After my course ended, I had a bit of time to do some sightseeing around Bangkok. There are some pretty impressive sights in this town; here and there all over the city, they have huge temples covered in intricate design-work. I visited this one, Wat Pho:
Wats like this (well, not quite as spectacular) exist all over the city. You can find people praying at all times of the day. And in the city center, there is a place for people to buy jasmine and light incense, and to pay traditional Thai dancers to dance for them for good luck. This place is called Erawan shrine. You can also see people selling cages full of birds around here. People buy them and release them for good luck.
The city is divided in half by a river. There are numerous boats that you can ride up and down the river, and they sometimes are the fastest means of transportation. Riding on them can provide a relaxing view of the city line (when they’re not packed to standing room only).
Then there is the famous backpacker’s ghetto of Khao San Road, which has been labeled the “backpackers’ hub of Southeast Asia”. Frankly, I didn’t get it. For one, it WAS pretty ghetto, yet it was more expensive there than anywhere else I’ve been in the city. Why would someone want to pay tourist prices to stay in the worst part of the city? I didn’t stay long here.
Next, I headed down to Patpong and Soi Cowboy, the so-called “sex districts” of the city. Boy were these a hoot. They were lit up like a firecracker; as soon as you step onto the street, you are blinded by neon lights. People will follow you down the street trying to get you to look at their “menus” of different shows you can see. Most of them have pictures of different treats you might get to see at their clubs… I got to see a few graphic pictures of women projecting unusual objects (razors, ping pong balls, birds) out of an intriguing place… and all of this could have been mine for only about 10 dollars!
So, I’ve completed my tourist stint in the city, and soon I’ll be headed out to the countryside to start teaching. I’ll update soon!