Jet Lagged in Bangkok
The day that every traveler fears. The day that marks the start of your adventure. The day that you wake up for breakfast at 2:00 am. The day that you're sleeping on a longtail boat with a roaring engine. The day of jet lag; don't hate it, embrace it and it won't be that horrible.
One of those days
Our plane arrived at Suvarnabhumi International Airport early in the morning and we made it through immigration in no time which is surprising because I know how long the lines can be there. It was my third or forth time now arriving here so everything felt familiar but for Joanna it was the first time and I was hoping she’d like Bangkok as much as I do.
The flight was quite the ordeal since we didn’t sleep at all but luckily, also our backpacks appeared on the belt only ten minutes after we went through immigration. This day of jet lag was going pretty well for now. We decided to take the airport rail link to the city center and from there the skytrain to the Chao Phraya river.
It was still early in the morning and the sun was just about to rise, nevertheless, it was already busy in the streets and as soon as we left the soothing environment of the air conditioned skytrain, Bangkok greeted our fuzzy senses with a thousand smells, heat, noise and humidity…
“Where you going? Tuk tuk tour? 1 hour, 40 baht?”
The infamous touts and tuk tuk drivers never seem to sleep and were already trying to lure unknowing tourists into their scams. Street vendors were setting up their stalls and fire up the grill. That heavenly smell of sizzling meat or fish early in the morning; it isn’t something we’re used to at home but it sure tickled our taste buds.
We made our way to the main pier where a boat took us to the much quieter Dusit area where we stayed. It took around half an hour but the breeze felt nice and we enjoyed every minute as early daily life passed by on the banks of the river. The last part of our journey we wandered with our backpacks through the narrow alleys of a market where the smell of raw meat and fish slapped us in the face. Pig heads, frogs, eels, catfish… and then finally, our guesthouse… a much needed cold shower awaited.
Bangkok isn’t for everyone. It’s hot, humid and busy and instead of breathing fresh clean air, you’ll have to do with hot car fumes; exactly why most people immediately head North to Chiang Mai or South to the beaches and islands not giving this awesome city a chance.
Rejuvenated by the cold shower and some drinks and food we dove back into the city around noon. Once again, we took the trusty river express boat.
The sun really started to burn and walking around was exhausting as our jet lag started to creep into our heads. Every stop in an air-conditioned 7-Eleven felt like a reward. These little retreats, welcoming you with icy cold air, will become your best friend when you decide to explore Thailand.
We wandered around endlessly. Bangkok never gets boring, especially for a photographer. When the sun set, we got hungry and I knew exactly where to go when stomachs get hungry: Chinatown.
Of course, there’s street food everywhere in Bangkok. You won’t be hungry. Ever. But Chinatown is more than that. It’s a city in a city. It's the same but different. You can walk around for hours exploring hundreds of alleys discovering one interesting scene after another and be amazed of how people live and work before you head to Yaowarat road where street vendors set up their stalls in the evening making it food heaven.
We indulged on noodles, fried meat, ice-cream and fresh juices but after an hour of avoiding crashing into people in the crowd, our jetlag finally prevailed. We needed to get out of there, it was getting too much and an overload of the senses was immenent. W hailed a tuk tuk and when he announced his price, my brain didn't even feel like haggling anymore:
"Just take us to our bed. We'll tackle this awesome city again... tomorrow!"