We arrived into Bangkok at 6am today and, of course, our hotel didn’t yet have our room ready. With our backpacks dropped off, we were disgorged into the area of the Khao San Road by 7:30am – not the neighbourhood’s best time of day it must be said. The Khao San Road is at this point in time the same kind of hideous party street as Bourbon St in New Orleans, and first thing it is a ghastly mix of stale beer smell and knots of still partying girls. But even in this most unprepossessing of situations, I was excited to be here. Just a couple of blocks from the detritus of a rough night there’s a market setting up, and street stalls already grilling breakfast treats. We stopped off for our very first Thai meal: sticky rice and banana wrapped in banana leaf and grilled. Simple and delicious, the rice tasted richer than at home.
Next stop was coffee and the main market street soon delivered. These two nice ladies coped gracefully with the foreigners who didn’t speak a word of Thai and I short order poured us coffees sweetened with condensed milk. They know us so well already…
With immediate needs dealt with, we spent a while wandering round the market. It’s not a special one I don’t think, just a neighbourhood feeling place, which was all the more welcome in such a touristy location. We passed candy and bakery stalls that appealed as well as several stalls that I had no idea what to do with their food. This is kind of a new sensation for me. It’s not that I didn’t know what the food would taste like or if I would like it – I literally had no idea if they were selling something to eat now or to take home and use as a store cupboard item. I had no way of asking and could imagine the hilarity if the farong couple started chowing down on some flavouring paste or marinade. I’m fairly sure these were desserts of some kind. Or maybe fish treats? Yeah I basically have no idea.
I feel like we’ve been all over the city today, though we really only saw a couple of neighbourhoods. We picked up a tuk tuk, which was part of a scam bringing tourists to gem stores and tailors. I think we managed to scam our driver right back, since we haggled him down to a tiny cost to take us to several tourist sites and then didn’t buy anything in any of his shops. What we did was see several wats and temples, filled with more Buddhas than you can shake a stick at. We drove round Thewit and Dusit and walked around Ko Ratanakosin and Banglamphu. Our final stop, Wat Pho was spectacularly beautiful, filled with the decorated towers called stupas (although point that top part down to ninety degrees and then tell me are Thai temples secretly monuments to the Dalek???)