Okay, really it’s gonna be a few nights in Bangkok but that’s not the way the song goes…
Ever since I first heard the song One Night in Bangkok by Murray Head, Bangkok has always seemed like some mystical world and now, here I am.
Today would be a lot lighter of a day than yesterday as killing fields and genocide museums were replaced with massage parlors and gogo bars.
After the killing fields…
I didn’t really want to add anything about what I did in the evening to the end of last night’s blog as I felt it would take away from the profoundness of it so here’s what I did for the rest of the day…
After returning from my moving day at the killing fields I hung out in air conditioned bliss for a few hours catching up on blogs and then having a long overdue first video skype ever with my brother in Japan.
I will be visiting him in about 3 weeks as Japan is my last stop in Asia before heading back home. I’m pretty excited to go see him and his fiancee and the countdown is on.
Although in the meantime I’ll be visiting places of paradise like Bali and Phuket I’ll be thinking about how many days it will be til I’m in Japan.
After the skype chat I joined Antoine, the French man I had met the night before, for dinner. We headed out this time rather than eat in the hostel’s restaurant as we had the night before.
I instinctively walked towards the night market to have street food and it was only when we arrived that I found out that Antoine can’t really partake in anything that exotic. So we headed the other way and just stopped in one of the first restaurants we saw.
He ordered his dish and after hmmming and hawing I finally copped out and ordered a pizza.
I know, I know – but when I’m tired my mind just goes for the simplest solution.
And I was craving…
Once again Antoine got his food ahead of mine but unlike last night my food didn’t come minutes later.
Nope, minutes passed.
And even though we had been in conversation through most of his meal and he had eaten very slowly he was done his meal before mine had yet to arrive.
Oh well, at least I really enjoyed our conversation. It’s an interesting dynamic as I speak almost entirely in broken French and he responds in his broken English. Good practice for both of us.
I called the waiter over and just cancelled my order and we headed back to the hostel.
So, after all that I was going to eat at the hostel restaurant after all! Oh well, at least they have good food. Even though they also have pizza I figured the food gods were telling me something so I went with Beef Lok Lak which is basically beef with egg, vegetables and rice.
See? I shoulda just gone with something Cambodian! My bad!
Anyway, that’s the way the night ended last night. So, there ya go – a little catch up from yesterday…
On to today…
I actually got a pretty good nights’ sleep last night as I had moved to a bottom bunk and positioned myself so I had both fan and air conditioning focused on me.
I woke up at 8am as my tuk tuk driver was due to arrive at 9:30 to take me to the airport for my flight at noon to Bangkok.
It was seamless once again going through checkin and immigration. The airport here in Phnom Penh is actually really nice and modern. I’m always surprised to see that when I’m travelling in countries such as these. Hell, they even have free wifi throughout the airport – nice!
Originally the plan was to spend substantially more time in both Laos and Cambodia but after having a rough time in Laos and then falling ill in Cambodia, my planned 40 to 50 day trip here turned into just 2 weeks.
I was actually going to cross into Thailand by bus but the thought of taking another long bus ride and having to spend 2 or 3 hours waiting at the border really didn’t turn my crank.
So, I booked a flight instead!
That 7 or 8 hour trip was now just 50 minutes. The flight cost just over $100 but I think it’s money well spent.
Just before noon I boarded my flight – a Cambodian Angkor Air flight – and soon after we were on our way.
Even though the flight was less than an hour we were still treated to a little boxed lunch of tuna sandwich and a ham croissant. Color me impressed!
At just after 1pm we arrived in Bangkok.
The airport here in Bangkok is huge and putting the explanation point on it are the 23, yes twenty three, baggage claim carousels.
After going through immigration and picking up my trusty backpack I was off to my new home for the next few days – Chan Cha La 99 Hostel. I purposely chose a place outside of the main part of the city just because I wanted my stay here in Bangkok to be relaxing and not chaotic.
I know, tall order for this city but that’s what I’m going for.
The hostel is about 15km out of the main backpacker district but there is a BTS (their skytrain) station really close by so everything is accessible by public transit.
Before arriving, the hostel had sent me detailed instructions on how to get there in an email. I chose to not take the easy way of hiring a taxi and decided to see if I couldn’t just actually figure out the public transit system here in Bangkok.
Turns out it was a piece of cake.
I took a light rail for about 20 minutes out of the airport to a BTS station downtown and then transferred to the BTS line and traveled another 20 minutes to the station where my hostel was located.
And, poof, I was there.
Like I said – piece of cake.
The area is definitely not touristy as I seemed to be the only foreigner walking the street. The area is still pretty busy as my hostel is down the lane from a busy street but at least it’s not all boom-boom-boom-go and (relatively) quieter.
I arrived around 2pm, settled in, and headed back out to explore my new neighbourhood.
First stop – the massage parlor 4 doors down. Seriously, I think I’m getting addicted to massages! The hour massage was only 150 baht ($4) and I tipped another 50 baht.
Next I turned the corner onto the main street in search of some food stalls. It didn’t take long before I came upon an alley full of them.
I was in search of pad thai (another addiction) but couldn’t find it right away. In the meantime I grabbed some fried chicken (20 baht, 75 cents) and a skewer of some kind of sausage (15 baht, 60 cents) which I only ate a bit of cause it was damn spicy.
And then I saw a stall with all the pad thai ingredients lined up in various bowls. There is no English on many of the signs here so I just kind of look at what ingredients are setup to tell me what’s available.
I ordered the pad thai and watched her whip it all together in her giant wok. I sat down to enjoy my yummy meal and actually ordered a second order to take away as the hostel has a fridge and microwave (two rarities for accommodations here in Southeast Asia).
The rest of the evening was spent figuring out what I would be doing during my limited time here in Bangkok. Needless to say that tomorrow will be packed full as I’ll be exploring alot of what this city has to offer.