Bangkok / by Dario Branco

Back to Bangkok this time for more than a few hours. 

I am not sure what to think about Bangkok. To be honest it has been hard writing about it. I think that in the end, the city didn't captivate me. 

After this post, there are still a few things i want to talk about the photos i made and why i made them. For now, i just want to finish talking about my experiences.

Since the beginning that i been saying that i loved all the chaos from Chiang Mai to Phuket. In a way also in Phi Phi Island. Bangkok is a hundred times more chaotic, smelly, dirty and hot. What threw me off since the beginning was the heat. I remember sweating from day to night nonstop. To be fair there was a day that it was raining but even after it stopped i got dry really fast without having to change clothes.

Once i got used to the heat, i started to enjoy a bit more of the city. I spent most of my time around China Town because it was on the way to Wat Pho and the Grand Palace. There, i was fascinated with how many stores there are. Most of them selling gold, some used electronic pieces or fixing them and obviously street food. This was a paradise to photograph people going by their day. After a while it gets repetitive and it was time to visit the temples in Bangkok.


Wat Pho is where the golden reclined Buddha is. At first, it didn't look too crowded and it is quite a big place. It took me a while to figure out where the statue was. I enjoy being lost since i get the opportunity to see and explore places that if i went straight to where i wanted to go i would probably miss. 


Once I finally I figured out where the Buddha was I saw why the rest of the temple was "empty". 


To me this is a must go attraction since it is an iconic place. Besides that, I enjoyed more being outside and exploring all the details from the pagodas and trying to learn the stories behind them. 

Go there, wait for your turn to take a photo and it is done. 

Don't get me wrong. It is an impressive thing to see. While i was there I was asking myself how were they able to build something like this?


Once i was done with Wat Pho i wanted to visit the Grand Palace but it started to rain and when i arrived, the fee to get in was of 500 Baht. I decide to skip it and go to Wat Arun. To get there i had to cross the river. The ferry leaves from Tha Thien Ferri terminal which has a few stores and a restaurant. You might think that this is not something out of the ordinary but you will change your mind as soon as you arrive at this place because everything is made of wood, old, it gets flooded with the river water and like everything else in Bangkok, smelly and dirty. Should i mention again how i love places like this? Obviously, i had to have a crazy spicy soup to warm a bit after getting soaked from the rain and rest after a few hours walking. I decided not to photograph here because i enjoying it so much and i wanted to take everything in. Although, before i was boarding the boat i managed to do a few.


As all the temples in Thailand, Wat Arun is a more of the same. Pagodas, Buddha Statues, cool details, Monks and tourists. 


My recommendation is to watch the temple getting lit at night across the river from the balcony of any of the several bars near the river while having a beer. Remeber that drinks are one of the most expensive things in Bangkok.


One of the goals I had for my stay in Bangkok was to go to a few sky bars and catch the city lighting up. I did manage to go to two of them  but i was only able to be there after sunset.

It is possible to go there for free. I ended up having a few drinks and paying a bit more than what i expect. The first one i went was the Lebua sky bar Bangkok. A rule about this place is that i have to have a more formal clothing. Don't go there and expect to get in, wearing flip-flops and shorts. It might be free but it is a very posh place. 


Same thing for the Vertigo Bar. 

The way i got caught in the trap of drinking was that as soon as i got in there are a few waiters and waitresses taking you to a table or coming to you inviting you to drink. I could have said no but since i was there might as well enjoy a nice cocktail. In Vertigo bar i got two for the price of one.

I wish have could have arrived sooner to capture the sunset. Next time for sure. At least I enjoyed the drinks.


 Another thing that i will visit next time will be the night markets. I decided to visit the Chatuchak Night Market after visiting the temples which if i have done it sooner it would not have been rushed. I don't feel i saw and experience at it should. 


One of the places I wasn't planning on visiting at first was Ayutthaya. After one day and a half in Bangkok, i realized that i had to get out of Bangkok to see something different. This was the best day i had while in Bangkok. 

Ayutthaya is about two hours by train and the ticket to get there is extremely cheap. Once in Ayutthaya, the best way to get around is to rent a bike or a scooter. As soon i got out the train there are a few places that rent it and after that, all i had to decide was if i want to take a ferry to go to the town center or riding a bike on the highway to get there. You guess it, i took the bike on the high way. 

In Ayutthaya, i only wanted to visit a few temples. There is an option to see six for a cheaper price, 500Baht in total, for me it wasn't worth it since i only wanted to go to two of them that i had to pay. The first one Wat Maha That where the iconic Buddha head is covered with roots, and Wat Chai Watthanaram. I also wanted to check the Wat Lokkayasutharam but unfortunately, it was under renovation. 


There was one thing that i didn't enjoy about Ayutthaya and that was people riding elephants. I could see for the first time the spike the "caretakers" use to guide them. It is not a fun thing to see. 

After spending all the afternoon visiting temples, riding a bike and eating in a cool by the river restaurant i felt i had to photograph some of the locals. I felt this place showed a more rural side of Thailand that i didn't see before. Even in Chiang Mai.

While i was coming back i saw this old lady and i had to stop jump from the bike and photograph her.


On the last days in Bangkok, my friend was finally back from Cambodia.  We tried to go to a floating market but i messed up and went to one that is only open during the weekends. Only a few are open during the week. I did check online if this one was open and where i checked said that it was so i was a little pissed when we had to go back and rethink the plan. Still, we managed explored the city and we ended up in the famous Khao San road. Is one of the main spots for tourists but it was surprisingly pleasant. Good music where we sit and i got to try a Scorpion for dinner, as well as more consistent food.


Thinking back, I had a good time in Bangkok, however, I wish I could have seen more things. Ayutthaya was the best day i had in Bangkok while the rest i felt i was seeing the same things. Maybe if i went earlier to a floating market i would be happier with it. As i always say, next time i am there i will definitely experience all the things i missed this time. Bangkok is not a city to see in one go. It takes time to get used to it, to see and experience everything about it.


And so it ends my adventure in Thailand. Since coming back, talking to friends and new people I meet i been saying that it was the best trip of my life. The company, the experiences, the people i have met, the places i have been, were amazing. The only thing i would change is staying in Ibiza Hostel in Phi Phi Islands. Something tells me that when i go back there i will be repeating a few things. If you have the chance to go to Thailand don't hesitate. If it is your first time in Southeast Asia get ready to enter in a new, different world.