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Published: December 30th 2019
Be warned, this is a longun.
With more or less a 26hr day prior, I decided today was going to be a chill day. Little exploring, little relax and massage, taking things slow.. however, I don't fucking work like that so it was full on from the moment I woke up.
You're vegan in a foreign place, find food. Probably best not to decapitate people because you're hangry.
Thanks to happy cow, I located a place and set out. Now, this ended up taking significantly longer than anticipated as I couldn't get roaming working on my phone and I hadn't got a SIM card yet. O wondered the streets mindlessly for about an hour, taking in the first experience of Bangkok during the day. I thought I'd figured out where I was going based on the map, except, it wasn't obviously labeled and I went passed it several times.
Bangkok's an interesting place. The drivers are fucking insane. There's absolutely no courtesy when driving, people just cut each other off, push in, swerve erratically. It's no wonder they have circa 12k killed every year in crashes.
I found a coffee place and got a black coffee for 35bhat ($1.70), realised at the height of my sleep deprivation I hadn't turned roaming on. Eye roll moment.
Turns out my breakfast was 30secs walk away at a place called Tien Sin - Si Wiang. 67 bhat ($3.30) for a full plate. It was excellent. Felt really strange eating what I'd normally consider lunch/dinner for breakfast, but beggars can't be choosers.
Mission 2: Get a Thai SIM card
I'd already done a little research around this, so was looking for a company called AIS. There was a store close to my food place, but this didn't open until 10am.
Whilst lingering outside the mall, a Thai guy approached me and we started chatting. Asked where I was from, staying, etc. Seemed like a nice chap.
His wife worked in the hotel I was staying at and he was going to Auckland in January.
He then suggested some places I should go to buy cheap clothes, get a tour to the floating market and a mall that was open to get my SIM. Told me it'd only cost 100 baht ($5ish) on a tuk tuk (which are basically like little cart vehicles - use Google). He told me which ones to get and which you avoid. Then as we were talking, a tuk tuk turned up and he said:"Yes! This one, not the other - don't pay more than 100 baht."
This was the first lesson in haggling I was about to experience. The tuk tuk driver suggested 300 baht ($14) for all 3 locations, in which my new friend cut them down. "NO. HE ONLY PAY 100" - the driver agreed and that was it. I was now a Tuk Tuk passenger.
Holy shit, what a fun way to travel. It basically feels like you're charging around in a little go cart on the road. Cutting people off, swerving through traffic, rushing down back alleys to avoid traffic, through hotel driveways. It was great!
First stop - Suit shop.
Now, if I was in the market for a suit, this probably would've been a good place to go as they ship it to you, but I didn't need them and left shortly afterwards.
Second stop - Info centre.
The guide was organising me a trip to the Floating Market and Train market for tomorrow morning starting at 615am - coming back at 3pm.
This became my first attempt at haggling. He told me he'd do the trip for 1200, I said it's too much, so he dropped it to 950. I said that was still too much and managed to agree on 900, walked away feeling pretty good about myself.
Third and final stop - MBK mall
It's a mall. Just quite big with lots of shops and things written in another language. There wasn't a mobile shop there, so I figured I'd try my hand at getting a train back to my room. I gave up pretty quickly when I realised I didn't know where I was going and couldn't see the district I was staying in on the map. Instead, asked a stranger where the shop was, it was at another mall, so went there and got one.
Given I'm going to spend most of the day at the markets tomorrow, I decide to go to the main Tourist attractions in Bangkok today, so I don't miss them. I decide to walk the 45mins back to my room to not only save cash, but it's the best way to explore.
My hotel's by the river, so I get the express boat up to the Royal Palace. This was great fun, speeding along the river snapping photos of Bangkok.
While walking up to the Grand Palace, I'm approached by a friendly Thai man who points out that it's closed until 3pm due to a ceremony that's on. He told me a few other places to check out and said he'd arrange a Tuk Tuk to take me there for 100 baht. Two friendly Thai strangers in one day organising Tuk Tuks for me. It was cuter than a baby Raccoon cuddling a puppy... OR there's someway they're contracted to getting the Tuk Tuks business.
What does one actually call a baby Raccoon? Just googled - It's a Kit.
Kit Kat anyone? Tough crowd.
Back to the story. I'd done a lot of walking and the Tuk Tuk was going to take me to a few places I hadn't been before, riding in one earlier was fun, so for the $5 it was going to cost me, I thought YOLO!
