South East Asia

Alone in Bangkok

Towards the end of the tour in Sri Lanka I was beginning to feel exhausted. I’d barely slept in weeks (due to the fact I was sharing a room with a baby walrus) and I was beginning to wish the tour to an end. It’s not that I don’t like people…it’s that I can’t tolerate a lot of them ALL THE DAMN TIME. Sometimes I just need to hide away for a few hours, recharge and then I’m good to go again. I’ve read into it and apparently it means you’re part introvert part extrovert – or in other words you’re outgoing and chatty 80% of the time but the other 20% you need a dark room or you’ll crash head first into a wall from system overload.

All things considered, as much as I loved the country, the people and the experience as a whole; whether I’d jump feet first into another organised tour again is a different question. It’s great to cram a lot into a very short amount of time and your transport and accommodation is never something you need to worry about. But you’re kind of forced to associate with people you’d perhaps never decide to go up and chat to in the first place, and if you dont like someone well TOUGH – you’re with them for the next 12 days like it or lump it.

This is not to say there was anyone on my tour I particularly disliked. But there were a few people I wouldn’t be mad about never meeting again put it that way. For that reason I was unsurprisingly glad when it ended and I could, as they say, spread my wings and fly far away.. to BANGKOK.

Since its me, and bad luck is apparently becoming part of my daily routine, the journey to Bangkok didn’t come without glitches. The taxi to the airport (which should have been included in the tour – lets not go there I’ve already sent a few strongly worded emails to G adventures…) felt like we we had unknowingly signed up to spectate our drivers big break into formula one racing. By the time we arrived at the airport my knuckles were white and my legs were like jelly as I tried to clamber out onto solid ground. The check-in process was as straight-forward as it could be in Sri Lanka. Of course the immigration queues were miles long and god forbid you wanted a toilet with a seat, oh no that would be far too much of a luxury. I paid 800 baht (eugh) for a coffee and sat and people watched until my post-taxi-racing-jitters subsided.

It was going to be different from here on in. I didn’t have the safety net of a tour guide or a travel company to fall back on if anything went wrong and anything that really did go pear-shaped was up to me and only me to fix it. This is where the fun would really begin.

Once I landed in Bangkok I had a couple of things on my itinerary to do in the airport before I got the sky train to the city hostel where I was staying. First I needed an ATM, a Thai SIM card for my spare phone and most importantly – a bottle of water to swallow paracetamol since my head was absolutely POUNDING, I’d barely ate or drank anything all day. Being so focused on a list of things to do is bound to make you a bit ditsy and forget to do the simplest of things. In the excitement of getting my Thai sim and data to work I completely forgot to lift my credit card out of the ATM, not on that but I’d only realised what I had done, on the sky train, 3 stops away from my final destination. I pulled my bag apart on the train and when realising I REALLY didn’t have it, I legged it of the train ran down the platform and up the other side to hop back on the oncoming train to take me right back to the airport to try and get my card back. Long story cut short, I asked around if anyone had handed anything in and when none of the counters near to the cash machine had anything on record, a little Thai lady came over and opened up the machine itself…& there was my card, lost and lonely in the back of an ATM in Bangkok airport. I bubbled like a big baby and ran to the bathroom to throw up. My nerves were absolutely shattered.

I had originally taken the sky train to save a bit of money as it was about 400 baht cheaper than getting a taxi but after ALL THAT I’d just been through I decided to just bite the bullet, take a taxi and pay the extra 7 quid to get him to take me to my front door, the entire time sitting in the backseat shaking my head and lecturing myself about being an absolute nightmare.

It seems the hardest part about my travels is getting to and from a new place. Once I’m actually in a place I’m absolutely fine but I’ve developed a fear of losing things that’s driving me mad. Because by constantly worrying about whether you’ve ‘got everything’ you end up leaving behind the most important things since you’re too busy worrying about all the other little things going on in your head. I had big plans for my first night in Bangkok, I wanted to go to Khao San road and have a couple of drinks but since it was already 12pm and I’d been in transit since 9am that morning I decided to call it a night and get to sleep. I also wanted to get out and explore the next morning and let’s face it, I’m a nightmare at the best of times never mind ambling about in 30 degree heat with a hangover.

(Visual representation of me with a hangover wandering around Bangkok…)

Bangkok is my first stop alone. It’s the first place I’ll have to think of everything myself and actively make an effort to chat to people and make friends. I’ve done a fair bit of ‘travelling’ before – the majority of Europe I’ve done myself but for some reason this time around it feels on a much bigger scale. There’s no definite plans and its all down to me to make them or break them. Having that much control over your own moves for the foreseeable future is a daunting idea, and one I hope I get to grips with as soon as possible. South east Asia was going to be jam-packed full of new cities and sceneries every day but it’s almost tempting to chop a little bit off of the proposed itinerary and stop, chill out and smell the roses. I want to get to grips with a country before hurriedly rushing onto the next. It’ll still be there next week.

This girl with no patience just needs to learn how to take her time.

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