My culture shock in Bangkok
January 1, 1970
by Marie Demey
Transport in Bangkok
The 17th of november I took a plane from Perth to Thailand for a short trip.
I planned to meet up with a friend who I met at the East coast of Australia.
The airport Don Mueang seemed very chaotic when I arrived, it was really hot and the air was humid. In the beginning I had a hard time breathing properly but after a while I got used to the climate and the all the dirty fumes coming from traffic and polluting industries.
My friend was already at the hostel and she told me I had to take a train to join her.
(The easiest thing you can do is install the Uber app, which is cheaper then a taxi too but I didn’t know that at the time.)
I walked around looking for trains at least an hour and I asked so many people where I could take one but everyone gave me a different answer.
At some point I felt like crying because I was so exhausted and just couldn’t find any train.
So I decided to take a cab and finally arrived at my accommodation.
The hostel we were staying at was called Mana Hostel, it was a bit in the suburban but it had a very relaxing atmosphere, was clean and super cheap, I loved it.
That same evening we went to Chinatown, I can’t say I liked it very much, maybe because I was still tired from the flights and in a bit of a culture shock. The streets were so crowded, one might think to be attending a festival. Only a festival that lasted forever, day and night. I was overwhelmed.
It was hot as hell at 10 pm and it stank like rotting meat everywhere.
Afterwards we went to a night market with an uber, which is a market where you can eat Thai food and drinks and buy almost anything for cheap prices.
I loved the night markets because they were big but cozy at the same time, sometimes they played music and everybody danced. There was so much entertainment.
Also it’s more convenient to go out at night because it’s a little less hot than in the day.
The second day we went to a cafe called the Unicorn Cafe which was very much under my expectations.
It looked cool with all the unicorns hanging around and pretty colors everywhere but it was very small, the food and drinks were overpriced.
Thai Massages and temples
Then we wanted to go to a temple called Wat Pho, you can get professional massages there, so we took an uber and went to Wat Pho.
When we got there it started pouring rain so we decided do get the massage first.
We went inside and it was a pretty long waiting line but we couldn’t do anything else since it was raining so hard that’s why we decided we might as well wait for our turn.
I thought it would be a normal massage, but apparently Thai massages are very different then European ones and it hurt so much, but I felt very relaxed when it was finished.
It finally stopped raining so we went outside to see the temples, but then a gigantic storm came and we got soaking wet.
All of a sudden all the ubers and taxis were occupied and it was impossible to find one so we just waited in the rain for more than half an hour .
Finally we managed to grab a tuc tuc, which is a taxi-bike where you can sit in the back and there’s little lights on it, very pretty and a must-do but more expensive then a normal taxi.
The tuc tuc brought us to a train station because it was too expensive to bring us all the way to the hostel.
There’s air conditioning in all trains but because we were still soaked from the rain we were freezing our ass off.
Afterwards we went to a shopping mall near the hostel to have dinner, to pay we had to buy a card and charge it with a certain amount of money.
I thought in general the food in Bangkok was really good, even though I’m a vegan and my friend was too, we always loved the food and there were many choices.
One day we went to the biggest market in Bangkok, it was called Chatuchak and it only opens on weekends, I had never seen such a big market in my life, you could buy anything.
There was art, clothes, shoes, animals, food, drinks, everything.
Chatuchak is in the suburbs of Bangkok, nevertheless there are plenty of fun activities.
I could only stay there one hour because that evening I had to take a plane to go back to Perth, so I just saw a tiny bit of the huge market but I liked it very much.
Taxi drivers in Bangkok
The traffic in Bangkok is horrible, I took a taxi to the hostel to pick up my luggage, I was stressing so much that I would miss the plane because there’s always traffic everywhere and at that time it was even worse.
When I finally got to the hostel I booked an Uber to bring me to the airport,
when he came to pick me up he showed me a price on his phone, I said okay but not more because that was all the cash I had with me.
He didn’t speak much English like lots of Thai people but translated on his phone that we were going on the highway and I had to pay extra (after we left.)
I gave him the money to pass the highway and I realized the total price would be more then the number he showed me on his phone because of the highway.
So when we got to the airport I gave him the only cash I had left and the only thing he could say was “no not enough” and he would not let me out of the car.
I didn’t have much time left for my plane so I said okay I’ll go to the ATM but he forced me to leave my stuff in his car.
Because I was stressing so much I forgot my phone and passport in his car (which is so incredibly stupid of me!!!) and I ran inside to find an ATM.
After 10 minutes I went back to the place where he was parked, but couldn’t find him anymore.
I felt like my world was falling apart and just when I was about to start crying, I saw him.
I can’t describe the happiness I felt to find the car so I wasn’t even mad at the driver even though he was a selfish prick.
Looking back now there were ups and downs but that’s part of traveling and I love it, I’m going back to Thailand for sure.