A Short Rant About Bangkok and Why It's My Least Favourite City. So Far.
Bangkok. They say, it's either you will love it or hate it. Well, for me, I don't hate it, but I don't love it either.
I went to Bangkok with my friends in May last year. Out of the cities I have visited so far, Bangkok probably is my least favourite. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate the city, it's just that the place frustrated me multiple times, and honestly, it didn't made much of an appeal to me. You see, this unfortunate impression started right when we set foot at their airport. I thought I am used to chaotic, unorganised airports already, I'm from the Philippines after all (*cough* NAIA *cough*), but I was clearly mistaken.
So here begins my rant:
From Siem Reap, we flew to Bangkok, and we arrived at Dong Mueang Airport, which is an older and smaller airport than Suvarnabhumi Airport. The airport was very crowded and the queues at the immigration counters were all over the place. If we didn't see the queue for ASEAN passports, I think we would have spent a considerable amount of time just to get through immigration. It didn't end there, though. We took a Grab ride from the airport to our hotel in Sukhumvit. As per Google maps, it will just take us 45 minutes tops to reach the hotel, but because of the horrible traffic, it took us two hours. I could not believe there are roads worse than EDSA.
When we finally reached our hotel, we were famished; we could not wait to check in so we can eat our lunch. Our hotel, which I will not name, is located in a little alley in Sukhumvit. It's a small hostel, and it looked decent enough. We were greeted by the person manning the front desk, and to our surprise, he's a Filipino. The check-in process went smoothly, but he told us something unexpected. We booked a room for 3 nights, and he told us that they only clean rooms every after the third night. They won't even empty out the trash bins or replace the towels. Oh god. Another thing, the hostel has four floors, and they don't have a lift. And the steps of the stairs are very steep. Fortunately, our room was just on the 2nd floor, so it's still kind of okay.
On the day we had our temple hopping tour, the first stop on our itinerary was the Grand Palace. During that time, they were still mourning the death of their beloved king. There were lots of locals dressed in black, paying a visit to the Grand Palace, and sending their condolences. Even though the mourning period is still on going, tourists are still allowed to visit the palace. Lots of big and rowdy groups of tourists were swarming the place. That day was so hot and humid, so it was really uncomfortable and frustrating that we ended up not entering the palace. We just took pictures from the outside, and then left. I really felt bad for the locals that they have to experience and meet disrespectful tourists during the time of their country's grief.
But of course, there are things that I liked about Bangkok, too.
Did you think this would just be a hateful essay? 😜
If you do a temple hopping, 90% of the temples and other attractions are situated along or near the banks of the Chao Praya River. It is very impressing that they are taking advantage of the accessibility of the river to different places. Water taxis are one of their major modes of transport. It is cheap and fast; it is a great way to beat the traffic in the roads. The river is clean, too; there is no stinking smell. I can only hope that Pasig River would turn out like this.
Speaking of temples -- the architecture of these temples is spectacular. Buddhism is the dominant religion in Thailand, and through these beautiful places of worship, you will be able to peek through their unique and interesting culture. I'll blog soon about the temple hopping that we did!
Compared to Metro Manila's MRT and LRT systems, Bangkok's is way much better. It is called the BTS Skytrain, and it is reliable, and it would take you to the most parts of the city. I just wished that all the stations have escalators or lifts -- all stations are elevated, so it was exhausting, especially at the end of the day, to climb at least four flights of stairs to reach the station platform.
So there, I'm not totally saying never again to Bangkok, but I don't see myself visit it anytime soon. I would like to visit other places in Thailand, though! Like Chiang Mai and Phuket!