As we spilled out of the tightly packed market and onto the road after taking the River Boat, I couldn’t quite figure out where I was. According to my map, I was supposed to be at the foot of the Grand Palace, but all I could see was a long road running alongside some tall cement walls. I figured that the attraction had to be on the other side of the wall, so I began to walk. After a block or so, the street life began to dwindle as the road transitioned into a residential one. Back I went in the other direction. Walking down the tuk tuk-lined road, and alongside the mysterious large cement wall, I had a feeling that I was headed in the right direction.
It was my third visit to Bangkok: I had one day and I was determined to see it all. Map in hand, I found myself wearily standing on a dock (which was in fact a random slab of wood) while waiting for the River Boat and praying that the platform didn’t break it’s feeble attachment to land and float away.
I’m always scrambling for words when people ask me to describe Bangkok.
The capital cities of its neighbouring countries seem to pale in comparison to Bangkok’s vast and thriving metropolis. The sight of flashing lights, tuk tuks jostling with SUVS, and roadside kiosks at the foot of sky scrapers that rub shoulders with ancient temples blew me away. To me, Bangkok was an enigma – I somehow left unsettled with a feeling of disconnect, and totally puzzled as to how I felt about the city.
It was my second time in Bangkok, and I had just arrived at 11pm, totally exhausted after the long haul from Koh Phi Phi Island. Flashing fluorescent city lights were blinding me, and the irritating combination of horns and nightclub base rang in my ear as I sat in the back of a squeaky tuk tuk in New York City style gridlock. I could see Khao San Road in the distance, so I tapped the driver on the shoulder and asked him to let me out, figuring it would be much faster to walk. Fatigue started to set in, and my backpack felt like it had doubled in weight as I searched for a place to stay. I got a sudden whiff of Indian food, so I let my stomach lead the way. About half a block later I ended up in front of the Rainbow Hostel and Guesthouse, which had an Indian restaurant in its lobby. My mouth began to water as I shuffled around some patrons to get to the desk in the back.