For my first time in Asia, I flew into Bangkok and as soon as I stepped out of the airport, I was met with the humid atmosphere of Thailand. I was in Asia! I could barely believe I had travelled to a new continent. Everything was new – every sight, sound, smell and touch was a blessing to my curious senses. I was positively overwhelmed. In my opinion, this was ultimate backpacking. No tours, no friends, partners or any other trivial commitments holding me back. Just me, my backpack and a strong sense of adventure. I booked a night in a hostel and rocked up, chasing that buzz that life couldn’t offer me anywhere else. It was freedom at its most potent.
I realised almost instantly after arriving into the city from the airport that I had locked into a once in a life-time experience. After all, you can only experience things for the first time once. I realised quickly how exotic this city was with unfamiliar plants and trees growing out of towering skyscrapers and extending out onto the bustling streets. I had never known a city so large and metropolitan to have such a presence of exotic greenery sprouting everywhere. It was organised wilderness. Some kind of mix up between human construction and nature.
The first two days were nothing short of inspiring. So inspiring that I decided to start vlogging which never came to much because I was too busy having the time of my life to bother editing anything. The first night in Bangkok, I was so buzzing to be there that I didn’t sleep. I lay in bed waiting for dawn to break so that I had an excuse to start exploring.
It brought peace to me at dawn as I walked through the streets amongst the many locals setting up food stalls, or going to work or school. I wasn’t entirely sure, but I was in fact making my way closer to Lumpini park, in the centre of the City. By that time, two hours had passed and I was thoroughly tired. The adrenaline was what kept me going. Lumpini park was perfect in the early morning as Thai people exercised and drank tea near the pond. It was a wonderfully peaceful stroll around the daily routines of regular Thai people. Water Monitors roamed the park and I wasn’t sure if they were harmless or totally lethal until one Thai person didn’t seem too bothered to step over one.
For the week that I probably shouldn’t have spent in Bangkok, I socialised with fellow travellers and found myself on the notorious Khao San Road every night drinking copious amounts beer at the many bars and clubs that Bangkok throws at you.
In spite of being mildly to severely hungover during the day, I spent as much time as possible exploring the city on foot, ate delicious street food and quenched my curiosity for all the new stimulation Bangkok was feeding to me. Given the gigantic scale of the city, it is split up into many districts including a rather large china town that made me feel like I was in fact, in China. I really appreciated the food in China Town, it was so authentic to anything I could have tried back home and didn’t include the fake tourist trap stalls of Khaosan Road. Those who haven’t visited Thailand may think that the food might be too weird or complicated for their liking. I would say one of the best parts about the food in Bangkok or Thailand is the simplicity of some of dishes. It’s not uncommon to find rice with fried chicken, or a simple noodle soup with pork and a fried egg. It was vastly better than any takeaway pizza or kebab I’d eaten in the UK and offered something brand new and delicious to my taste buds.
There’s a lot of hidden gems in Bangkok, one of them being the
freakish amount of ladyboy activity the modernity of the malls and buildings. This is after all, a metropolitan city from street level to the top of the many skyscrapers. Coupled with that comes luxury, in the form of elegant apartments, restaurants and shopping malls. To be quite honest, Bangkok malls would wipe the floor with any shopping malls in my home-country of Scotland. There just seemed to be this creativity that the Thai people have to make for an interesting environment.
A week in Bangkok, visiting temples, partying like there was no tomorrow and generally just making the most of my time in this new city, was the perfect beginning of my South-East Asian adventure. I will never forget moments like my first tuk-tuk ride, first taste of Pad Thai noodles and everything else that turned my first experience of Asia into an unforgettable one.