Bangkok, Thailand

Where is the road calling you?

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Bangkok, Thailand

Market Stripping and Ping Pong Show Skipping

Unforgettable memory January 2011

Granted, we’ve been to Thailand more times than any other country. It’s also true this country gives us a true sense of our home away from home, but I’ll never forget our first impressions of such an addicting country. There are those who might argue Thailand is too touristy. Although it does seem to be home to hoards of new backpackers and seasoned veterans alike, for us, we couldn’t care less. It was in Bangkok I had my first encounter with the sight of the fried insect cart wheeling down the street while being offered the opportunity to experience ping pong shows with the sound of tuk-tuk drivers smacking their lips together. I shuttered at the thought of a bright white ping pong ball being clenched to the point of inevitable catapult release by an unfamiliar vagina, quite possibly splattering against my cheek and forcing me into convulsions.Soi Rambuttri, Bangkok, Thailand

I could scarcely believe my senses when arriving on Khao San Road at one in the morning, stepping from our pink taxi cab and reclaiming our brand new backpacks. The view of the street ahead reminded me of Las Vegas in a way with bright lights and loud music heightening our excitement. The randomly situated prostitute lurking in the shadows seemed to replace the advertisement cards of legal hookers peppering the streets of Vegas. Steam from hot woks on street food carts rose in the air sporadically as travelers, young and old alike, relished in the vibrant setting. The energy of Khao San Road suppressed ever bit of our fatigue from a long day of travel in a matter of seconds before ever reaching our guesthouse. The vibrations from the local club shook the hairs on my head as my eyes combed the sights like a coked out deer frozen in head lights, in utter awe of the scenery surrounding us.

As incredible as our arrival had been, Bangkok would also become home to my first true taste of experiencing a market in Southeast Asia. And, what better way to jump in head first than Chatuchak market? We eagerly stepped through the entrance to the massive market, one of the world’s largest, after an easy taxi ride from the Khao San Road area of the city. It seemed anything and everything we could ever want was for sale, from pets and clothes to household goods and jewelry. Spending an entire day exploring the memorizing aisles is absolutely effortless. Narrow walkways between 15,000 booths explode with tourists every weekend, compelling us to investigate as much of the shopping playground as humanly possible.

Even with beads of sweat sliding down my skin over every square inch of my body, I couldn’t hide the excitement of finding clothes for a fraction of the cost I would spend back in the states. However, being just over six feet tall, it can be a bit challenging to find clothes large enough to accommodate my “big” western body. I ducked my head under hanging t-shirts and entered a booth teeming with a wide variety of shorts, eventually finding the single stack capable of wrapping around my waist.

Perhaps it was my inexperience, but I actually had the audacity to ask if I could trInsect cart Bangkok, Thailandy a pair on to ensure I wouldn’t return to our room and discover my new purchase failed to button. With a wide smile on her face, the woman I had asked nodded with approval, waiting for me patiently. I looked around, a bit confused, noticing the lack of a fitting room. “Here?” I asked with a reluctant expression. Once again she nodded. I looked at Jessie, who simply returned a shrug of her shoulders and upturned lower lip. “OK…” I replied, undoing my shorts and dropping them in front of everyone in the booth. Of course I properly adjusted myself to avoid the shock of a hidden appendage popping out of the hole in the front of my boxers, no doubt sparking bouts of laughter at my expense. To my surprise, there were no gasps of astonishment, simply an observatory look from the vendor.

With my boxers in full exposure and the vulnerability of my manhood quite possibly falling victim to the gawks of the woman observing my every move attentively, I yanked up the shorts to cover myself once again with impeccable timing to avoid an untimely moment of embarrassment. Satisfied they would meet my requirements, I slid them down over my feet, stepping out and reclaiming the shorts I had entered in. We walked out of the small booth with smiles on our faces, laughing at my willingness to take my pants off in the presence of multiple strangers. Although I feel the need to confess, this wasn’t the first time I had de-pantsed myself in public to try on an article of clothing. No…there was no indecent exposure, but perhaps it’s more fun to leave that situation to your imagination…

Surpassing such a uniquBangkok, Thailande experience on that list however was the awe-striking sight of the largest reclining Buddha in the world at Wat Pho. Our strict budget convinced us to walk the streets of Bangkok around an hour from where we were staying, allowing us to feel a rite of passage when reaching our destination. Out of absolute respect we slid t-shirts over our tank tops to cover our shoulders before ascending up the stairs to the temple and removing our flip flops. The giant golden statue caused my jaw to drop as I entered into the sacred space surrounding it, its towering existence forcing me to walk as slowly as possible around the perimeter of the building’s interior to fully appreciate what I was seeing.

I stopped dead in my tracks upon rounding the opposing end of the statue, noticing the shimmering Mother of Pearl decorating the bottoms of the great Buddha’s feet. I peered along the left side of one of the most impressive pieces of history I’d ever seen, fully appreciating its forty-six meter length. Along the backside of the statue, bronze prayer bowls lined the long wall. We lifted a small bowl filled with coins from a short table placed at the beginning of the line, gently placing one coin into each of the 108 bowls to bring good fortune. I walked out of the temple in awe while intermingling with the local Thai people paying their respects. It was feeling I’d not only remember forever, but a memory still cherished years and multiple visits later.

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