From Bangkok, I took a bus (~3 hours) to Pattaya, a resort town a bit south of Bangkok known for its adult entertainment nightlife – go-go bars, beer bars, and whatnot. Why? The same reason why I visited Patpong and a ping pong show – because I’m curious to see what it’s like. I’ve heard a lot from fellow travelers about Pattaya – the lecherous old white men with young Thai girls, the go-go dancers, the decadence. And I wanted to see how much of it was true. But unfortunately, I found Pattaya to be massive disappointment.
Continue reading Travelogue: Pattaya
For some reason, I decided to visit Bangkok again – to get my visa for Myanmar, to see the protests, and to finish other unfinished business.
Coming to Bangkok during the protests, while a state of emergency has been declared, is surprisingly normal. While the US shows all sort of sensational alarming news, depicting Bangkok on the verge of civil war, it’s actually quite tranquil on the ground in Bangkok. For the most part. Arriving in Bangkok and taking a taxi to Khao San Road area, we passed through several checkpoints, with barricaded roads and military police with rifles checking everyone’s identification. Being in a taxi with three other backpackers (white, loud, and rather obnoxious), we were quickly waived passed – tourists are left unmolested – but it was still quite an experience. I didn’t expect to have to ever ride through military checkpoints in the streets of Bangkok. It reminded me of a dystopian movie that I recently watched – Children of Men.
Continue reading Travelogue: Bangkok again
Now here’s something off the beaten track: while backpacking around Thailand, I spent three days in meditation in Bangkok – at a Buddhist temple, with monks!
Why am I doing this? Because it would be useful to learn to meditate, because it would be a great story, because I’m crazy.
Don’t I know that the ‘proper’ place to learn is in Chang-Mai? Yeah, but that’s the touristy place – they’ve got stunning views and waterfalls and shit, and I don’t want all that distracting me. Learning in Bangkok is not only the real experience (you’re with Thai people doing the same), but it’s also free!
I sound so hipster.
No, I’m not one of those monks.
Continue reading Travelogue: Three Days of Meditation in Bangkok
Bangkok, the gateway to Southeast Asia. It seems like Bangkok is a favorite of first time backpackers – I met so many folks in their gap year, backpacking for their first time. Compared to all these young whippersnappers, at 27 I’m definitely an old fart :-)
There are two sides to Bangkok – the expensive & modern side, and the cheap & historical side. Unsurprisingly, I (and most fellow backpackers) ended up spending most of my time in the cheap district (paying $7-$17 per night for accommodation!).
Continue reading Travelogue: Bangkok
It’s a bit tough to put into words, but there’s a certain feel of Southeast Asia. Getting off the plane in Bangkok, it’s pretty obvious you’re in Thailand – all the signs are in Thai squiggles (sorry), the weather is unbearably hot, and the streets are filled with hawkers selling street food, clothing, and assorted knick knacks.
But for me, the real feeling of Southeast Asia came when I saw the paved sidewalk tiles:
Continue reading Reflection: the Feel of Southeast Asia