Our first impressions of Bangkok came on the taxi ride from the metro station to our hotel. We both expected traffic to be crazy in southeast Asia, but actually experiencing it was eye opening. Thankfully we arrived in one piece and checked into the pleasant Fortville Guesthouse for a good night’s sleep. The next day we walked to the temple complex of Wat Pho. The hardest part of walking there (apart from the heat) was fending off the near constant appeals from tuk tuk drivers eager to give us a lift. We were skeptical of their advances and chose to walk instead. As our first Asian historical site, it was pretty cool. They have a huge reclining Buddha and lots of ornate temples and stupas. We wandered around until we were too hot and tired to continue.
Bangkok is somewhat of a chaotic city. For example, the power lines along the streets are a crazy jumble that makes me cringe. And every street and narrow alley is chock full of tiny shops or living spaces. It’s truly unlike anything I’ve experienced before.
The next day was another scorcher. We were hot and sweaty by the time we walked to the Museum of Siam. It was an ok museum detailing human history in the Thailand area. That evening we wandered around our neighborhood and stumbled on the very touristy Khao San street. This is a hot spot for tourists which means there are a lot of locals trying to make a buck off those tourists. As we walked along we saw a busy mix of market stalls selling souvenirs, sidewalk massage parlors dispensing foot rubs, food carts selling everything from fruit to meat on a stick, travel agencies, bars blaring music, tuk tuk drivers looking for passengers, restaurant hostesses urging us to sit at their tables, and, of course, the occasional whispered invitation to a show of an adult nature. It was sensory overload and we were glad to get back to our room for another restful night.