It’s okay, I guess…
Well, Matt and I have been in Bangkok for three days. It’s not long, not long enough to give you our first impressions of Southeast Asia in any way. However, it is long enough to give you my impressions of this massive city.
In traveller-blogger language I’m supposed to say something along the lines of ‘it’s a bustling city, full of vendors, and food. A great place to go if you want to experience the night life and a taste of a huge Asian city.’ I don’t want to tell you that though. I want to tell you what I actually think. I don’t like it.
We didn’t have a bad experience. In fact, we had some great ones. Jim Thompson’s House was a beautiful and worthwhile way to spend a few hours. We learned about Thai architecture, Southeast Asian art, and his mysterious disappearance. Chatuchak Market was unreal and we bought the majority of our travelling wardrobe for $40. Our hotel was beautiful (http://www.thewarehousebangkok.com/, if anyone needs somewhere to stay) and brand new, so priced reasonably. At MBK, a local mall, we ate in a food court that is set up like a bunch of street food stalls that you get to choose from; a great introduction to eating things you aren’t quite sure about. We got to take water taxis as a wild mode of transportation and we’ve met quite a few nice people. (Sidebar: hilariously, they have all been French and I’ve spoken more french here than I did in my last four months in Montreal.) We’ve had some delicious food. All in all, we’ve had some really great experiences in BK.
There’s just something about this city that doesn’t mesh with me, I guess. For every nice Thai person you meet, it feels like there are nine more who are just being nice to try to scam you. I don’t mean that they want to sell you something, that I understand, I mean that they’re trying to get you in a taxi to the middle of nowhere and then force you to buy something or pay triple the agreed price. For every street-food stall you see that looks amazing, there are six more that look like they’ll relegate you to the restroom for the next four hours. Some of the people are nice, but they are incredibly skeptical of tourists.
Perhaps they’re right in that skepticism, though. Many tourists are here for the seedy side of Bangkok; here to take advantage of the locals. Many are here to just party their time away, which is totally fine but takes a toll on the locals.
Still, there are tourists like us. Tourists for whom Bangkok is nothing more than a means to an end. It’s a cheap city to fly into, it’s in central Thailand so to get anywhere else you almost have to go through here. So, maybe I was destined to feel meh about it. Maybe I’m just killing time waiting for tonight and our train/bus ride to Laos.
Either way, I’m not going to follow what seems to be the traveller rule I’m just going to say it – I don’t like Bangkok. But I can’t wait for the next city or town!