When I arrived in Bangkok, I didn’t really like this city that much, but when I was leaving I cried all the way to the airport. And let me tell you, these were not tears of joy.
Bangkok is a big city, it takes a while to get to the airport, so for approximately 20 kilometres, I couldn’t stop tears coming out of my eyes. I had the best time ever in this city and I really did not want to leave.
So I sad in a taxi next to my roommate Manon, and every time I tried to open my mouth to say something, I would burst into tears. We were on the way to Koh Samui, we booked a nice hotel with an infinity pool by the beach, and we were not happy at all, because we were both so sad about leaving Bangkok. So we just sat in the back of the cab, two blond girls crying, which must to have looked pretty weird.
Bangkok might not be the easiest city to love at first, but when you will actually get to know it, I guarantee you, you will fall in love, just like I did.
So here it is, why I didn’t like Bangkok in the beginning?
It was always hot, way too hot, and I was not used to that kind og heat. Heat made everything harder, even a simple 15 minute walk to the station was a challenge, I would always arrive feeling wet and gross, not fun. Even at night went we went out to party at Khaosan Road (party slash backpackers street of Bangkok, where you drink from buckets and behave like an idiot but it’s okay) I could barely enjoy myself because I was always SO FREAKING HOT.
It was crowded. I usually don’t really mind crowds, yeah sure sometimes it can get a bit uncomfortable when there are too many people around you, but if it doesn’t effect your ability to get things done it’s okay. In Bangkok crowds does affect your ability to get things done! You can barely get anything done because you’re always stuck in traffic! Traffic in Bangkok is insane, due to not so developed public transportation system everyone drives, and it feels like rush hour lats all day long (and it pretty much does). When I arrived in Bangkok I wanted to explore the city, but it seemed like traffic would always make it close to impossible. We would spend hours stuck in taxis, barely moving, and as a result, I would always get tired before getting to the actual destination.
Bangkok wasn’t Shanghai. So this is something I was prepare for, I knew that I will be compering Bangkok with Shanghai, and I sure did. I spent my first year of university in Shanghai, and Shanghai will always have a very special place in my heart, and in the beginning of my stay in Thailand it felt like there was no more place in my heart for Bangkok (turned out there was plenty of free space). I kept asking myself, why was food so spice in Bangkok? Even when I asked them not to make it so spicy, in Shanghai when I would tell people that I don’t want it spicy they just didn’t add any species, simple as that. Why were taxi drivers always trying to rip us off? It never happened in Shanghai (okay maybe once or twice, but that’s it). Even thought I was very much aware, that compering two cities that are so different from each other, is simply stupid, I couldn’t help it, my mind kept doing it anyway.
And finally maybe the most important of all, I didn’t know Bangkok. The beauty, and sometimes maybe a curse of Bangkok is, that it’s located in the heart of Southeast Asia, one of the most incredible and fascinating destinations on earth. There is simply so much to see in this part of the world, and traveling is also relatively affordable, so we did take advantage of that and we traveled a lot. And it was great, traveling around southeast Asia is amazing! I got to experience so much more of Thailand, I went back to Hong Kong, I visited a new city in China and a new country, Cambodia, but because I traveled so much I didn’t really spend much time in Bangkok, and I didn’t give myself a chance to actually get to know this city properly. Sure we went to Grand Palace, and we saw a couple of temples, but that’s really not the point. If you really want to get to know a new city, you need to do regular everyday stuff, try living like locals do, not in hurry jumping from one temple to another. You need to slow down, and start noticing your surroundings, just hang out in coffee shops, go grocery shopping, walk around the streets, explore different neighbourhoods, and that’s how you really get to know what this city is all bout.
So after two months of going-to-the-airport-right-after-your-afternoon-class lifestyle, I decided that I had enough, and I wanted to stay in Bangkok for a while, and it turned out to be the best decision ever.
I started living the everyday life in Bangkok. I went to cinema, I did grocery shopping, I went to book shops, I started to explore my own neighbourhood, and eventually I fell in love with this city. I started actually appreciating what Bangkok had to offer. I got used to the heat, it stopped bothering me so much, getting stuck in traffic become just a part of my everyday life. I started appreciating the fact that I could always walk around in my favourite shorts and wear sunglasses. I appreciated sun and palm trees, colorful temples and tuktuks mixed with gigantic modern skyscrapers. I started really enjoying the fact, that I was living in a city, where I could get a street food meal for 50 bath (1.35 euro) and than go to a rooftop bar on 80th floor, and with a fancy drink in my hand enjoy the crazy skyline. I started noticing how exciting life in Bangkok really was. Living in a foreign country, in a foreign city, that is so different to what you’re used to, is really an exciting and life changing experience. If I could give you a piece of advice, I would say, try it out, you won’t regret it.
The thing about Bangkok is that, this city can be overwhelming at first. The heat, jet lag, never ending crowds, motorbikes, annoying taxi drivers, these things can be overwhelming for everyone, but you get used to it, just like I did. When you learn to accept Bangkok messy sides (because this city sure has many of them), you will see how incredible this place really is.
On my way to the airport, on the 5th of December, I was crying, and my tears were a mix of sadness, sadness because I was leaving Bangkok, and happiness, because I had a blast in this crazy city.
I talk to you soon,