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The Thai chronicles, part 1: Bangshock

I know friends and family will want to know what I’ve been up in Thailand. After all, it’s not every day I take a month out to cross the world alone. In fact, it’s never before. I’ve long regretted not making time after graduation to take a breather and wander a little, before jumping into the inevitable and mundane routine of work.

So for you – and my own enjoyment – I’ve kept a travel diary. Some of this recalls the most stupid and unfortunate things I’ve encountered. I have a good idea which people may enjoy reading about these episodes most. Other parts are unnecessarily detailed and pointlessly anecdotal. They’re my favorite bits.

I’ve tried to includes tips and recommendations from my time in South East Asia, to make this somewhat useful too. I hope these can help those who intend to visit Thailand, or convince you to if this amazing country isn’t yet on your bucket list. Enjoy.

Day 0

The big trip begins! Unlike most of my mates I don’t actually think I’m going to die on my travels, but I’m definitely shitting it a little now it’s happening. I’ve never been that far before. Or, crucially, solo.

I leave from Paris, first time in an A380 plane. It’s Qatar Airlines, classier than my usual Easyjet gig. They have onboard DVD players, with all Star Wars films. The 15 hour flight may not be long enough after all.

Asked for a glass of red. The hostess accidentally serves it in a broken cups, which she leakes all over the ladies sat next to me. I find it funny. They don’t.

Stopped in Doha to switch flights. Cool airport. Nearly left my boarding pass in a Burger King tray – first bullet dodged. It’s now technically Day 1. Taking off again at 2am, or is it 3? Tired now.

Day 1

Landing in Bangkok. It’s midday locally, early morning for me. Lagging hard. Got mugged by the cab driver at the airport, but was tired and forgot to ask him to put the meter on. He picks out his nose hair to pass time while stuck in traffic.

Saw a woman with 4 kids on one motorbike. The traffic in Bangkok is an absolute nightmare, so there are a lot of mopeds – and considerably fewer helmets. Those Michael Jackson germ prevention masks seem more popular. Not sure how helpful they would be in the event of a crash.

My hotel, the Diamond House, is nice and quiet. It is air conditioned, seemingly bug-free and there is apparently a jacuzzi at the top. I’m staying here first 2 nights.

Went to check out the notorious Khao San road just a few minutes away, which is widely regarded as the main backpacker hub in South East Asia. Had a couple of fancy cocktails, street food and Thai massage number 1. Spent under 1000 baht for everything, around 20 quid. Need to make the massage a daily thing. Early night.

Day 2

I wake up super early because of the lag, and decide to explore. It’s nice to walk around in the quiet, early hours of morning and see locals set up shop for the day. I’ve heard you need to cover your knees to get into temples, so I’m rocking jeans. It’s already boiling hot. I’ll later find out the knee ban mainly applies to women.

There are portraits of the king on lots of building facades, which is a bit North Korea. I had lovely crispy pork and rice for breakfast. It’s the standard thing to eat to rice 3 times a day.

Went to visit the Grand Palace. It’s absolutely amazing. All visiting locals wear black because of a national mourning day to the old and recently departed king. I didn’t get that memo, and naturally picked a white t-shirt. I stick out like a Brexiter in a library.

After walking a fair bit I decide to grab a tuk tuk, the quirkly little local taxis, to see other monuments. They drive me around for 3 hours for only 100 baht! Drivers get commission when their customers buy stuff though, so he keeps stopping at shops. At least 3 people tried to sell me a tailor-made suit, I settled for a golden bottle opener. Didn’t need that.

The architecture in central Bangkok is stunning. I feel like Indiana Jones in the Temple of Doom. Saw some white people wear the MJ masks #BadEra. Thai massage number 2, followed by the hotel jacuzzi. Tough afternoon. First night out in Kao San, street party. Phone stolen. Good start. Fucking fuming. SHIT.

Check out part 2 here.

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