Okay, so I’m here.

Bangkok can be a bit of a daunting experience. So I’ve read. And so I now experience! The first day out of the hotel (a dump more or less, but the river views from the roof-top restaurant are unmatched, apparently). I know that you should follow your mother’s advice: don’t talk to strangers! And if you do, it’s usually the beginning of a scam. Cos in a city that seems strangely self-absorbed, the friendliness comes from a certain interest in the Westerner’s wallet.

I go along with the ride as this business guy approaches me. After all, I will not buy anything from him, but at the same time don’t want to be rude. He wants to know where I’m going and tells me that from tomorrow on there will be a three day Buddhist holiday all over the country and if I want to buy any tickets to anywhere, I’d better take his tuk-tuk quicksmart and reserve a real cheap train and bus. He’s superfriendly, chatty and smiling.

This changes as I politely tell him that I’m not interested. He turns around, curses in Thai and English, tells me how much of a bad person I am and says he doesn’t ever want to talk to me again. I’m probably spellbound for life.

On my way to Hualamphong train station (about 20mins by foot), I’m trying my best to avoid tuk-tuk drivers. Of course, as it turns out, no tourist attraction is closed today or tomorrow, there is no Buddhist holiday in sight for months, and the cheapest train or bus tickets are sold in the government train and bus terminals.

The sun is belting down by that stage, so the all-day ticket on the BTS sky train is a welcoming A/C change. And a good way to see the city, too. I get off here and there, and take a ferry back to the hotel. Sweet!

And, first lesson learnt: tell anyone approaching you that you’ve been in the country several weeks, or you already have a ticket. They’ll leave you alone. If not, just ignore them. Takes a bit of getting used to, but I guess they’re used to being rejected.

Sun set on roof-top restaurant.

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