Bangkok was the first destination of a 5 months travel (& study) adventure and, like with every journey I make, I did not spend any time on preparing myself, reading a travel guide or get an idea of what exactly I wanted to see at the destination.
Luckily, my travel buddy and close friend, who traveled with me, has the same approach. So we blindly walked out of the hotel after arriving the evening before and had no clue where to go and how. We examined the city map we got from the hotel’s reception and were just about to gain kind of an orientation when a local inhabitant friendly asked us wether we are lost and looking for directions …
„No, thanks we are just having a look. We’ll be fine.“ was our first distant answer, not used to this welcoming friendliness.
„Well, is it your first time in Bangkok?“ the old man called Chai replied, not dispirited by our first dismissal. And after all we found ourselves in a lively conversation with this stranger, who turned out to be our personal tourist guide for the rest of the day since he had some time to kill while waiting for a train.
This just turned out to be a perfect and unforgettable first day of this great journey. Things couldn’t have started off any better.
And here is what parts of Bangkok Chai showed us in one day:
1. We started off in CHINATOWN, followed by a public bus drive through INDIA TOWN that took us the colorful FLOWER MARKET.
This walking around and inhaling the foreign culture and lifestyle is exactly THE way I enjoy visiting new places, rather than rushing from one sight to the other, lining up with dozens of tourists and paying overpriced entrance fees. But well – spoiler alert – we could not 100% get around it, like with our next stop:
2. In the „Wat Kalayanamit“ temple we were impressed by the size und golden pomposity of the first Buddha statue we saw. There were many more to come you can figure^^.
Did you know? The Thai Buddha is skinny, whereas the Chinese Buddha is the thick one.
3. In a small boat we cruised down the „Khlang Bangkok Yai“ channel, which is surrounded by local family’s houses. Along the way we fed some fish, which is supposed to bring good luck. During our boat cruise we suddenly stopped at one of the houses, which was a bit scary in the first place.
Just dropping by a strangers home is not something we would ever consider to do in Europe, where we rather lock our doors and call the police in case a stranger comes to close to our house.
It was amazing and enlightening to experience this kind of hospitality when the family, that lives in the house, invited us in their home just by passing by their backyard (which is the channel indeed). The family served us beer, crisps and fresh fruit and we had an interesting and nice chat – partly in English, partly with hands and feet^^.
After this nice and silent stop-over in the middle of the lively and vibrant city of Bangkok we had to say good bye to Chai and continue our city trip like „mainstream“ tourists.
THANK YOU Chai for this truly unforgettable and special day, on which we did not only get to know Bangkok, but rather got a glance behind the scenes of this city as well as the Thai culture.
I am happy that I can share this story within Tina’s blog parade on her great Choices of Life blog. Follow this link and get enchanted by many, many more unforgettable travel stories. Watch out – you might get travel bugs.