Bangkok – visit one

I arrived in Bangkok a broken husk of a man. Getting to the hostel at 4am meant that my bed would not be ready until 2pm, but fortunately the staff could see the state I was in, and let me wrap myself in sheets, and sleep on beanbags on the floor of the TV room. At 1pm they woke me up and I shuffled the 20 feet to the dorm, and then slept again. I think that I slept for around 24 hours in the following 30 - I wasn't well. The pattern of the next four days in Bangkok followed the same general pattern of: waking up late, shuffling off for some lunch, having a three hour afternoon snooze, trying to join in with evening activities, and then back to my pit. Bangkok was the second city that I'd already visited, and had seen the major sights, so I was in no desperate need to go out and do sightseeing. In fact, the daytime temperature and humidity was really high, and any extended time outdoors was very uncomfortable. I think it was during this time that I wrote off Bangkok as a tourism destination, and it became a stopover location - somewhere to indulge in farang (foreigner in Thai) food, and generally relax. Of the evening trips organised by the hostel, the best was to the temple on the Golden Mountain, Wat Saket, for Magha Puja - a Buddhist festival. Not really knowing what to expect, the group of eight or so joined a huge queue of Thais, all holding candles and incense sticks and listened to nearly an hour of religious readings (I presume this, of course, having absolutely no idea what was being said over the tannoy). Once that had finished, we all processed up the long stone staircase round the hill up to the temple, which is the highest in Bangkok, watched the genuine pilgrims praying, ringing bells, and buying religious artefacts. Apart from one American guy in our group who repeated stopped the procession to take photos with little regard for anyone else, it was a very moving experience. Topping that off was some pad thai (thai-style noodles, bean sprouts and shrimp) at Thip Samai, one of the most famous pad thai restaurants in the city. Busy but tasty 🙂
Melodica player

Melodica player

Magha Puja

Magha Puja

Candles, incense and flowers at Magha Puja

Candles, incense and flowers at Magha Puja

Bells at Wat Saket

Bells at Wat Saket

Waiting to climb to the temple

Waiting to climb to the temple

Pad Thai wrapped in omelette

Pad Thai wrapped in omelette

After a couple of days at the hostel, a British guy moved into the top bunk - it transpired that he was planning to get his visa for Myanmar and then head out in a few days. We decided to travel together to save on hotel/taxi costs, and so my next destination became Myanmar. An evenings drinks outside the front of the hostel confirmed that we'd be reasonably compatible to travel together, although the assortment of very odd people we were drinking with may have made us both seem incredibly normal. A quick visit to Bangkok, but of course I'd come back again. And again...
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