The first place was the Golden Buddha. Which consisted of two temples with, well, Golden Buddha statues in them.
What were you expecting - the Sputnik?
After that was the Wat Pho & the Reclining Buddha - 200 baht ($10). Which is, well, a big fuck of Golden Buddha lying down or reclining if you must.
Honestly, the best way to describe this is by looking at the photos. Even the photo's I took don't capture how amazing these places really are.
Then, off to The Grand Palace - 500 baht ($25) - which REALLY lived up to its name. I had a shirt to cover my shoulders, but you're not allowed to wear shorts inside, so bought a pair of pants for 100 baht from a street vendor. What fucking monstrosities they are. I hate 'Bali pants' and I was literally cruising round the palace rocking them like a sheep with the thousands of other tourists there who didn't get the memo. It was even more ridiculously busy because of the ceremony they were having and I wasn't able to go inside one of the buildings (I'm assuming you could see inside of course).
The one thing about this place is, you think you've finished looking at everything, THEN there's heaps more. It was really impressive.
I'd only had one meal today, so mission 3 was again, food. I hustled a Tuk Tuk to take me to a food place called Jae Lee in Chinatown. I'd been walking all day, so my feet were aching. Jae Lee was located in a small dodgy looking alleyway.
Walking down there, I didn't feel even remotely threatened. I'm about 8inches taller than your average Thai person.
Found the place, the food was good.
On the way back to my room, I stopped in at the massage place just down the road and got a Thai massage. It was pretty average if I'm honest, but for 250 baht ($12), why not.
Mission 4 - Soi Cowboy / Nana Plaza
The red light districts. I'd read online that these were the places to go to people watch and also I wanted to see a ping pong show.
I've gotta be honest with you, I actually found the whole thing a bit sickening. These areas basically have different bars with different girls. While you're walking along the street, the girls try to get you to come into their bars.
They literally grab your arms and try to drag you in. A lady grabbed my family jewels outta nowhere, thinking that it was going to entice me to go to her bar. Love, twist and pull on my package ISN'T going to get me to check out your shady joint.
I didn't know where to start, but one of the girls mentioned 'Happy Hour' (not in that way you sick fucks), so I thought, DONE. I mean, cheap drinks is better than squeezing my bollocks.
When you enter the bars, you go in and there's about 15 or so girls standing next to poles with their bikinis on. At first I thought it was going to be like a strip show, so I ordered a beer.
None of the girls looked that impressed to be there, just standing there awkwardly, swaying ever so slightly - so basically my standard attempt at dance moves on a night out, but Thai and wearing bikinis. I intentionally mentioned Thai there because someone's bound to make a crack about me wearing a bikini.
While I'm sitting there with my beer, a lady named Pinky (very apt) comes up to me wearing what can be described as lingerie and tries to strike up conversation. What I took out of her broken English conversation was that she liked me, thought I was handsome and wanted me to buy her a drink. She proceeded to rub my legs, I told her I wasn't gunna buy her a drink and off she went. I feel a little bummed Pinky didn't like me as much as she let on... NOT!
After Pinky left, I asked the lady serving drinks of anything else was going to happen - hoping for the ping pong show. She ignored me, because she only talks when you want beer.
That's when noticed something on the bikini girls that made me feel sick. All of them had numbers on them. Basically the whole reason you were in that bar was to view the girls they had on display - like buying cattle - then pay for them to have your way. Some of the girls there were maybe 18 or younger. It was gross.
I finished my drink and moved onto the next bar, hoping to find a ping pong show. After buying a few more drinks and bar hoping I finally found one.
It was as you imagine - totally disgusting and mesmerising at the same time. The stink of lube, sound of the ping pong ball popping out and gaining velocity as it's fired out of a Thai lady's foo foo.
They gave one of the patrons at the bar a table tennis paddle, she fired them and he hit them around the room - the lube soaked ping pong ball landing on unsuspecting people in the crowd.
Yeah, it was fucking disturbing.
After I'd explored a few more bars in Soi Cowboy, I walked up to Nana Plaza to see if there was anything more interesting about it. There wasn't. It was the same deal. Oh aside from the lady boy bars, there were more of them. Seriously, you wouldn't know most of them were men. No - I didn't go in.
I did steal a beer koozie from one of the bars though so that was fun.
With a 5am wake up and a few beers on board, I got another Tuk Tuk home. They're more expensive than Uber style apps like Grab, but man they're fun!
That's enough of a novel for today!
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