“Travel is very subjective. What one person loves, another loathes…
If you want exotic, I would say Bangkok, Thailand.” – Robin Leach
I first visited Bangkok in 2009 when I was still living in Singapore. Bangkok is close to Singapore that girls from Singapore go here for one sole reason: Shopping.
But believe it or not, I. HATE. SHOPPING.
So I thought, maybe I could just visit Bangkok some other time. When looking for next destination, I always put it aside for other more interesting adventure, not until we planned too late in 2009’s Chinese New Year that we decided to go to Bangkok because it was the cheapest option during that time. I wasn’t that jumping for joy about our decision so we thought of combining it with a backpack trip to Cambodia.
Bangkok is known as the International Gateway for Southeast Asia, most of the backpackers begins and ends their Asian tour here. So I thought, okay maybe we just go with the flow and enjoy our stay, then just expect something great when we go to Cambodia.
And yes, I was all wrong about it. It turned out — It was one of my most unforgettable travel adventure to date!
Before I tell you about that unforgettable “adventure”, let me tell you first the other things we did whilst there ;)
First, we chose to stay in Khaosan Area. It’s the backpacker’s ghetto in Bangkok. We checked-in at Sawasdee Krungthep Inn because it has triple sharing room with own bathroom and with breakfast for S$50/night! We love the ambiance of the area even if our hotel is even worst than a backpacker’s hostel! Anyway, it’s only our place to sleep and shower. All day we were out anyway.
Khaosan Area is popular with boutique hotels, guesthouses and backpacker’s hostels, so bars, restaurants and night market is also side by side. You can walk-in but during weekends and peak season, almost everywhere is fully booked. To be safe, book online and internet rates are cheaper ;)
From our hotel, it’s just a walking distance to some of the popular Bangkok first-timers like us then. We went to the following places:
1. Grand Palace, you’ve never been to Bangkok if you didn’t go here. Inside is where their King lives (the most respected and adored King by his people that I’ve known, and he is currently the longest reigning King all over the world) and this is where you can find the Emerald Buddha. Entrance fee is S$15 and must wear proper dress code, though borrowing sarong is free ;)
2. Temple of the Reclining Buddha, the largest temple in Bangkok and the largest Buddha in Gold. Entrance fee is around S$5 only and not so strict in dress code.
3. Chao Prhaya Canal, we took boat around it costs S$15 each only.
4. Temple of the Dawn, I thought it was called that way because it’s beautiful at night, but there’s a story behind it, something like a King arrived when the dawn was breaking during his way out from their opponents. (Burmese I believe)
5. Floating Market, we went to the most popular one, the Damnoen Saduak (about 110kms from Bangkok, 1.5 hour travel) where the James Bond movie was filmed. I think on this one we’ve been ripped off, we paid S$30 per head, we were in a rush to make it on time to Tiger Temple that’s why we didn’t bargain at all, we just hopped on the boat right away haha!
6. Tiger Temple, located at Kanchanuburi around 200kms from Bangkok, another 2 hours travel from Damnoen Floating Market. Entrance is S$25 and dress code applies like Grand Palace temple, but here no red or pink clothing are allowed. This is one place that I visited in Thailand that I regret the most. I feel sad for the tigers’ condition in there. But well, I’m one of those stupid tourists that patronized it sad to say…
7. For Shopping spree, go to Chatuchak Weekend Market and Pratunam Market, but since we didn’t have much time to go here but night market, so we did our shopping in Khaosan. Price is not as cheap at the Chatuchak and Pratunam though. Though the tuktuk driver took us to MBK even if we asked him to take us to Platinum Mall, which is much cheaper and has more shops.
8. And lastly, we went to Patpong to watch the infamous “Pingpong Show”! And here’s where our Bangkok adventure began haha!
We bagan by walking along the Patpong Road to find a good “pingpong” show. There will a lot of touters offering you their “menu”. Uh-huh! They have menu for that LOL! Then we settled for one menu that offers 150baht only. We went up to a dodgy bar and the moment we get in they closed the door. Looks suspicious already but I when I saw other tourists sitting at the other tables, I felt relief.
Then the show began with beautiful lady dancing then followed by below-average looking young girls, old ladies and ladyboys doing exhibitions using their you-know-what. It’s called “Pingpong Show” because of what their you-know-what can do with the pingpong balls! Until one of my girlfriends noticed that they always put a glass of drink on our table and the exhibitionists would aim the ball there, she suspected right then that these people are charging those “wasted” drinks to us, and she was right! We decided to leave and get the bill, and it was 4,000 baht already!
To our horror we complained at first, but they are trained to this kind of scenarios that they applied intimidation and threats to us. My friend Monalee and I were terrified, but RH and Jean remained calm. To cut it short, while I was already thinking that they will make us sex slaves (LOL!) if we don’t pay, Monalee and I tried to flee but they pulled us back. Then that was the time when Jean freaked out! She was just waiting for them to lay their hands on any of us then she will freak out! Very clever girl hehe. She shouted back louder than theirs and threaten them back also about making a phone call to her friend who is a police, and you know what? It worked! Hahaha!
They were even trying to hide their smirks from us but they just let us go just paying the initial amount we agreed. I know from their faces that they want to laugh at us for fighting back, because perhaps they thought they can intimidate us (well it worked with me and Monalee haha!) and that they were wrong hehe. RH and Jean were warned about this scam and intimidation, but we were still tyrannized but these abusive bars! The most traumatic experience I had, but now I can just laugh at it! I am so thankful that RH and Jean were with us, otherwise I really don’t know how to handle such things hahaha! LOL again with my thoughts of us becoming sex slaves :D