My Trip To Bangkok, Thailand (The Beginning)
When I stepped off of the plane and walked out of the terminal and into the departures section I felt an immediate difference in the atmosphere. The air was think and steaming instead of thin and chilling like Chicago, Illinois. Many tourists, like myself, headed to customs and I had no idea what to expect. This was my first international trip. The only experience being in another country prior to being in Thailand was my connecting flight in China.
As I got to customs my nerves got to me. I was sleep deprived, sweaty (from the weather and lack of air conditioning), and fumbling around with my arrival card that I needed to fill out. After an agonizing 10-15 minutes I was through customs and on my way to get into the city. I chose to take the Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link.
During my journey to find the transportation I was greeted (and thankfully found) by my traveling partner, Yarmin. Once we found the rail link and stepped inside, which was 45 Baht to center city, I got a glimpse into the life that the people of Thailand live everyday. It was beyond humbling to say the least. I was overwhelmed by the overall appearance of the city (it seemed to me to be in rough shape), the magnitude of the city itself (you can look into the horizon in every direction without seeing an end to the city) and the unbelievable amount of traffic.
I initially had thought I made a big mistake by going to Bangkok and thought I would hate my stay. It seemed like the ghetto everywhere I looked, but with a spotty variation of beautiful buildings. Once the rail link stopped I really didn't know what to expect. I was on the ground and was nervous about being in a completely different territory without knowledge of the the local language.
I stepped off of the rail link as I was on it's last stop towards the city. Phaya Thai is the name of the station. As I walked down the steps I was instantly met with madness. Cars, trucks with passengers in the tailgate, scooters, motorcycles and tuk-tuks pass by rapidly. People on the sidewalk with which I was walking were of completely different social statuses (I mean they were very poor and much worse than I've ever experienced in America). Business people and "the struggling" were walking amongst each other. Not speaking a lick of Thai, I was very cautious and weary of the people I communicated with. Being American also made me feel like I had a target on my back.
While trying to find a taxi, we quickly noticed that most taxi drivers do not know much if any english. Back home I heard rumors about taxis in Bangkok and how they would try to take advantage of foreigners, so I was weary of taking just any taxi. Though I was nervous it was very hot and we needed to get to our hotel and walking was out of the question because of the distance. Our first attempts to get a taxi driver to take us near our hotel (Khao san road) were unsuccessful because of language barrier and the drivers being unwilling to drive the distance. Luckily after a few failed attempts we found a very nice taxi driver that would take us to Khao san road, which was a block away from our hotel on Rambuttri Alley.
Tip: We chose to tell the taxi driver to take us to Khao san road because it is more well known and a tourist destination.
While in the taxi Yarmin and I were able to relax a bit and grow more accustomed to Bangkok life, traffic, and people. We stayed relatively silent and let the scenery set in. I tried to stay as calm as possible, but the traffic was just slightly more hectic than I was used to. Nevertheless we made it to Khao san road unscathed. As we got out of the taxi and paid our bill of 70 Baht, we looked ahead to the next part of our journey that awaited us...