Capital of backpackers, Bangkok

This post is part of the Thailand series
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Arrival in Don Muang Airport

For Bangkok we came prepared, we had installed the necessary apps like Grab and offline maps and we had done India before. So leaving the terminal was easy. We got our prepaid sim cards from DTAC and exchanged some cash to get to our Hostel in the centre of Bangkok. The Grab app is even easier to use than Uber, so we got there in a breeze, checked into our dorm and went for food. The hostel owner had a restaurant across the street so we went there for a quick bite.

Because of our late arrival there was not much else to do besides sleeping and resting up for the next day.

Visiting the famous Khao San Road

We booked a hostel close to Khao San Road (Born Free Hostel) because there is where all the action is supposed to be. Only a five minute walk from the hostel was the start of this touristic street, so we went there the next day. We were a little disappointed because of the lack of food stalls and the expensive prices of the restaurants in that street. We didn’t stay long. On our way back to the hostel we ran into a crowd circling a foodstall that was selling freshly made Pad thai. Extremely hungry that we were, we tried it and it was great!

During the rest of the day we just sat at the hostel planning our upcoming trip to the rest of Thailand. The great owner of the hostel sat with us while planning the trip and actually made the entire planning for us. She booked every bus, the border crossing into Laos and even a jungle trekking in Chiang Mai in half an hour. This took a lot of stress of our shoulders and meant that we could completely relax for the following weeks.

Chinatown in Bangkok

You can’t say you have been to Bangkok if you’ve not been to Chinatown. The same day as our visit to Khao San, where we left a little disappointed. We wanted to check the other hotspot in Bangkok. Our hostel rented free bicycles for riding around Bangkok. We thought Bangkok being the capital, that riding a bicycle would be easy and without effort. It wasn’t. Almost nowhere is a designated bicycle lane, so you just have to drive on the streets. Which is really dangerous with the reckless drivers. We had to jump of our bike and go on foot a few times because it just felt to dangerous to drive on the road. But in the end we got there and boy was it glorious!

Chinatown is everything you would expect and more. We felt like we were in the second movie of the Hangover, but in real life. Everything was super colorfull, smells from the foodstalls were coming from all sides and it was super crowded. The only reason we came here was for the (cheap) food ofcourse. We immediately went on a quest for the most gruesome looking food and were not disappointed to find a stall dedicated to our cause. They sold all sorts of fried bugs like giant cockroaches, small snakes, whole frogs, grasshoppers and the one we tried, scorpions!

After trying something new and disgusting, we wanted something more savoury and NOT disgusting. so we found one of the more busier places selling the trusted pad thai and ordered our meals. After our delicious belly stuffing we found some stand selling fresh juices and tea, we ordered some and tried our best to find the way home.

Shortlived shopping spree

The Platinum shopping mall in the centre of Bangkok was calling our name to go for some much needed shopping. We left the hostel without any cash, and only our card. Thinking we would grab some cash from the ATM once there. The Grab dropped us off, we payed and went inside to get some cash from the wall. Then we realized that our bank only lets you withdraw a certain amount of cash on each card every month. And apparently this card was maxed (the only card we brought from the hostel).

With only 200 baht left from the taxi, there was not much shopping to do. We could choose between either having a nice meal in the food court, or keeping the money for our way back to the hostel. Well.. we were hungry so we paid all of the money on some great food. Walking back was only 4.5km so it wasn’t that bad. And we needed to lose the extra calories from the day before anyway.

We got back at the hostel, grabbed our spare card and got the maximum amount of money out of the ATM, just to be safe. In the evening we were feeling a little nostalgic for the real Belgian food, so we went looking for Belgian fries. After not much looking we found a single place in Bangkok selling them. We got there, got some mediocre fries with real Belgian sauce (which is what fries are all about). After that we found some more foodstalls outside, one of them selling the durums we adore in Belgium. Ofcourse we couldn’t say no, so we indulged in that as well.

The Chatuchak market

Our failed shopping left a sour taste in our mouth. Considering it was saturday and there were a lot of weekend markets. We went to the biggest and most visited market of them all. The Chatuchak market with over 8000 stalls was an experience. There was chaos everywhere. The abundance of every type of item you could imagine was astonishing. We really didn’t know where to start so we just went in to experience the giant chaos that was this market.

The prices here are reasonable with almost every item of clothing costing around 100baht (€3). The prices for food were different across all stalls but as always really cheap. We didn’t do much shopping as it was nearly impossible to find what your were looking for. So we just decided to stick with the cheap food we love and walk around the market for the rest of the day.

Our opinion on Bangkok

Bangkok was recommended by a lot of people as a good first stop to start traveling. The stuborn people we were, went to the most difficult country first (India). Now we see why Bangkok was recommended so much. There is a 7-Eleven around every corner (4.000 in Bangkok, 11.000 in Thailand). We had all the supplies a backpacker needs only a 200m walk away from us at all times. There were so many options for food. Public transportation was abundant and easy to use. Locals were really friendly and always happy to help.

We had a great time here and would recommend everyone to visit here for a few days during their Thailand trip.

PS. Our Blog from the Maldives will come soon, we are still waiting on some pictures

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