GETTING SCAMMED, ROOFTOP BARS & BANGKOK’S BEST HOSTEL
MY FIRST TASTE OF BANGKOK
Arrived in Bangkok after Kanchanaburi with a few hours to spare before check-in so decided to see what Bangkok had to offer
Typically I had a bit of an issue on the way though. Heading down the footpath there was a flock of pigeons going crazy and me not having a rabies jag decided to take no chances and cross the road. But before I could an old lady came to me and tried to hand me some bird seed – think Pigeon Woman from Home Alone. I told her no thanks and tried to walk on but she wasn’t taking no for an answer – “please it’s good luck.” It was then I realised something was up, gave her a quick smile and tried to continue on.
IT WAS THEN I REALISED I WAS F**KED
Realising I wasn’t for giving in she took my hand threw the birdseed in and shock my hand to spread it around. “F*$k” I thought, how much is this going to cost me. And straight away they demanded 150bhat (£3). £3 is £3 but principle is principle (check out my other post on this) and I told them no. Well didn’t she lose the rag and 2 appeared (without teeth) and squared up to me.
I don’t carry a wallet but had a few 1000 bhat on me as it was early in the day and I was doing some sightseeing. Probably the reason they were in that very place. So I placed my hand in my pocket and got lucky with 2 20bhat notes. They said it wasn’t enough but that was all they were getting and I was off, walking straight through the birds without a care for rabies. I have warned everyone in the hostel since and you’d be surprised how many people have came back and seen the birds but knew to cross the road.
WHERE IS BANGKOK?
RECLINING BUDDHA AND THE ROYAL PALACE
Anyway the Lying Buddha (Reclining Buddha) and Royal Grand Palace were pretty special but I’ve not seen a busier place! Be sure to wear at least a t shirt and trousers to cover your shoulder and legs otherwise you are able to purchase some albeit for 500 Bhat! As you can see I came across some con women before I even entered the facilities but be aware to come across everything from pickpockets to people trying to sell you fake tickets, of which can be bought inside the complex. I don’t expect many people to have any issues but keep an eye out for the tourist police, they are incredibly helpful if and when you need them.
Lying Buddha (Wat Pho) – Simply a huge gold Buddha lying down. A symbol of Buddhism this is common in countries across Asia as it represents the historical Buddha during his last illness.
Royal Grand Palace Palace – The official residence of the King since 1782 the Grand Palace is to Thailand what Buckingham Palace is to the United Kingdom.
- The complex is almost never closed so don’t believe if a Taxi/tuktuk driver tells you so
- Bring clothing which covers shoulders and long pants, otherwise you can join a long queue to buy some
- Go early in the morning, the crowds are insane otherwise!
- In trouble? Get in touch with the tourist police who can be found outside the complex, incredibly helpful and honest
The following day a few of us took a taxi boat down the river to visit another area. These boats run a little like buses stopping every few hundred metres at either side of the Chao Phraya River which was a great way to see the city from another perspective.
NAP PARK HOSTEL
Stayed in probably the best hostel yet, Nap Park. There aren’t an awful lot of facilities but it’s the easiest place I’ve found to get to know people. It was a recommendation and I wondered why it was so special until 20 of us ended up organising a night out together. The only common area is in the reception and it’s just a huge mattress on the floor so everyone ends up almost sitting on top of each other so it’s not hard to get to know everyone. It started off with 1 or 2 of us talking and then before we knew it we had about half the hostel joining us to the SkyBar at the Lebua Tower.
SKYBAR, LEBUA TOWER
It’s the bar from the movie The Hangover which serves a specially made Heinkien that’s only sold here and costs £13, one of my least favourite beers but when in Rome!! Bangkok is full of rooftop bars and I would highly recommend visiting at least one but do check the dress code first, as most (Lebua Tower included) requires you to wear trousers. Skybar isn’t strict on formal wear just as long as you are wearing at least trousers and a t shirt. One of the guys who came with us wore what can only be described as Hi Vis trousers and there wasn’t an issue
If you plan to go, the taxi drivers know the score and double the fare as they know how much you’ll be paying for drinks so naturally they’ll want a slice. Generally taxi drivers in Bangkok aren’t that bad, of course they will try and get a little more money out of you but will back down if you talk to them firmly but always be respectful.
From there it was back to Khaosan Road because none of us could afford another drink. Khaosan Road is the main backpacker street in Bangkok where everyone goes just to get drunk. It can be absolute carnage at times but always entertaining. If you aren’t a huge drinker you still must visit, have a coffee at one of the quieter bars and people watch or head to a few of the rooftop bars which can be quite chilled. Although they do lack the views of the bars in the city. Nap Park is located just 100 yards away on an adjacent street so you’ve got the convenience of the parties without the noise if you are looking some sleep.
Could almost say this day was perfect even considering getting hounded by 3 pigeon women. This scam would set me up to become more aware of these kind of situations as they would get more and more frequent. Nap Park was another blessing as I would end up bumping into several people I met as I made my way along the South East Asia backpacker trail. Not to forget Bangkok would go on to be one of my favourite cities, the chaos is like nothing you would ever experience.
Heading down to the islands tomorrow and meeting up with the Americans; Dusty and Mike, cannot wait to see them. Will be doing my Advanced scuba certification, click to read about how we ended up swimming with a huge Whale Shark!
SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
This post is part of The South East Asia Series, for the next article click here.
- I love Bangkok, what did you think?
- Have you ever been scammed?
- What is your favourite thing to do in Bangkok?
Let me know in the comments below . . .