Hello from Bangkok! I’m officially a solo traveler now and I’m loving it so far.
But let me rewind the last 6 days for you.
The travel from Goa to Mumbai to Bangkok was a long one involving a lot of waiting and delays and a tired, sleepless night. We spent our last rupees at Burger King in Mumbai and we arrived without much trouble in Bangkok on the morning of May 30th.
The first three nights in Bangkok I spent in the Silom area at hostel Smile Society, while John stayed in a private room in a hotel three minutes away.
Those first four days I mostly spent exploring the Silom area, which I absolutely fell in love with - walking up and down Silom street, down the side streets (Soi) and through Patpong night market.
My hostel was great, the people in my dorm were super nice and the street food was amazing.
Picture: we got sweet sesame balls and sweet potato balls and it was delicious
Most days I ate at least one meal at vegan cafe ’Veganerie’, with its mouthwatering-ly good meals and great atmosphere.
The other half of my meals I ate as street food, mostly down Soi 20 (one of the street food streets) at Mama Suzy’s, which John and I came to love for it’s authentic atmosphere and extremely cheap and tasty Thai meals. Since stumbling across it on our second day there, we seemed to be pretty much the only none-locals there every time and it was always busy.
On our second evening in Silom, after having eaten street food, John and I bought some beers and ciders and went back to John’s very luxurious hotel room, where we sat talking and laughing for hours, before going to Soi 4 (the gay bar street) for drinks.
We started at The Stranger bar, which was tiny and crowded and had a ladyboy dancing and lip syncing as entertainment.
We pretty quickly went outside and continued to the Telephone, before, after a while, walking to Soi 2 (another gay party street - Silom is the gay area of Bangkok, the reason why John wanted to stay here), where we danced at DJ station for a while.
I woke up with a killer hangover the next morning, but it had been a fun night and I stayed in bed until I couldn't ignore the hunger anymore. Most of the day was spent doing nothing at the hostel and at Veganerie until the late afternoon, where I talked for hours to Marta, the new polish girl in my dorm. I ended up taking her to Mama Suzy’s for dinner, talking and having fun, and soon John popped in and joined us. We all walked around together for a while and Marta and I stayed in the reception talking for hours before heading to bed late. So after all the day had ended pretty good.
On my last day in Silom, I walked to Lumphini Park for a nice, relaxed stroll. A really weird and awkward guy from Pakistan wanted to walk with me though, so we walked through the park together until he finally left me alone to read on a bench by the river. After he left it really was beautiful and peaceful and I stayed for while.
I said my goodbyes to John back at his hotel, which was a bit sad after having traveled together for almost two months. But I was also ready to start my solo adventure at this point, my feet itching to start exploring after so many days of lazing around.
So I quickly gathered up my bag and took the local bus to the older part of Bangkok and the backpacker paradise Khao San road.
Well, technically I took the bus a stop too far because EVERYTHING is in Thai, but I got to New Joe hostel without too much hassle.
Picture: me before having walked up the five flights of stairs
I stayed by Khao San road for two nights and loved it just as much as Silom, if not more.
Picture: the little quiet street behind Khao San road, where my hostel was
Especially the people there turned out to be great. When I first arrived I ended up talking to a South American guy in my dorm for hours, before I went walking all around the area, trying street food and figuring out what was up and down there. Khao San road was great fun, filled with stalls and street food and the whole area had a really great, relaxed atmosphere.
The next day (3rd of June) I woke up early to get the most out of the day, ate a delicious breakfast at vegetarian cafe ’Ethos’ around the corner, before walking to the Grand Palace, about 30 minutes away. I was sweating by the time I got there, but the fascinating murals of the Thai version of the Ramayana,
the stunning (and tiny) emerald Buddha and all the beautiful temples and buildings were without a doubt worth it.
I even went to the fabric museum (admittedly mostly to escape the heat).
Afterward, I walked to and around Wat Pho, of course walking around the giant reclining Buddha but also exploring all the other buildings there.
I was pretty beat by the time I was done at the temple but made my way to Chinatown anyway, resting my knee on the way,
but ultimately reaching the narrow covered streets filled to the brim with markets, shops and stalls and buzzing with local life.
It was a great experience and I continued onto the trafficked streets of Chinatown, where I found the tiny vegan street food stall ’Lee Jae veg’ down a little alley and sat down on a plastic stool by the long table filled with locals. I pointed to the neighboring woman’s noodle soup and was soon served the amazing meal.
