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Published: June 22nd 2012
Bangkok is considered by many to be the backpacker ghetto of the world. Its cheap, its interesting, and there no matter how bizarre your tastes are someone is selling it. Who wouldn't want that? I took the overnight train from Kuala Lumpur. It left KL Sentral at 10pm and arrived in Georgetown at 8am and then I waited at the station until 3pm and got on another overnight train that arrived in Bangkok at about 2pm. The hostel that I decided to stay at is located in the business district well away from the thriving backpacker ghetto of Khao San road. I find it quite nice to be able to jump on the metro because I absolutely hate taxis and tuk tuks. Also I appreciate being well away from the touts that hang around the tourist areas of the city.
There are many tourist draws between Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. There are many many beaches and other interesting things to see in the country side. Thailand's full moon party destinations are world famous, for example. They combine beaches, alcohol, drugs, music and partying which is pretty much a collection of things that I am 100 percent not interested in. Though
I wouldn't mind seeing the beaches. I made a calculated decision to stick mainly to cities for my trip. Time is short because I am flying back to the States on September 1st and I need to fit a month in China into this itinerary.
To be completely fair the frustrating part of my days in Bangkok doesn't really refer to Bangkok. My most pressing agenda in Bangkok is getting a Chinese visa. The good news is that someone is selling what I want, the bad news is that it is going to cost me $140. This is slightly depressing. In addition to my money I need 2 passport photos, an onward plane ticket an entry plane ticket and hostel reservations and proof of sufficient funds in the form of a bank statement. But I have heard that you can hold a baby Panda in Chengdu and if I get to do that it will make all the trouble worth it.
I did manage a little sightseeing amidst my 4 days at the Chinese Embassy. I went to see the Grand Palace and the nearby Wat Pho. I have to say that I have never seen a place
more deserving of the term 'Grand' than this place. One of the draws of the Grand Palace is an emerald Buddha statue which is about 18 inches tall and it is on top of a massive barn sized golden shrine. There are signs outside the room warning against taking pictures or pointing your feet at the statue. The entire architecture of these places are typified by shiny massive golden structures. Clearly they don't have that pesky directive not to worship idols in the Buddhist religion.
The other wonderful thing about Bangkok is all the delicious cheap food. I feel like no matter where I am in the city I have instant access to yummy things. Pad Thai is one of my favorites that costs less than $2. There are also lots of international dishes like my favorite takoyaki. I haven't tried food from any street vendors yet, but if I see anything really interesting I will report on it. I have heard that they serve fried grasshoppers somewhere and I am keeping my eye out for them.
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