Day 1 – Bangkok – Wednesday March 2nd 2011
The flight to Thailand from London took a long time. The first leg to Mumbai was exciting, and we were all in high spirits in anticipation of seeing Bangkok for the first time. Mumbai to Bangkok was one of the strangest flights I’ve ever been on. It was full of noisy blokes on some sort of stag party. To add to the strange atmosphere, there was an Indian slapstick movie for in-flight entertainment which the stag party noisily enjoyed.
I had managed to plan our escape from the airport and into a Taxi-Meter (metered taxi) for the trip to our first ever hostel. Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport has an ingenious taxi-liason system where English speaking staff take details of your destination and relay it to the Thai taxi drivers. For first-time travellers in a strange city this was extremely helpful, and helped us avoid any scams from unofficial taxis.
The drive was fast. Scarily fast. but we felt pretty safe as we went from toll roads and motorways to densely packed roads between brightly lit tower blocks. The big surprise came when the driver stopped at a red light, unzipped his trousers, and started to piss into a plastic bottle. When you gotta go, don’t let a car full of passengers stop you! Luckily for Frank he was fast asleep in the front seat, but the girls in the back got a face-full of the smell when he stowed it in front of the air conditioning fan.
Welcome to Thailand young traveller. It’s like nowhere you’ve seen before.
Somehow we got to our stylish and modern hostel, Lub D, in one piece. Located in Siam Square, and wedged in between construction sites and high rise tower blocks, it was like a new flower growing from the rubble. The view from the front was dominated by a massive Skytrain Terminal, giving the place a kind of futuristic edge. It reminded me of a post-apocalyptic movie set, where the harsh modern new structures provide a stark contrast to the old traditional buildings and temples.
I thought Portsmouth was densely populated until I saw this place.