We arrived in Bangkok from Sri Lanka, at around 6am. We’d heard there was a bus directly from the airport to the Cambodian border that left at 9am but after an hour of walking around and being pointed to various different places we gave up and decided to head to Mo Chit bus station.
Although our backs were aching from carrying our oversized and overstuffed backpacks, and our minds were tired from the 15 hour journey from Mirissa, we decided we would not fall at the first hurdle. We declined the offers of taxis and found the BTS station. Catching the train was easy – we just told the attendant where we were trying to get to, she gave us a token and the names of the BTS stations we needed to change at and that was it. The trains were modern and clean, and as the carriage gradually filled up with commuters I got a brief glimpse into everyday Bangkok. It was far more cosmopolitan than I’d expected. Arriving at the closest BTS station to Mo Chit bus station we found the bus timetable, jumped on a bus, and paid a few pence for the 10/15 minute journey to the bus station. This small journey from the airport felt like such a massive achievement in our sleep- and food-deprived state!
At Mo Chit we found that the bus had already left but we bought tickets for the next day and then, using 7/11’s free wifi (since when did supermarkets have free wifi?!) found a place to stay for the night. After a quick bowl of noodles at the food court (if you’re trying to kill a few hours at the bus station, find the food court and fill your face with delicious food), we got a taxi to Double DD House.
Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived (because although I’d been awake forever, it was only about 11am) and I was ready to give up. I was seconds away from falling to the floor and having a tantrum.
Luckily, my girlfriend stepped in at this point. She guided me outside, and thankfully, on our doorstep was a market full of the most delicious food. I bought a coffee for 70p whilst we wandered around considering what to eat, eventually deciding on a bag belly pork and dipping sauce.
When we got into our room I could have cried with happiness (I may have actually cried). After some dodgy, disappointing guest house experiences in Sri Lanka, I’d unconsciously lowered my standards, so when I saw that the room was clean, the sheets had actually been washed, there were no gaping holes or wires hanging from the ceiling, I was ecstatic. The rest of the afternoon was spent napping and Skype-ing friends from home, before venturing back out into the market for more food.
We were like kids in a candy shop. I wanted to eat everything. It seemed to be mostly locals buying their dinner, which suggested that it would be good, cheap, authentic Thai food. We joined a queue of people waiting for papaya salad, then bought some sticky rice and grilled chicken to go with it, devouring the lot on the front steps of our hotel.
My first impressions of Thailand were great. I thought I’d dislike Bangkok due to the crowds, chaos and tackiness that other travellers had told me about, but I felt like I saw a different side to the city. My introduction to Thailand was all about meeting friendly, local people, eating delicious food, receiving great service, experiencing a certain sense of freedom and choice, and, of course, eating more delicious food. It was a great start to the next chapter of our travels.