I was dripping with sweat from the hot steam, my nose was running uncontrollably and I was slurping just as badly as everyone else at the table. But I feel like I had found an incredible hidden gem and I walked away with a full stomach for a mere 30 Baht (around 6 Danish crowns). I walked further into Chinatown, looking around
before finally making my way to the ferry, taking it back to Pier 13 and crashing on my bed back at the hostel, exhausted from a day of walking.
I relaxed and talked to Taj, a nice Thai guy in my dorm, watching the incredible parade in honour of the queen’s birthday together from the hostel window.
I went out to eat dinner and bought a banana roti for dessert on my way back (a delicious Thai pancake fried with banana inside).
Around 8 I went on an evening stroll down to the river with Taj, who new his way around the area. We walked past this beautiful fort
and along the river before settling down for a drink and fries.
He was super nice, although a bit hard to communicate with due to the language barrier.
It was a fun evening none the less and when we came back to the dorm I ended up chatting to Armor, the new girl from the Philippines in our dorm, for a long time. I was exhausted though, having walked 20 kilometres that day, so I fell asleep pretty quickly. It had really been a good day though, my first full day of solo traveling.
The next morning I packed my bag, went for breakfast at vegetarian cafe ’Mango’
and took the ferry to pier 7, walking to the flower market from there.
There turned out to be surprisingly few flowers there though, but it was a great place to observe the hustle and bustle of the locals none the less
and after walking around for awhile I found my way to Floral Café on the second floor of Napasorn flower shop.
It was an absolutely magical hidden spot, where I ended up spending a long time, sipping my rose lavender tea - that smelled just as lovely as the shop - and reading my book between dried flowers and beautiful chandeliers.
I reluctantly made my way to pier 6 and took the ferry back, where I met Taj and Armor in the lobby of the hostel.
Soon Armor and I were on or way to the Queen’s Gallery, taking a detour to the Golden Mountain temple on the other side of the bridge.
The gallery turned out surprisingly incredible, probably one of the best modern art galleries I’ve seen, with up-and-coming Thai artist’s works on display.
We had lots of fun exploring all four floors and were completely in awe of the place, especially since we were the only people there.
It was definitely an underrated place. We walked back to the hostel, chatted to the receptionist for a while, before saying goodbye and walking to each of our bus stops.
And that’s about where the fun stopped, because I ended up waiting for bus 503 for over an hour in the heat with my giant bag strapped on. Finally I was so exhausted, sweaty and ’hangry’ that I gave up and went for a late lunch at vegetarian restaurant May Kaidee around the corner. The food was so delicious and cheap that it was almost worth the wait.
With renewed energy I went to another bus stop and took bus 15 (that thankfully arrived after not too long) to Siam Center and from there the skytrain to Nana station on Sukhumvit road where my hostel was. I found CheQinn hostel down Soi 4 and laid down on my bed instantly, completely drained from the last hours and in a bit of a pessimistic mood (probably from tiredness). It didn't help that the guy in my room was a nice Russian guy who spoke next to no English, so there wasn't really anyone to chat to.
I stayed in bed until 7.30 pm when I finally hauled myself outside with the promise of pizza with vegan cheese at restaurant Pizza Romano. It ended up being a semi-expensive pizza (for my usual standard) so I ate all the bread in the bread basket to justify the price. And then when my pizza was served I discovered it wasn't a pizza at all. I had accidentally ordered a vegan tomato mozzarella salad. Oh, the disappointment of getting a salad when you just really wanted an unhealthy gooey pizza (even if the salad was good). I trudged back to the hostel, on my way walking through Asianbox, a very hip gathering of stalls and shops,
and buying a frappucino at Starbucks (yes, I sunk that low tonight). Back at the hostel, the Russian guy was in full swing talking to the Thai woman from our dorm (who didn't know English either), through a voice translator on his phone. Oh boy.
So far Sukhumvit hadn't impressed me much. It didn't really seem to have the atmosphere and street food scene that I had adored at both Silom Road and Khao San Road. But I, of course, haven't been in the best of moods and I don't want to judge it before having explored it tomorrow in daylight and after a good night’s sleep.
And I am really looking forward to exploring the modern part of Bangkok, the city center and maybe go on some day tours before traveling to Chiang Mai in five days time.