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My own meandering experience

Bangkok, Thailand

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I thought maybe I'd use the blog thing to write about my opinion of the places I visit... So, here's my thoughts on Bangkok.

My stay there was in total five nights and six days in two sessions, and let me just say that is way too short to get to know a city the size of Bangkok. (or any city for that matter)

Also, my view will be wildly twisted, because on this trip we made comfort and luxury a priority whilst in Thailand. I don't think there's much value to getting to know the local thais in staying at the Shangri-La. But what an experience! First off, one of my friends that went on this trip is a crazy photo-journalist, with about a trillion-billion frequent flyer points and whatever bonuses, and one of the perks is the upgrades you get at hotels for free! (Well, free for the rest of us, I imagine he pays his share over the course of the year) So, four weary-looking young scandinavs after a couple of minutes (and lots of humble excuses for having us wait in the ordinary lobby) found themselves at the club level, enjoying a welcoming drink and taking a look at the river. Nice. I'm not sure if I'll ever get used to people bowing for me, but I'll admit I can stomach a little bit of pampering

The other two hotels we stayed at were Amari Boulevard Sukumhvit, which was okay (bonus point for complementary cake for anyone having a birthday), but not really good value for money. Sofitel Sukumhvit though, was great value for money (doubly so because of the suite-upgrade of course) with great staff, rooms and wonderful pool area. Also, being right next to the sky-train helps immensely as taking a taxi is a pain in the ass at most other times than at night.

Ah, the night. That most opportune of times... The first night we went to see the Dome, http://www.thedomebkk.com/web/sirc_gallery_01main.html and it was really supposed to be just one drink, but for my photographer friend and I it turned out to be an all-nighter. Various arguments of the sort "how often are we in Bangkok?" and "what harm in one more drink?" easily won over a couple of drunkards. The thing about it is, by thai standards the prices are horrendous, but if you look at those pictures up there, then add that there's a few more lounges as well as a great indoor bar inhabited by very talented (and pretty!) bartenders; and then bear in mind the prices are the same as I pay in some dark dump back home, it's an easy decision. Of course all the drinks would lead to an interesting night for me, but more on that somewhere else I think. Also it was quite fun, because we went back there for our last night, after about two weeks (and this is a busy bar) and the bartenders remembered me and my friend and welcomed us warmly -hey, you're back! -wonderful, more fun for us tonight!. My theory is they get so many people going up there ordering their one GT before leaving, it was refreshing to have someone stay a while and make them hone their skills. (we were asking for quite inventive and fun stuff towards the end) Or, of course, they'd learned the value of recognizing good buisiness.

The next night, which was halloween as well as a friday I am in retrospect galled that our two more quiet friends were able to convince us all to have an early night and play some games and whatnot. Because, where I would have wanted to be that night was the RCA. We went there on saturday, and it was funny as hell, but according to a couple of girls we were chatting to later on, halloween had been crazy. We were never able to discern just what RCA stands for, but my guess would be Royal Club Avenue or something. At least that is what we thought we heard. Anyway, it's a street full of clubs, where among the many thousands of partying thai students I could only count a handful of other visitors besides ourselves. Of course, it's pretty upper class I would guess (anyone attending college is pretty likely to come from a well to do family), but my god could those people party! And the best part of it I could detect none of the dark desperation that it reeks of at most clubs here in Norway, people were just having a good time, dancing, singing, drinking... Bliss. Also, for me as a guy it was refreshing to be the one on the receiving end of some drinks. What a wonderful place that buying a bottle of booze and stuff to the table is usual, and sharing goes without saying. Of course, I did stand a wee bit out with my 192 centimeters and not so straight hair, so maybe that was it. We had fun, and at 2am when all the clubs is supposed to shut down, the locals took us to a couple of illegal ones run by the mafia or whatnot. A fairly regular occurence I was told.

As for restaurants, shopping and that kind of stuff, I'd say Bangkok holds a high standard. I'm such a picky eater though, and doesn't really get that much pleasure from food, but my friends were always happy, and I did get a couple of delicious veggy dishes, so I'll give it a thumbs up. For the shopping, I'm not so big on that either. We did visit the Siam shopping mall though, and at least it was big. (we went to see a movie) What's cool is you can get a tailor-made suit or dress quite inexpensively pretty much everywhere.

The city is easy to navigate through, it has a few major roads, with these smaller ones (they have a name I've just forgotten) along, so if you get to the main one there's no problem finding a particular address. The sky-train is efficient, air-conned and throngy.

I love the way that there would also be people everywhere, smells and cafes and small shops everywhere, but for the most part free of the more aggressive tourist-hassling you would typically find in Europe. Street-side cafes will of course offer the delicious Singha beer almost for free!

The small downside for me is the part we all know about from the movies, the BANG-COCK!, part. At night there would be quite a few places looking to get you in the door, especially as a guy, and every taxi you get into at night would automatically drive you to some brothel/"club" asking if you wouldn't rather go in there. Firmly but gently telling them to please, NO, just get me the fuck home would usually do the trick.

Also, the people are friendly, helpful and mostly harmless (as I might explain more about later, I of course did take most of the risks one guy can in the turn of one night), and though inebriated and an easy prey at times, not once did anyone so much as try to steal something from me or my friends.

Big for Bangkok. Hope to go back there sometime.

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Updated November 14th, 2008 at 09:00 by Eyreplenh

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Comments

  1. Apoc's Avatar
    tuk tuk? boom boom? ping pong? suit? every five steps. Haha, the tuk tuk merigoround of taking you to jewelers, tailors or sex bars...it is funny. Bangkok is a crazy place but in a good crazy kinda way...except for the lady boys...they're entertaining but as soon as they start hitting on you...its fcked up...especially if you can't see right after having a few too many...nightmarish scars for life are just a drunken "yeah" away.
  2. Eyreplenh's Avatar
    Yeah, I too was expecting a hassling of no comparison, but it just didn't happen. I think that in our total five days maximum five tuk-tuks hawked at me...

    And for the ladyboys, I encountered none. Well, besides two working at our neighbourhood subway (which I ate at quite a lot because I suck foodwise). Of course, we were planning to go on an excursion out to whatsitacalled, Pattaya, and there I hear it is total chaos, but in the end decided not to...

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