*This post was originally published on October 7th, 2011 on amywarcup.com
Generally, it is wise to always bear this in mind, especially when traveleing internationally. My plan had been to depart from Bangkok this Sunday, and spend three days in Ayutthaya, which was the Siamese capital from 1350 ACE – 1767 ACE, before the city was destroyed by the Burmese army. The old city is only about an hour and a half drive north of Bangkok. The prefered mode of site-seeing in Ayutthaya is via Elephant ride. There is a very large non-profit elephant conservation program in Ayutthaya. As you can imagine, I was quite excited about this visit, but…most of the city is several feet beneath water, due to recent flooding, and some of it has even started to reach Bangkok. The owners of the guest house in Ayutthaya actually told me to cancel my reservation. So, just as I was pondering on how I’m feeling ready to leave Bangkok, I discovered I’ll be here an extra three nights. I decided to make reservations at a different hotel in another neighborhood for the three extra nights. This way, it would feel like something new. Lonley Planet recommends Lamphu Tree Hotel in Banglamphu. I promptly made a booking.
I wandered around Bangkok quite a bit, and found some interesting restaurants, such as this one:
I decided to take the sky train (which is public transporation at its finest, and most convenient) to the much-raved about MBK shopping mall, which is packed with thousands of stores and stands selling items such as electronics, clothing, silk, umbrellas, etc. Many stands and stores looked the same, row after row. The six-story building is so huge that I got lost five times, and it took me over an hour to figure out how to exit this ostentatious monster-mall. I did, however, meet a very kind Scottish tourist who has visited Bangkok many times. She gave me suggestions of some destinations to explore. So, …some tourists are actually friendly, I learned.
After spending three days solo in Bangkok, I was beginning to feel lonely. I was grateful to have met a young Thai woman in Rochester the week before I departed, and she linked me up with her parents, who live in Bangkok. We made plans to connect on Friday to visit the famous Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho. In the meantime, I decided that I could either sulk in loneliness, or take an evening stroll to explore my neighborhood. I chose the latter. Silom is a very lively area of Bangkok (although…which area isn’t?). My hotel is practically next to the Patpong Night Market, as well as a slew of endless clubs, coffeehouses, outdoor cafes, and massage centers. I went for a stroll. Thailand really is a friendly place, even in the massive Bangkok. I sat and people-watched for an hour at an outdoor cafe. Later, I strolled onto a funky neon-lit street, which I was soon to learn is called “boy town.” Bangkok, incidentally, is a very gay-friendly city. So, here I met my new pal, Chai, who recently authored a candid and heartbreaking autobiography about his early life in the Bangkok prostitution industry. I bought one of his books, titled “Bangkok Boy,” which he personally signed. I would like to add that Chai, despite his unfortunate childhood, is quite a character. He had me laughing for about an hour.
4 Responses to Expect the unexpected……
Rab says:October 8, 2011 at 11:26 am
Loving your blog! Thanks for sharing all the pics, too. I’m so glad you’re meeting friendly people. Wish I could meet Chai, too! He looks fun.
Carol Hankin says:
October 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm
So nice to see you enjoying your trip and making new friends!
October 16, 2011 at 6:29 pm
Amy, I have been thinking of you and spoke with Barron yesterday. He shared some of your adventures. Sounds as though you were having an unforgettable adventure. We can’t wait to hear your tails when you return. Love, Annette