Our journey has begun and, as said, Bangkok marks our starting point.
After leaving behind Helsinki’s snow and having a good flight with national company Finnair, we land at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. We get our passports stamped, retrieve our backpacks, and head to the station. Underground and train tickets cost 30bahts (less than 1€), very clean and functional service. We get off at Hua Lamphong, Bangkok central station, where we immediately become familiar with the surrounding: some monks rest in a separate area, people sleep barefoot on the benches, tourists look disoriented. We can’t even expose ourselves on the external streets, that we get assaulted by tuk-tuk drivers offering us a lift: this will become routine, a simple “no thank you” and a smile are enough to make them give up. The nearby guesthouse is managed by a nice guy, very kind and available to advise us on what to do, and his nephew leads us to our room. Here in Thailand we can see easily that every child, even the youngest, is educated and taught to the family commercial activity very soon. Later on we visit Chinatown, well, we get lost in its twists and turns: hundreds of alleys, stalls, sellers, scooters and tuk-tuks, chaos is sovereign. Crossing the streets is a real challenge, we risk several times to get run over! Our first thai dinner consists in a delicious pad-thai in a typical small street restaurant, awesome!
The next day is committed to the most well-known places in town.
Form the nearby port of Sri Phraya we hop on the river taxi, so convenient and super cheap (13bahts=0.30cents!), and hop off in front of Wat Arun, but unluckily there are scaffoldings covering most of the structure. In a close temple, we are lucky enough to get literally blessed by a Buddhist monk, who ties to our wrist (right arm for men, left for women) a white woven cotton bracelet, while praying: we later found out this to be the Sai Sin, or sacred string, used in ceremonies as lucky charm. After that we cross the Chao Phraya river, go and visit the Royal Palace: endless colours and lights, like unfortunately the crowds of tourists that limit its beauty. A couple of spring-rolls on the go, a nap in a quiet park (even though Ambra is scared by Komodo dragons, gigantic lizards commonly found in Bangkok rivers), and we move to Wat Pho, where the spectacular golden leaning Buddha lies, more than 40 metres long. Before going back to our room, we decide to have a look at Khao San Road, typical western-style street full of tourists, nightclubs and tattoos shops: our mind goes straight away to the scenes of Hangover II. By night, river taxis are out of service so, after looking for a non existing metro station in that area, a bus brings us back to Chinatown. And we suddenly feel at home.
It’s time to pack again, Tomorrow a journey to the cambodian border and to Siem Reap awaits us.