Moving on, our next destination was Bangkok! Being a fan of big cities, I was looking forward to this part of the trip and after how wonderful Chiang Mai was, it could only get better right? To save on time, we flew from Chiang Mai in the early hours of the morning, arriving in Bangkok after one hour and with the rest of the day to explore.
First thing on our list was seeing the Grand Palace and not knowing how close this was, we took a short bus journey to the destination. Attempting to cross the road while the heavy flow of traffic was momentarily paused proved a terrible mistake and we quickly retreated to the safety of the pavement. A moment that proved pivotal in shaping our experience of Bangkok. *Cue start of parallel timeline* We were approached by a friendly local who immediately recognised us as tourists and informed us that the Grand Palace was closed for a couple of hours due to a Buddhist celebration. Helpfully he marked some points of interest on a map, telling us about special markets that were held this week in conjunction with the Buddhist holiday. Lulled by a sense of security cultivated by our experience in Chiang Mai, we went along with his story and to cut this tragic tale short, ended up paying a ‘special discounted price’ (~£30) for a simple boat ride. Going along the various channels of water off the main river, I was initially terrified of being taken to a secluded location and robbed of our possessions. However, we passed by many other tourists in situations identical to us, which gave us a sense of ease, leaving us to somewhat enjoy the rest of the boat ride as much as we could. Feeling infuriatingly angry to the point where we found it quite hilarious, we ended up being dropped off just around the corner from the Grand Palace. Here, we came across a sign outside the entrance informing us ‘not to trust wily strangers’. Thanks. Really helpful.
Attempting to suppress this experience from memory, we tried to take in the beauty of the Grand Palace, but battling both the heat and the rude Mainland Chinese tourists became too much for us to bear. Retreating to a nearby 7/11 and re-thinking our plans for the day lead to heading back to the hostel to check in and wallow in our frustration chill out. In the evening we headed to Koh San Road, where we were put off by the rowdy western tourists and instead found a quieter place to comfort ourselves with food before checking in early at the hostel, which was great by the way!
- Here Hostel: a cute hostel within walking distance of the main attractions, but tucked away enough to chill out from the craziness at Koh San. Giant slide in the lobby and free breakfast – what’s not to love!