After nearly a year of planning and saving, on Thursday 2 November 2017 we finally arrived in Bangkok to begin our year-long rock climbing-and-travelling adventure, and it feelt pretty surreal.
When you’ve been looking forward to something for so long and it finally happens, your brain refuses to believe it has become reality. So even though I know these are just the first few days of the three months which I am going to spend in South East Asia, I can’t help feeling like we are only here on a two-week holiday and fretting about not making the most of my time.
So on our first day, we managed to get through as much touristy stuff as you would if you were only here for a short break from the daily grind. We ate ALL the street food; we visited a temple in China Town; went to see the Grand Palace (though we actually intended to see the Wat Pho temple, which is next to it); we took a (free!) boat ride up and down the river in celebration of the River Festival; and we even found time for a fish foot spa (which was very tickly and not at all as freaky as it sounds).
We spent a good couple of hours in the Palace, which houses the famous reclining Buddha (a huge, gold statue, which sits inside a traditionally ornate worship building – we wondered if they built the Buddha inside the existing temple, or constructed the walls around him?).
As it got dark, many food stalls opened up inside the Palace walls – not sure if this was in celebration of the Festival or simply the usual thing after sunset. We had amazing banana pancakes drizzled with condensed milk (respect to the Thais for serving pancakes the way they should be – with condensed milk, as anyone who grew up in Russia will agree).
I also discovered that I absolutely love Pad Thai in Thailand – it’s not much like what we get back home. It is made from sticky glass noodles, with tiny little fried shrimp which add a huge amount of flavour. Definitely going through a bit of a Pad Thai addiction.
As expected, by the end of the first day of our big adventure we were extremely tired and spent 11 hours straight sleeping. Luckily, the hostel we stayed at was really comfortable – we had a private room, but with no windows, making it even harder to wake up!
The place is situated in the middle of China Town and is called Our Secret Base. It is run by a young Thai couple – Ping and her boyfriend – who both speak perfect English and are absolutely lovely! Would recommend to anyone staying in Bangkok.