Firsts Impressions: Bangkok
As soon as we landed in Asia, the first city we steped in was Bangkok. For Simon was already the third (or maybe even fourth) time that he was visiting the city, but for me was a very first moment and I collected a lot of first impressions to share with you. Remember: this is not a negative post. This is only what I could feel different from the places I have been already. So when I mention the facts, read it not as a bad critique, but a very unique experience for me.
I can’t believe I am in Asia
This was actually my first thought when arriving at the airport. Before meeting Simon, I never put Asia in any near plan of travel. I wanted to go to Japan one day and maybe also visiting the China Wall, but I never gave any deep thought about anything else around here (yes, I am still in Asia while writting this post, but not Thailand anymore, now I am at Vietnam!).
After a few days traveling around Thailand and Cambodia, I understood why those Asian countries where not really in my plans of travel. Simply because I am from Brazil. The reality on those countries is pretty much the reality in Brazil. There are a lot of poverty, warm weather, dirty streets, fancy palaces (political and religious ones) and a lot of corruption. Usually, when we travel we seek somethings we don’t have at home. We want the new, we want Europe and North America. While travelling on those two continents, you will find a lot of brazilian tourists. But while travelling in Asia you will find many europeans. So, my theory apply pretty well. Usually, brazilian travelers visiting Thailand or Cambodia have already been to Europe or America and Asia is a next destination.
My first steps in Bangkok
We arrived at the airport and started to walk through some corridors to reach the bus stations. While we were walking inside the aiport I was super happy and excited, until we stepped outside: was so warm, so humid and it was so hard to breath. It was indeed a shock. I guess that the temperature was around 33ºC but the real feel was around 40ºC. The problem is that I was traveling from London, so I was wearing a black jeans and a black shirt. Nothing really fresh.
“Wow… I think I can’t breath, babe! It is so warm… I am instantly sticky and sweating. I don’t want to travel here anymore.”
I am not sure if it was exactly those words, but was something pretty close to that I said to Simon. He hold my hand and calmed me down.
“Don’t worry babe, you are going to get used to it. That was just the first impact. As soon as we get to the hotel you are going to put some lighter clothes and all is going to be fine.”
The best boyfriend in the world. He was right. As soon as we got to the hotel, laid under the air conditioner for 15 minutes and changed to something lighter, it was much more tolarable. Also, slowly I could breath normally again. Not mentioning that we are backpacking, so all the heavy weight was also gone. Such a relieve.
You got to have in mind that Bangkok is really near to the Equatorian Line, so it will be warm all year long. We arrived in the very beginning of spring and it was warmer than I ever felt in my life and I lived south Italy for six months during the summer and without a drop of rain.
Yes, this was my very first impression. Maybe not what you were expecting to read, but don’t worry. It comes more.
My second, third and more impressions
I won’t lie. When I thought about Bangkok, I was really thinking about something more Singapure style. Skyscrappers, clean streets, lights and more lights everywhere, hype areas, cool cafes and all mixed up with some very cultural Asian things. What I found in the other hand was completely full streets, trash on the floor everywhere, a really bad smell (combine the burning hot weather and some trash in the floor and you will get the smell), not so many buildings and specially not too tall ones, cables and more cables on the streets poles – I thought Sao Paulo was ugly in this category, but Bangkok won (so far).
I also really have to mention that the public transportation is a mess. Until you understand it right, you already caught the wrong bus. No subways to help. Another option to buses are Taxis and Tuk Tuks. Besides they look super cool and super local, the Tuk Tuks charge triple as a taxi. Maybe even more. Also there are many colours of Taxis, but just two are trustable: the yellow and green ones and the blue ones. The pinky ones are the worst.
On the other hand I found a lot of pretty helpfull people, some with a little of expertise in English, some with none, but the helping hand was impressive even with the lack of communication skills. Bangkok has also very low prices that I am now pretty bad used to it and will be shocking to go back to Europe. Also, there are the stunning temples made with humble materials, but with such a rich construction. I can’t forget about the food! The Thai food (specially the street food) is really delicious!
We spent 3 days in Bangkok and we walked through the old and traditional central areas. Also through the modern urban style and peaceful streets. We also faced the very touristic Khaosan Road. As soon as I got used to the weather, I started to like the city. Of course I was anxious also for going out of there, because Bangkok was just the first destination of an entire Asian tour, but still I could learn that the locals can give you pretty amazing tips for you to save money and not go for the too touristic rotes.
Bangkok reminded me a lot of my home city, Sao Paulo. It is not as big as it, but is actually bigger than I expected! A lot of aspects made me compare one with the other all the time. Specially with the fact that I was in Sao Paulo 4 days before arriving in Bangkok. Besides the language and the religion, I almost felt like back to Brazil.
So far, it was also the place with the most beautiful Buddhist temples as well. Just look to the picture above and you will understand.
Date of our visit to Bangkok: 29.03 – 01.04.2017