Last time I was here I didn’t like this place. I thought it was busy, dirty, messy and I didn’t have a clue how to go from one place to another.
But last time I only stayed 3 days, didn’t do a lot of research beforehand, didn’t use much of a map and didn’t stay in the regular backpackers area (situated around Khaosan road). Last time I was lucky to meet a couple I met in Indonesia that were here before and we went to the same, more quiet (and I mean QUIET) hotel. But most importantly, I was homesick and just wanted to see my friends in Sri Lanka again before I returned home.
This time however, I was determined to give Bangkok another chance. I took a few maps at the airport, asked around how to get to the areas with a lot of guest houses, and found a nice guesthouse in a small street behind Khoa san road next to the river. I soend a lot more time socialising with fellow backpackers and locals and made a few good friends that I spend a lot of time with. It also helps if you get a map that has the map with the bus schedule, so you can find your way around cheaper and you actually know where you are. If you ask a tuk tuk or taxi driver to take you somewhere, it’s a guess where the hell you end up.
Still, if you have a map and a compass, getting lost in Bangkok is hard. For those of you who’ve seen “the Hangover part 2”, Bangkok is just not the city that claims people if you get lost… always a 7-11 close by where you can find a map or ask a local where you are or stop a taxi to bring you back to Khao san.
Intially I thought about going straight down south to Koh Tao and dive and find work there. But I’ve already been there and I wanted to explore more of Thailand before I ended up in the same place again. So I went to Chiang Mai first. I didn’t regret it. Chiang Mai is a relaxed little town that’s big enough to be a city, and small enough that you can go everywhere with a bike or bicycle. Again, made a bunch of friends here, saw a few of the touristic sights, went bungee jumping, ziplining through the trees, and did a Muay Thai class… not long enough, only a week. The rest is for next time I go there.
Because I had to extend my VISA I went to Vientiane in Laos. As started happening more often, I planned to stay there for 2-3 days at most to get a new VISA, but ended up staying for more than a week because I liked Vientiane and met some cool backpackers with lots of stories. I now regret not having spend more time there. I hear Luang Prabang is also very nice, a bit like Chiang Mai.
After Laos, I went back to Bangkok with the plan to just stay a few days, and then head to Koh Tao before the season ended. But when I got in BKK other backpackers informed me that there was absolutely no room whatsoever on Koh Tao, they had a water shortage and electricity problems. I asked my friends from the diving schools I visited last time, and they confirmed this. So I waited a bit and spend some more time in and around Bangkok. I went to the tiger temple, the bridge over the river Kwai and the floating markets. I missed Ayodhaya, that will be for next time 🙂
When things were starting to get less crowded there, I went for Koh Tao.