Day 1 – Singapore/Bangkok

Swell / Day 1 of 64 / 10 May

So this is goodbye! We arrived at Changi Airport Terminal 4 at 8am. It’s all self-service in T4, so there were no traditional check-in counters. We used the bag drop to get rid of our turtle shells, before having The Last Breakfast with Gab and Zack. Soon after, we cleared auto-immigration and headed off to board our flight to the Land of Smiles (AirAsia FD358, airasia.com, 90 SGD/pax)!

Lads.

After two hours in a metal tube, we arrived at Don Mueang Airport and boarded an airport transfer bus to Chatuchak Market, which is conveniently located beside Mo Chit BTS Station. We skipped Chatuchak though, because, it wasn’t the weekend, and Ryan had already been there at least twice.

I personally didn’t even know BKK had trains despite being here several months before (I know, I know…)! I was really surprised at how similar it was to our own MRT back home, and I realised I had been subconsciously thinking of BKK as somehow inferior to Singapore. That made me feel like such a dick…

Anyway, self-loathing complete, we alighted at Surasak BTS Station. Our cosy little hostel, The Local Surasak Hostel (20 SGD/night) was only a short walk away. Located in between old shophouses and street stalls was a beautiful rustic wooden shed with fairy lights and artificial grass.

We rang the doorbell several times before we realised the owners weren’t in. Oh no. Luckily, we were rescued by Michael, who was a fellow guest at the hostel. He let us in and showed us around our room, and also informed us of the hostel rules. About ten minutes after, an elderly female staff member came to assist us in checking in. Thank god Michael had already run us through it all because the lady didn’t speak a word of English. It was pretty hilarious because we were lost in translation. She was firing off the rules (I presume) and instructions (I presume as well) in Thai! And the only “words” we could get across were “yes”, “okay”, and “good”. A lot of thumbs ups, head nods, and “ok” signs were used as well.

1B0CAAE6-2900-4BA2-8736-2069CCBD72DA.jpg

This aunty is trolling us all.

It was honestly one of the most interesting interactions I’ve ever had, and I sort of regret not busting the camera out to record it.

Once we had left our bags in the room, I changed into something more comfortable and we headed to the main train station at Hua Lamphong [สถานีหัวลำโพง, Sthani hawlaphong] to get our tickets for our train to Cambodia! Hua Lamphong was a mere 2km away, but the heat and uneven roads nearly killed us! Sweat drenched, we arrived only to be told by the counter staff that tickets could only be bought on the day of departure itself! Well, at least we got an impromptu workout out of the trek.

And some nice photos too!

Rather disappointed by our own stupidity, we left Hua Lamphong and took the MRT to Phetchaburi to explore Bangkok’s famous ArtBox (infinitely better than the Singaporean edition). On our walk towards ArtBox, we bought some chicken from a street vendor. He spoke Chinese and he told us that ArtBox was closed due to rent problems. Wow. We thanked him for the heads up and realised that the universe really does work in mysterious ways.

So, two disappointments in a row. Third times the charm. We took the MRT to the Train Night Market Ratchada, which is also sometimes called the New Rot Fai Market. Endless rows of food stalls and shops, selling everything from raw prawns to knock-off Nikes. We had some simple Thai food for dinner before exploring the market. You’ve got to fill up first you know.

I bought some shirts, a pair of glasses, and a watch. Ryan got a t-shirt with a shiba on it because he loves doges. Satisfied with our purchases, we headed back to our hostel. After some light workouts, we decided to hang out in the common area.

We had a chat with Michael too! Turns out he used to work as a pension advisor for the education system in Denmark, and he’s been in BKK for the last two months for his studies. We learned a fair bit about Denmark from him. Did you know that Denmark has a lottery system for military conscription? We neither. Cold comfort for all the Singaporean guys out there: misery loves company. Except, in the Danish system, only a third of all males are drafted. He also told us about some places in Copenhagen we could visit when we get there, such as the hippie commune of Pusher Street or the best museum in Denmark: the Viking Museum in Roskilde. We exchanged contact information and he told us that we could hit him up when we were in Denmark, and hopefully, he’ll be back home by then to show us around!

Pretty swell day 🙂

P.S. I take so many nice photos of Ryan.

– Sam

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