Boats - the best way of transport in Bangkok
After 3 days the sun finally showed up for the first time since I arrived to Bangkok. This finally gave me enough energy to start sight seeing. I aimed to visit the beautiful buddhist temples in the old town. My accomodation was relatively far away from all the sights, which were all relatively close to the old town center.
In Bangkok it is advisable to take the BTS, a skytrain which is run on stilts all the way. The trains are usually on time and it is a good way to avoid the traffic jams. However, this means of transport does not go as far as the city centre. Here it is better to take a boat. Through Bangkok many waterways run both wide and narrow. The River Express Boat heads for the famous temple complexes of Bangkok.
First I visited the magnificent Royal Palace, the former residence of the King of Thailand. Every visitor has to follow a strict dress code. Solid shoes and long trousers are obligatory. But one can buy trousers and plastic shoes.
The building complex includes several palaces, all of which are richly decorated with tiles and ceramics. The foundation stone was laid in 1782, when Bangkok was declared the capital of Thailand. The complex includes Wat Phra Kaeo, the holiest of all Thai temples, which houses the consecrated Emerald Buddha. However, this is not covered with emeralds, but with jade.
The palace complex is really unbelievably beautiful and it is astonishing how detailed the individual buildings and sculptures were built. Many of them are even covered with gold.
The temples Wat Pho & Wat Arun
From there I walked on to Wat Pho, the oldest and biggest temple in Bangkok. Here you can visit the huge 46 m long and 15 m high statue of the lying Buddha, completely covered with gold leaf. Nowadays the temple is also known as a training centre for herbal medicine and traditional massage.
Afterwards I got back on the boat, because on the other side of the river is the Wat Arun temple, on the western bank of the Chaophraya river. It stems from the 17th century and has a 79 m high tower decorated with colorful ceramic tiles, which makes it a prominent landmark on the river. The effect of the tiles can best be observed from a distance.
Another day I visited Wat Saket. This temple lies on a 79 meters high, artificially piled up mountain, crowned with a golden Chedi, to which 318 steps lead up. It is one of the biggest attractions of Bangkok. You have nice view of the skyline from there.
Khao San Rhoad
In the evening I ate vegetarian food in the old town in the excellent restaurant May Kaidee. For a good price I got a rice dish and vegetarian sushi with fruit juice. It is located in a small side street, near the Khao San Rhoad, which is especially popular with backpackers. The 400 meter long street in the center of the city is lined with several accommodation facilities, pubs, restaurants, antique shops, tailor shops, street vendors, tattoo shops and travel agencies. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to explore it in the evening when it is the most lively. My night quarters were too far away from it.
Interesting talks with a Russian climber girl
To get back I took the bus, but it took ages in the Bangkok traffic and I sweated myself half to death in the unair conditioned bus. Later that evening I met the Russian girl Yulia, who was travelling to Bangkok on the same flight as me (without having seen each other there).
We visited the Asiatique Riverfront, a big open air shopping mall, which is connected to Bangkok's biggest Ferris wheel (almost 60 meters). Yulia, the professional climber, like me a vegetarian, explained to me some differences between men and women. Her view "the man makes the decisions" would be frowned upon in Western societies and she assured me that it is in the nature of men not to talk so much. Well, talking is definitely not my strength.
Thai girls love Western men
The next day I met her again for lunch and later I met the young Thai woman Jureerat. A typical Thai: slim, small, slightly dark complexion, deep black hair, friendly and cheerful, with warm heart. In the bar we visited together, I paid 15 € for my cocktail. Of course we were in Thong Lor, otherwise the prices in Bangkok are not so high.
It is baffling, not to say almost shocking, how many Western men throughout Bangkok go hand in hand with a young Thai woman. Western men, "farang", as the Thais say, are very popular here. For young Thai girls, Western men are the easiest and fastest way to escape the precarious conditions of their country. Some of them do not shy away from striking age differences and enter into sugar-daddy relationships with western, at times obese pensioners. Never before have I seen so many international relationships between local women and foreign men as in Thailand.
