocky. “Craig, you’re a British ungrateful twat” I said to myself.
I was shown to my air conditioned room & I unpack and checked in online with a few friends and family to let them know I’d landed safely.
And then it hits me, I’m shattered. Due to the turbulence I hadn’t slept much on the flight and I look at my bunk bed with a satisfaction no hostel bed ever deserves. I can sleep soon. 24+ hours of being awake with little sleep has earned you this.
Of course though I’m hungry. Despite great plane food I need further food. So I head down to the bar and order some food. 80 baht (£1.50/$2.20US roughly) gets me fried rice, meat of my choice and some vegetables.
It’s gone 7pm and I’m sat at the hostel bar, eating, like Billly no mates while many others chat on in the bar around big table.
I’m tired, can’t really be arsed to chat and make conversation but fully appreciate I should as I’m in Bangkok and this is my first night. This could set the tone for the whole trip!
So I finish my food and take the rest of my cider to the big circular table. “Do you mind if if sit here?” I ask knowing full well the chances of them saying no are zero.
In the space of a few minutes I already know most names and nationalities around the table. Welcome to hostel life, where everyone is welcoming and friendly. If you’re not, then you won’t last for long here.
Fast forward 4 minutes and I’ve already had my first offer of joining others on a trip after Bangkok. Is travelling around South East Asia really going to be this easy? The answer appears to be a resounding yes.
An hour passes and beer pong is started to be played. Brits vs Americans. Banter of course ensues and chatter among fellow travellers of where to go and what to do. A new coalition is forming but I don’t think this is what Obama/Bush and our government had in mind. No wonder we messed up Iraq.
So before you know it I’m out, hitting bars with my fellow travellers and before long there’s 7 of us left, 5 Americans and 2 Brits. Some have called it an early night due to their planes only landing a few hours earlier. I should be one of them but I’ve gone into my usual traveller mode of “if I go home now, what will I miss out on?”. This philosophy has led to many, many mad nights out in places around the world, from Fiji to Tokyo, so hell, why stop now?
To say Bangkok is bat shit crazy just doesn’t do it it justice, you really do just need to come and experience it for yourself. In the first few hours of the city I’d been to multiple bars, places that were in The Hangover 2 film, had kegs of beer ordered to the table, eaten scorpion and managed to fit 7 men in a tuk tuk racing around the city at full speed (ok ok, 6 men and a baby faced British boy) then hit a crazy club, have some insanely spicy food and the city only then had started to quieten down.
I got in gone 4am on my first night, tired but oh so happy with my decision to stay out. What a night. Of course it hadn’t finished yet as we got in an argument with a tuk tuk driver even though we’d agreed a price before (just one of the many scams out here, if the heat doesn’t tire you out or the insane pace of the city then the scams certainly will).
I rolled into my bed and had one of the Americans say in a British accent “Good night maaate, tomorrow guvnor we head out to explore Bangkok in the day”.
So yes, it is that easy to meet people and now I’ve got some great people to go travelling around Bangkok and the rest of Thailand with, and hell maybe some other countries in the world.
First though? I need to brush my teeth, as I’ve still got bits of scorpion in them.