I did not have any expectations for Bangkok as I have never travelled to South East Asia before. The only thing that I knew I had to expect was humidity which is the first thing you feel when you exit Bangkok International Airport. It takes a couple of minutes to adjust to the intensity of if but luckily most places have aircon.
Bangkok is a cacophony of sounds. A place where all senses are engaged simultaneously. Even for a born city dweller it can be overwhelming. Here urban and rural, modern and ancient, old and new all live seamlessly side by side, perfectly juxtaposed.
If you are on a motorbike or scooter you own the road. Red lights mean nothing. Then there are the tuk-tuks (3-wheeled taxis) – watch out for these guys. They do not always take you where you want them to. Already fell for the ‘temple is closed scam and gem shop scam’. Basically they tell you the temple is closed but will take you to another temple instead. Once inside they take you to gem shops and suite making shop in the hopes that you’ll buy something and earn them a lovely commission. I am not a shopper nor rich so all he really did was waste petrol. I did get to go to monk village though and got to see a giant standing golden Buddha so all was not lost. I also did manage to go the Grand Palace the following day which unfortunately was hot and full but I managed to get a few decent pictures.
The street food all look great but for a Muslim person this does not mean much if it is not halaal. Finding a place that serves halaal food is not easy, not impossible either. If you find a mosque then there will surely be Muslim people making halaal food. So do not despair. Fresh fruit already peeled and sliced can be bought ready-made – served in a small plastic bag and with a kebab skewer.
Walking around at night is safe even for females. Not once did I feel unsafe even though some roads were quite dark with very few street lights. There are so many massage places that I am surprised that I have not yet had one. One hour Thai massages are 350 Baht (ZAR 100) so it is on my to do list.
My time is Bangkok was too short so I should give it another chance. My first impression is that it is too loud, smelly, busy but I didn’t get to see all of it so I will have to go back.
I will do a Bangkok in pictures post during the week once I have had time to go through all my photos.