Exploring the red light districts
Bangkok is best known for its red light districts, and there is not just one of them. With the Thai girl Sasha from my apartment complex I visited the red light district Nana Plaza, where we also met the Ukrainian Viktorija who was working as an English teacher in China at that time. I had never seen her before and was immediately delighted when I saw her standing there in her plaid skirt and blond dyed hair. Her model-like beauty confirmed again my opinion that the most beautiful women come from the Ukraine. With these two women I had a great time at Nana Plaza. We drank a few beers and went to a bar with rock music.
The Thai girl didn't tolerate much alcohol and had to say goodbye quickly. With the Ukrainian I moved on to the next red light district called Soi Cowboy which is in walkable distance from Nana Plaza.
We were shocked how tame and passive the Thai girls were dancing here at the bar. It was rather a pure meat inspection. If you as a man take a look at one of the dancers, she immediately comes up to you and you can take her home for a certain time if you want to.
Even more aggressive are the "Ladyboys", for whom Thailand is so famous. These are the notorious men who have undergone surgery to become women.They are usually very pretty and at first sight it is not noticeable that they are not real women. Many of these ladyboys talked to me or even pulled my arm in these red light districts. Another one even hugged me and kissed me on the cheek. The scene (especially his deep voice) I can't get out of my head so fast haha!
Another one was so pushy that I had to hit him on the hand because he wanted to touch my cock.
All this makes the flair of Bangkok a bit kinky. I also saw a Christmas tree decorated with condoms. It was in front of the restaurant called "Cabbages & Condoms".
Because of the new regulations all business have to close here at 3 o'clock, earlier it was until 5 o'clock. On the way back home the rats and cockroaches crossed my way.
A night market close to the train station
With the Ukrainian woman I visited a club and the Train Night Market Ratchada, which is located next to an old train station. In general I don't like markets very much, because too many people in one heap and aggressive sellers. On this market it was not much different. There were many exotic dishes and drinks like the Durian fruit, also known as puke fruit, which is forbidden in some subways because of its unpleasant smell. The fruit has a very strange taste that combines the taste of a fruit and that of an onion.
Everywhere it was oppressively hot because of the cooking heat. At some tables, some Chinese people ate in medieval style and with their hands on a large piece of meat - a barbaric spectacle. We ate Tom Yum with shrimps, a sweet and sour dish, but we didn't like it at all. Otherwise the Thai food tasted pretty good. Very exotic, often with coconut milk, lemongrass, coriander, rice, sea food, papaya etc.
Bangkok a shopping paradise
Bangkok is also a heaven for shoppers around the world with products ranging from high-end brands to street brands, and affordable (local) products to serve all level of customers. Besides, the malls are currently upgraded from to become fashion and lifestyle centers. As a result, shopping malls can serve all demands of customers including dining, shopping, and hanging out.
My Thai buddy recommended to visit the Iconsiam Shopping Mall. This high-end shopping mall was completed only a few months before. It cost more than $1.5 billion and is one of the biggest shopping complexes in Asia. It houses all the luxury brands, so it's rather out of my field, but it was still nice to walk through this gigantic complex. There was also a small food market there.
A lot of massage parlors and a lot of traffic
A visit to Bangkok would not be complete without a massage. Massages are offered at every corner. Depending on th seriosity of the salon, you have the option of a "happy ending" at the end. In my case, I chose a serious salon called Massage Le. For just under $13 I got a 45 minute foot scrub.
After 11 days I said goodbye to Bangkok. But before that I was stuck in a traffic jam for 1.5 hours to get from the center of the city to the bus station. Bangkok is just huge and there is almost always traffic jam. It is advisable to always take the BTS (train above the clouds) or the Metro (underground train), which however only go to certain places in the city (and not to the bus station I wanted to go to).