When you step foot in a foreign country on the first day, you are overcome with excitement. As you start walking down the street you feel thankful that the long plane rides are over and you are finally here. The streets are crowded and you bump into someone, as usual you apologize for running into them and the person gives you a blank stare. Then you realize that they don't speak English and they have no idea what you just said. No one can give you directions, you are constantly converting Thai Bahts to Dollars to get a feel for how much you are spending, and absolutely everything is foreign.
Forest and I booked this trip in Novemeber, and by the time May came around, we were more than ready to go! We woke up and 3am and started our journey to Bangkok. After flying for what seemed like a lifetime, we finally made it. This trip was much anticipated, so the fact that we were actually in Thailand seemed unreal. We woke up and headed on our way to discover Bangkok. The first mission: convert our USA dollars to Thai Bahts. When we got to the bank to exchange our cash, they denied some of the money because it was either torn or had some sort of a marking on it. We exchanged what we could and went on to figure out how to use the BTS sky train. Before our trip we had done our research on the BTS sky train; the problem was the website wouldn't convert from Thai to English, so all we really knew is that it was cheap to use. Lucky for us, the train was not only really cheap, but it was easy to use and was our primary transportation method for our entire Bangkok trip. This saved us a lot of money that would have gone to taxi drivers.
Our plan for day 1 was to go to Lumphini Park. We had heard that the park was crawling with giant lizards and figured we should check it out. We got to the park and we were approached by a Thai man who spoke English. It was a pleasant surprise because this is the first Thai person we were able to converse with. He talked with us for quite sometime, telling us about the king and his funeral that was being held while we were there, he told us he was a fan of the Utah Jazz, and then he pulled out a badge that said Thai Police. He told us that the park we were about to enter was not a good place to be because of the drug abusers and homeless, he told us that it was fashion week in Thailand and asked if we were interested in going to the shopping center. We said sure and he talked to a tuk-tuk driver who gave us a great deal. When we pulled up to the shooing center, we knew this was a scam. He brought us to a custom suit tailor company. A man approached us sat us down, handed us cans of beer and asked what kind of suit we wanted. Since Forest and I are getting married, he needs a suit, so while we were here we decided to test the water. The man told us originally that a custom fit suit would cost $350. Of course, Forest and I said no and he kept lowering his price until we were happy. It may have been a scam to get us there, but Forest walked away with a custom fit suit jacket, pants, shirt, and tie, that we got for a great deal!
After being measured for the suit, we went back to the park. As expected, there were tons of giant lizards! (See picture below) The lizards are roaming wild and have blue tongues that split into two at the end.... crazy!
After the park we roamed around for a bit. It was insanely hot and humid and we were both exhausted and sweaty, so we stopped for lunch in an air conditioned restaurant.
Night time came and we wanted to take the boat to see Wat Arun (A.K.A the temple of dawn). The boat signs were all in Thai and the ones that weren't were crazy expensive, so we hopped on a boat that we thought was going down the river, turns out, we were on a free boat, heading to Asiatique. Since we weren't in a tight schedule, we stayed at Asiatique. They had food, shops, live music, and a Ferris wheel. Although it wasn't planned, it ended up being a fun night.
The first day in Bangkok was not what we expected, it was a crazy adventure, but was extremely rewarding to see the culture, architecture, and lifestyle of those in Thailand.
Thanks for reading! Bangkok bike ride post coming soon!