I arrive into DMK airport in the afternoon. After a half hour on a bus, transferring a couple of times on the BTS Skytrain, and taking the wrong exit and wandering, I finally find the Lub D Hostel. Before I even check in I run into Thor, a fellow blogger that I met in Madrid. We had stayed in contact and found out we’d both be in Thailand at the same time so decided to book the same hostel. I chat with him briefly before check in.
After getting settled, I join Thor and group of people out on the hostel patio. Among many others I meet Anke, from Germany, and Soloman, from Scotland. After awhile, everyone is getting hungry and someone suggests an Italian restaurant. I mention that I’d prefer Thai food, being this is my first night in the country. Thor, Anke, and Soloman all agree. We split off from the group and find a little joint down the road.
The next morning, Thor, Soloman, and I head out towards the center of town to see some temples. The stand-out for me was Wat Pho, where resides the giant reclining Buddha statue. I had heard of this and even seen pictures, but the pictures do it no justice. Until you see it in person, you can not appreciate how enormous this thing is. It measures 46 meters in length and is covered in gold leaf.
After the temple run, we get back to MBK center, which is across the street from our hostel, and catch the last couple rounds of a free Muay Thai fight. Guys beating the shit out of each other is not really my thing, but it was interesting enough to watch live for a few rounds.
Returning to the hostel, I run into Anke who invites me out to a night market. She tells me there are two big ones, one very touristic and close by, and one that’s more of a trek but very local. We decide the local one will be worth the distance.
It takes about 45 minutes to reach via the skytrain and a transfer to the metro. After we get off the metro we wander a bit and can’t find it. We ask a number of people and no one seems to know what we are talking about. About to give up, we finally find some one who points us in the right direction.
We find the night market and it’s amazing. Tons of clothing vendors, but best of all, tons of food stalls. Aisles and aisles of them. None of the signs or menus have any english on them, all Thai, and Anke and I are clearly the only two foreigners here. We both agree, this is the place, this is what we are always looking for when we travel. After having some of the best Pad Thai in our lives, we have a few beers and head back to the hostel fairly early as Anke has to head to the airport at 3am to catch a flight.
The next day I’m raving about the market to Thor and he insists I take him that evening. As we sit around the hostel patio, what starts out as a small group of us going to the night market, turns into about nine or ten. Among others joining us is a fellow American, Madalyn, who is studying in Italy, and Nadija, from Germany.
The whole mass of us head back that evening to the night market. We sample all types of stuff, including bugs, which had been on my list of things to try. Thor and a few others had tried them the night before when they were out and about, but Madalyn, Nadija and I had not had them yet. We buy an assortment of grubs, crickets, and grasshoppers. They aren’t too bad. Very salty, very crispy.
Earlier that day Soloman, Madalyn, an Australian we just met named Kingsley, and I go to the train station to look into tickets. Soloman and I want to head to Chiang Mai Friday night via sleeper train. Unfortunately Friday is all booked. So is Saturday. So is Sunday. We can’t get a train until Monday. Looks like my stay in Bangkok has been extended.
Friday, we all see Thor off to his bus. He is headed out to see a friend and fellow blogger before heading into Myanmar. Later that night I see Madalyn off to her train to Surat Thani, where she will start island hopping in southern Thailand. I plan on heading south after Chiang Mai and Pai, so I arrange to meet up with her down south.
Saturday I don’t do much but some housekeeping. I get a blog post done, laundry, etc. I even crunch some numbers on my financial situation (Yikes. Might be heading home sooner than I'd hoped).
Sunday I head to a floating market which is pretty interesting though I wish I had gone to one of the bigger ones. Though the bigger ones are farther out of town, the journey to this one still takes forever. I take the skytrain to the central pier, where I catch the ferry. The ferry putzes along the river and after many numerous stops, I reach Port Pinklao, and I have to walk down the road to the bus stop. From there I catch a bus towards the floating market. On the bus, I realize that at some point we are not going down the road we should and I’m now moving away from my destination. I hop off at the next stop and decided to hoof it back a good 20 minutes to the market.
The market itself is on land, and the restaurants are on a floating dock. Boats are tied up to it, in which the cooks are whipping up all the dishes. I have lunch there before heading back to the hostel.
The next night, Soloman and I are on the night train heading north to Chiang Mai.