Friday, May 21, 2010

Bangkok Travel

The photos of the hotel that we would be putting up looked nice and impressive as shown by the tour agents to us. We were also told that the hotel is within close proximity to the slew of modern shopping centres in Bangkok, so it is to our disbelief that the car which has fetched us from Sukhumvit airport in Bangkok, dropped us off at a hotel located in a super ‘ulu’ (remote) and dilapidated street. As it turned out, the hotel is a 3 star hotel, though it seems to be located at the wrong place, a street brimming with shop houses that will appear to be squatters in Singapore’s housing standards. Welcome to the first day of our (my Dear and I) Bangkok tour!

It was a culture shock to us! Being brought up in impeccably orderly and clean Singapore, we were quite shocked to find that we would be staying in this hotel for the next 3 days! We looked around for the shopping centres which were ‘alleged’ (by the tour guides) to be ‘in close proximity’ but there was none. Anyway, we decided to just check-in first, unpack our luggage, wash up, rest and then ‘see how best to salvage the situation and make best use of our vacation’.

The intent of our Bangkok trip was simple: shopping cum sight-seeing and hence it was a free-and-easy trip, with a half day city tour arranged for us on the second day. After resting, we went down to the reception, requested for a map and made our way out of the hotel. The receptionists spoke only very basic English and did not understand us at all; we could only gestured (and gave up).

Stepping out from the hotel, we were overwhelmed by the myriads of unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells occurring all at the same time, besieging us: touts of taxis, tutus, “motorcycle-taxis” (I don’t know the local name of that transport mode); suspicious-looking men in tattered shirts and shorts staring and following us; cars, motorbikes, buses, pedestrians and all sort of vehicles moving in the most unorderly manner; and there were no pavements for us to walk (we could only risk our lives walking by the side of the road with traffic just whizzing and inching past us!) There was also no familiar traffic light and junctions to guide us. We seemed to be aliens in this part of Bangkok! (to be continued….)

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