From mayhem to paradise (Bangkok - Koh Tao)

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July 30th 2012
Published: August 17th 2012
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So i arrived in Bangkok on the 27th July and this is where my journey reay begins! I was up early on my first day and took a walk around the sights and wow, just wow! Nothing could have quite prepared me for what I was about to see/smell!! Having lived in London for nearly ten years I know what overcrowding is like….or so I thought! It was packed full of people, raw sewage flowing through the streets and the smell nearly knocked me for six. As I was out of my hotel by 7am it was a really great opportunity to see Bangkok being brought to life with food stall upon food stall and the same with clothes and just about anything you want to get your hands on! The streets slowly got busier and I gradually began to feel like I’d lost about two stone in sweat over a very short period of time. The humidity was intense and so were the rain storms that came with it. I spent much of the day people watching on Koh San Road (backpackers hotspot) which was quite entertaining and disturbing at the same time. Seeing the westerners with the Thai girls really brought it home that people travel here not to see the sights but to get cheap sex and, however naïve it may have been, this was a huge culture shock for me. I decided to take myself away from the backpackers as I feel that my journey is of greater magnitude than getting drunk with a load of 18-21’s! I walked to the Grand Palace and there were traditional dancers and all sorts of military personnel on the green outside so I sat and watched with the Thai people. For me this is what travelling is about, being amongst the locals and doing as they do so I sat and watched for the next few hours as the Thai world zoomed past me at a galactic rate! So for the most part of the day I had complete sensory overload and retired to my hotel to watch some of the Olympics and to let my brain compute everything that had happened in the last twenty-four hours!
The next day I was up early again, had breakfast and checked out at 11am. I wasn’t too sure what to do with my days I had a very hefty backpack and had booked my bus to Koh Tao for 9pm so I had a lot of time to kill. I took my bag to the travel agents and was told I could leave it there for the day which was great and I had to be back at 7pm to pick it up….so only another 8 hours to go before I had to et out of this madness. I guess as you are reading this I am painting a bad picture of Bangkok, that is not the case, just for me it was the biggest culture shock of my life and one that I will be forever grateful for as it has really opened my eyes to the world and how lucky my life really is and how incredibly fortunate I really am. To kill some time I hired a tuc-tuc for an hour and was chauffeur driven around, I really enjoyed this and felt like I was coming to terms with the new environment I was inhabiting. So by now it was still about 5 hours before I had to retrieve my bag so I decided again to people watch on Koh San….this proved to be a success as I met a really cool guy from NZ who had been travelling for eight years and six of those were spent running a backpackers hostel in Hanoi (Vietnam). It was amazing to finally converse with someone after not really talking for four days and I didn’t think he’ll ever realise how grateful I am that I met him at that point in my journey as I was having a low point and just wanted to talk to someone who wasn’t hammered on Sang Som. So we talked for the next five hours until I had t retrieve my bag and he waited with a beer for me. He was a sound guy and the first great connection I had along my travels. So finally I boarded the bus after a huge downpour and to my delight, I had the front seat upstairs with the extra leg room. Lady luck perhaps when it comes to transport?! At a service station I had my first encounter with a squat toilet which was interesting to say the least! Back on the bus and we arrived at Chumphon at 5am to catch the catamaran at 7.30am. I met someone called Lisie and we got on well and decided to try and get a bungalow together when we arrived in Koh Tao. Finally at 10.30am on the 30th July I arrived in paradise….actually paradise!!!!! Tiny island with crystal blue, warm, sea and lovely Thai people. For me this is what I was looking for in Thailand and I got more than I ever could have bargained for. So after hunting for a couple of hours we finally found a bungalow about 30 metres from the beach at O’Chai 2 fir the next four nights at a price of 600baht which is about £13.50 between us….N.B. this is expensive and therefore quite luxurious by Thai standards! The first day in paradise we spent on the beach and that is where I’ll be for the next three weeks!

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17th August 2012

Keep this up Helen. I'm enjoying the reading. Wish I was there in paradise with you. But yes, to get to paradise you do have to tolerate some hardship. LOL! God bless.
23rd August 2012

Hi Helen, Really enjoying your blog and already looking forward to your next entry. Sounds like you are having a wonderful time- Dylan says hello and is really missing you!! Take care, Mandeep.

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