Updated: Oct 15, 2018
There I was on my first flight out of the country. I had plans to drop my bag at my hostel in Silom and head to the So Sofitel Pool Party that happens every last saturday of the month. But I did not budget in the time I would take in the Visa on Arrival queue and reaching Silom from the Airport, freshening up and then heading to the party. I guess I was just enticed by the amazing views from the video I had seen.
I reached Bangkok on schedule at 18:50 local time. I rushed to the Visa On Arrival section with was flooded with tourists most of them from my flight. While filling up the form a visitor from China asked me for my pen and we got into a conversation. I told him this was my first time here, etc. He said we could get through quickly with the express queue and he agreed to show me the way. It was only 200 THB extra over the 2000 THB fee. Between Oct 2017 and Sept 2017 the visa fees were reduced to 1000 THB during the mourning of their Late King Bhumibol. I tagged along with him in the express queue and he told me I would have a really good time in Bangkok and he suggested I visit a few bars in Silom. He was delighted to know I was staying in that locality. I presented all my hotel booking and flight details to the official at the counter and went into the waiting area. They seemed to be pretty quick in processing the forms. It was my turn soon, the employee on the window at the other side waved a folder with my token number. I collected my form and headed to the immigration desk and noticed that the female official I was in queue for was generally not in a good mood. So I changed my queue just to avoid any conversation. The official looked at me asked me when I was leaving the country and stamped my passport! There! I was officially afoot Thailand.
I bought myself a SIM card with a 10 Day plan which was for about 800 THB and headed out to the metro station. It did not feel different only except the people around people of so many different cultures all coming in and going out of Thailand.
My first night in Bangkok was booked at Silom Space a hip hostel in the heart of Silom. I hopped on to the Airport Line and changed the metro at Makkasan Station - Airport Rail Link to Phetchaburi before emerging on to the surface at Si Lom station. I knew my way to the hostel because I tripped too much on the Google street view to find my hostel. I was welcomed to the hostel with a genuine and wide smile. One of the hosts was "Phlo" I hope I am spelling her name right, she was one of the many kind people I was about to meet on this trip. She showed me around the hostel, the break out area, the pantry where I could make my coffee any time I wanted and grab some munchies too! I was shown to my dorm room, it was a pleasant grey, with a comfortable bed and a large locker that could fit my hippie backpack.
By the time I settled in and got fresh it was already 2100 hours and I had missed that pool party. But that didn't stop me from venturing out into the night. My hostel shared it's alley with a club called DJ Station. It looked crowded from outside a usual Saturday for any nightclub in any city. As I walked out on to the main street and it was even more alive with shops, massage parlors, hawkers, fruit carts and soup vendors all catering to the needs of hundreds of tourists. There were clubs and lounge-like places lined up here.
There was a mall - Silom Complex - on the other side of the road which I was planning to explore for lunch the next day. I ended up on the lane - Silom Soi 4 - Endless options to party here, most places offered an outdoor seating, there was another gay bar, a karaoke bar, a drag show bar and tables outside if you just wanted a place to sit and have a beer. I did that outside one of these places. Watching tourists young, old, straight, gay and all races merry themselves into the night. A couple of drinks later I found myself in conversation with a couple in their 30's and they told me how they had retired from their jobs and were travelling across South East Asia. They even told me that they loved Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan during their trip to India a few month earlier. While I was returning to my hostel I was caught off guard by the patrons on DJ Station trying to leave the place as it closed for the night. It seemed nearly impossible for me to make it through and into my hostel lift lobby so i decided to go ahead and walk around a little bit, I reached on a cross junction which led to the entrance of the Lumpini Park. I sat here for a little bit and then headed to my hostel.
The next morning I was up early for breakfast and I headed out to the Lumpini Park I walked around most of the park on foot searching for that komodo dragon that I saw in pictures a night before. The park has lots of trees, jogging track of atleast 2 kms in total, an artificial lake and playgrounds. There were plenty of tourists cycling and jogging, group of people taking a yoga class, an elderly couple practicing thai sword dance with their instructor, whose grace made the sword look as light as a feather. There are small shops at the entrance where
I got myself a Milo and Cake to munch on, which I did when it started pouring cats and dogs. I was seated under an umbrella with two Thai men who were probably talking about the rains too! They asked me where I was from and about my trip so far, I told them I had just arrived and I had 12 days ahead of me to explore the country. They smiled and wished me a good time. The rain stopped after about 45 minutes and I headed back to my hostel in Silom. I was checking out to check-in to a hotel by the River Chao Phraya
After contemplating about how to reach my hotel from Silom, I booked a Grab taxi instead of taking the BTS Metro because if I took the latter, I would have to walk a while and I didn't want wet luggage. I reached my hotel, IBIS Riverside, I got this hotel for a good deal of about ₹3000 a night (Breakfast included!) A quick check-in and I was in my room with a view of the pool, the river and the Ghost Tower at a distance. I quickly changed into comfortable shorts and a vest (Touristy, I know!) and headed to experience the famous weekend market in Bangkok.
Another quick ride on the Grab taxi I was at the Chatuchak Weekend Market. One of the largest markets in Thailand, divided into 25+ sections and has more than 15000 stalls. It is also popular known as the JJ Market. You'll be spoilt for choice with the number of stalls, the variety of clothes and accessories here. Since I was here during the beginning of my trip I only picked two t-shirts, else I am sure I would have shopped more. I reached the market almost at dusk which is closing time for most shops, make sure you visit in the day to see the market in its prime. I was lost and I found myself with a Singha in my hand at a different end of the market at Viva 8. I ate some non-veg rice, it had multiple meat types in it, from mussels to lamb. To my surprise it was tasty! A couple of minutes (read beers) later I headed out of the Market. I missed experiencing the vibe of the famous Spanish Chef at the restaurant. He is quite an icon and features in many Bangkok travel vlogs.
It was about 2200 Hours and I decided to head to Khao San Road. The place was definetely craycray with an ocean of tourists and travelers partying along with the locals. No inhibitions, everybody was flaunting their best movies on the streets! Since there are plenty of clubs side to side its like a war amongst them trying to pull more crowd at their bar and counters. It's the perfect for any one out to party and meet people. Ofcourse there are more elite places where you could party, but that doesn't beat going crazy on the dance floor with a thousand others, except its not really a dance floor but a street lined with clubs. This is also the place to grab those roasted scorpions and other crawlies. If you pay attention there is a narrow shopping lane that leads to a road parallel to Khao San which has a more chill vibe. After a craycray night here I was back at IBIS Riverside, I slept off without putting much effort! Now you're wondering why I had not visited any temples yet? Well, most of them were closed and preparing for the first death anniversary of their beloved King. I was going to be back to Bangkok during the end of my trip and decided to explore whatever was open on those days.
Next day I woke up to rainy morning, a slight drizzle but it looked like a thunderstorm in the making. After a dip in the pool (yeah..the rain didn't stop me!) and a scrumptious buffet breakfast I was in a GrabTaxi again heading to Don Mueang International Airport to board a flight for Surat Thani.