No thanks to the film, The Hangover, Bangkok has a reputation as a party city with all sorts of debauchery. If you’re into the locura, you will find it all here; I, on the other hand, I aspired to visit shrines, ride elephants, and touch my Chinese zodiac at the famed Tiger Temple.
My travels, which included a bus ride to the Thai-Cambodia border and a tuk-tuk ride to the Aranyaprathet station, consisted of the same journey laid out in Seat 61.
At the station, the ticket booths will be closed until an hour before the train’s departure. Therefore, find a seat on the platform and take in the surroundings.
At first glance, the gaudy portrait of Thailand’s king reminded me of the Avatar: Legend of Korra. Geekdom aside, it seemed more colorful than Vietnam and more modern than Cambodia.
Please do not take any jumping or silly photos in front of a portrait of a royal family member or a guard may demand that you delete the photo.
When the train arrived, a long line formed at the ticket booth in Aranyaprathet Station, but I made eye contact with another foreigner — an Austrian, maybe — who asked me from afar how many tickets I needed. He bought my ticket and I reimbursed him afterwards — just another example of how we need to be kind to one another. I boarded the train, along with another foreigner from The States and endured the slow, hot train ride into Bangkok.
Pay attention to the sunset sit in the hot sun for eight hours. Moreover, this dingy little train has hard seats and no air conditioning — basically, an iron hell. Nevertheless, the are bathrooms were clean and the views were amazing.
I stayed at the the Shanghai Mansion Bangkok, located in the upscale Chinatown district of Bangkok. It had an enormous bedroom and all the Oreo’s and Lay’s potato chips you can eat. Nevertheless, Wi-Fi sucked!
If your phone company has the option to pay $30 for international coverage, enroll!
I did some retail therapy at Chatucak Market and bought souvenirs and clothes. The market was hectic but the small stores were stocked with all sorts of goodies. I recommend a colorful pashmina — I’m always complimented when I wear mine. There were massage station scattered throughout, and I gave in to received the best foot massage of my life for a fraction of the price I would pay in the U.S.
The next few days I explored every major temple in Bangkok such as:
Wat Arun – Beautiful Architecture
Wat Pho – Temple of the Reclining Buddha
Wat Traimit – Temple of the Golden Buddha
Wat Phra Kaew – Temple of the Emerald Buddha
Wat Pha Luang – Tiger Temple
If you plan on visiting temples in Thailand, note that there are strict dress codes for women that require shoulders and knees to be covered.
The scheduled tour with the hotel included a visit to the Bridge of the River Kwai, the famed Tiger Temple, a visit to a nearby waterfall, a short raft cruise, and elephant riding! Every temple and excursion was memorable it’s on own way. For example, the climb up Wat Arum was steep, borderline dangerous yet super fun. I busted the myth that the tigers in the Tiger Temple were sedated since I was almost mauled by one that didn’t want to be touched.
The one thing that drove me insane in Bangkok were the shady tuk tuk drivers. Now, tuk tuks will be your main form of transportation but you would ask them to take to you one place, then they would try to reroute to you visit another place that was “on the way” so that they can receive gas vouchers. You didn’t have to buy anything, but you were pressured since you walked into a store with literally everyone staring at you. The only time it worked out was when I was taken to a jewelry store — Know your customer.
If the recommended place is not beneficial to you, like you don’t actually want a tailored suit or outfit, get out and find another tuk tuk.
The last night of the trip, I had a crayfish stir fry concoction that caused a terrible bout of food sickness. It took all my strength to make it to the airport the following morning. Once I made it back to Japan, I was told I had food poisoning, ulcers, and gastritis. It took a visit with a stomach and intestine specialist and a month’s worth of medication to feel better.
Therefore, familia, I recommend staying away from exotic foods and liquidy food, like soup. Instead, order throughly cooked meals, like pad thai.
Here are more photos: