I met up with Matt in Bangkok, after almost a year of living apart. I was ecstatic; we hadn’t seen each other since Christmas and this was the beginning of two months on the road together. Living apart had been tough at times but according to a close friend of mine THIS next couple of months would be the real test of our relationship. I am pleased to say however, that we both made it back in one piece, with neither of us holding murderous intentions.
From the airport, we took the skytrain to our hotel which was a good way to catch our first views of the city. Bangkok is hot and humid and Matt, unused to the climate as I was, was coping quite pathetically. In fact it wasn’t long into our trip before he started getting a little lobster like in appearance. The skytrain however is bloody freezing; like a fridge on tracks. There is definitely an overenthusiasm for air con in Asian cities, but at least it kept me prepared for my return to the UK.
Bangkok sometimes gets a bad reputation, but were pleased with it upon arrival. When I later visited Singapore, straight from Bangkok, I would realise that yes it is actually pretty dirty in contrast. However the central shopping areas are great and it has good food. In fact I would even go as far as to say that the shopping centres in Bangkok rival those of Singapore…largely I’ll admit because they are more in my price range.
We were conveniently located near Siam skytrain station, which is full of shops and places to eat fit for most budgets. We enjoyed meals in shopping centre food courts, which is like street food for those unwilling to risk a volatile stomach the next day. We did, however, also have a fantastic meal from a street vendor, strategically located on the pavement underneath the skytrain. We ate, sat on little plastic red stalls, watching the traffic and people dashing about, whilst the rain poured down either side of us. This was our first meal in Bangkok and it was delicious, really setting the bar high for the rest of our trip… and of course it was followed by some mango sticky rice (I left the mango to Matt; not a fan).
On our first full day we visited the Grand Palace. It was beautiful (love the bobbly trees – they look like they’ve come straight out of Alice and Wonderland), and strenuous enough for this jetlagged and lazy pair, so the rest of the day was pretty much spent eating pad thai, fried bananas and napping, before heading out again for more food. Day two followed in a similar fashion, with us simply wandering around town but mostly letting our taste buds do the discovering. I may have lost weight in China, but Thailand is a place for putting it on. My favourite dish was definitely Pad Thai!
Probably unusual for backpackers our age, we didn’t go to the Khao San road during our stay in Bangkok. We weren’t really feeling that kind of scene at the time. Instead we opted for a romantic date at an Italian restaurant, where I had my first real Italian-style pizza in months. It had Gorgonzola on it! I cannot stress how happy this made me after being in China without access to anything that I would call real cheese.