Bangkok is a city that I will always remember with great affection since that it has been my first place in Asia. I arrived by night, luckily, evoiding the stifling heat of the afternoon.
Bangkok is certainly a nice city to explore with so many temples and giant golden Buddha statues that are really alluring.
I stayed in a quiet area of the city, away from the masses of tourists, with a nice park nearby called "Lumphini Park" in Pathum Wan District.
At firt glance , for me that I were not used to very caotic cities, it was overwhelming being in Bangkok.
I had my first a few steps outside of the guesthouse when I saw my first Tuk Tuk "a sort of taxi with three wheels and two benches on the sides that is used predominantly in the southeast Asia". As I love to see what is different from my own country and from the westerner world, I could not wait to weave one and try this new experience. I could communicate with the Tuk Tuk driver pretty well and told him which places I wanted to visit.
He quickly started his long journey
browsing around the city. Most of the sights were pretty much touristic and full of backpacks, merchants, street vendors sellling most of fried food and meat, surrounded by millions of butterflies, it was "another world" but I was quite getting used to it and I began to like that.
Signs everywhere, I could recognise only some of them as: restaurants, parlour massage shops, tattoos and many more in Thai characters.
"I was struck and attracted by the bustling streets of local people carrying their stuff on a wooden cart". It really seemed to have landed on another planet. All of this was so great, for one person that was looking for a different experience. Even though, some other areas of Bangkok have dramaticallly changed and became more globalized and did not appeal for me.
I just enjoyed that, even though, when it comes to go to eat some food in restaurants, the hygiene level was definitely poor, the employees of the restaurants wash ther kitchenware outside on the street with the same water all the times. I was fine after all but, for some people, this might be hard to overcome and could be an impassable barrier
to the Asian world.
The city is a blend of ancient traditions set side by side together with modernity and capitalism:stunning golden Buddha and temples of the Old City opposed to the massive construction sites of modern Bangkok.
I spent a good part of my time admiring the Old City's Grand Palace.
Absolutely wonderful colors of green, blue, red, white and gold of the decorated temples made my head turn around. Also stunning is the golden reclining Buddha inside Wat Pho, the temple next to the Grand Palace. I was amazed to witness such a splendour of architecture, figurines and colours.
As a first step, inside a different world, was paramount and it was only the beginnig of this long voyage around this stunning gem of our planet.
I also felt excited when I could see from real the Buddhist Monks with their orange gown and bald heads, after having read a book about Buddhism.
The religions and Old traditions have still deep roots in this part of the world and are felt much yet.
I like the ambiance surrounding Buddhism religion and its disciples, I like their pace of life and the
quietness around it.
The people, in general, are very cozy and helpful when in the need of some informations and directions.
Every time I stepped in some new places, I received a great welcome and I always felt respected.
Walking from one place to the other, I loved to enjoy the odour of the street food and the general dirtiness and mess I discovered when I visited the different areas of the city. I liked the fact that slowly slowly I was getting accustomed to the country's habits, traditions and people.
On my Tuk Tuk ride, what I have appreciated and admired most were the beautiful Golden Buddha statues, that I found, scatterd allover the city. I was also lucky that, apart from the crowds of the Grand Palace, in the other places I visited, there were little tourists and this allowed me to explore the areas quietly and staying more time in each one of them.
Bangkok is also very smoggy and it would be better to wear a mask if someone consider to tour around the city with a Tuk Tuk, for example. I did not see toilet paper in the very basic
restaurant, as well. This might be another issue that certain people could face in their trip to Bangkok.
I was fine in trying new experiences, while in Bangkok, but the only one I did not try was the Thai massage. The reason was that many of them are just fake providing a different service. I was a bit touch and go and I decided not to have it, eventually.
I have felt great about my first time in the "Asian World" and about the differences I experienced staying there.
Even though there are also other realities of the daily life in this great city of Asia:
the relentless pace of tourism that, slowly, erase the past of the city with its traditions and culture to make space to more and more hotels and touristic places, the international drugs traffic that is dramatically increasing: many families are sadly shattered and try to find refuge in some temples to cure themselves and to get back to the "Dao" and the sex tourism: where many young girls coming from other parts of Thailand try to find a better lifestyle, in Bangkok, are attracted with well paid jobs in restaurants,
hotel or in an office of some Japanese companies and, instead, are sold to some night clubs and obliged to prostitution.
Bangkok is the capital city of the excess, in Asia, with its positive and negative things but, without doubt, a visit, here, is well worth it.
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