Monday, August 15, 2011

BaKK to the BKK

I recently took a short trip to Bangkok.

The trip kicked off with an Incheon Airport party. I headed to the airport with my friend and co-worker Megan, then met Martin and Kiki there later. All of us were flying out to different places at the same time. I kicked off something of a marathon booze day with a Bloody on the way to the airport.

I am the goddamn mayor of ICN Airport. Two important things to know: If one is at the airport early with time to kill, the thing to do is go down to arrivals to hit up Family Mart for normal priced beers. Also, if there is a long check-in line and you aren’t checking a bag and there’s no automated kiosk for your airline, do like me - march up to Business Class check-in like General Sherman and don’t ask questions. Save 40 minutes of wait. Win. That 40 minutes can be spent at Family Mart.

My flight stopped in Hong Kong, which I didn’t know would happen until I boarded. I guess it’s hard to focus on the details when booking a flight 32 hours in advance. Stopping at HKG, this year’s top ranked airport in the world, is mildly inconvenient verses a direct flight, but still not a bad situation. There are downsides to my current life and work, but definitely one of the upsides is knowing exactly where to go for a beer and a snack on a surprise visit to HKG. It’s way more fun knowing my way around ICN and HKG than KCI and BWI.

My first night in town, I had an epic night hanging out with my buddy Scottie. I think we went to every single bar in Bangkok, all the while making obscure KU Basketball references and jokes about Dylan and Daniel. Somehow, this picture of a Family Mart was the only one I took all night, which was probably for the best.

The next day, Sunday, I took a hungover trip through Old Bangkok. Here is one of the many canals.

Here is Chinatown, looking pretty Chinese with it’s long overhead signs.

Hua Lamphong Train Station. It was here that I realized how impossible it would be to get out of town on a 4 night trip. Train rides anywhere cool were in the 14 hour range. The flags were at half staff because the princess of Thailand had just died. Don’t freak out, she was like 85.

On Monday, I made use of the canals on the boats. During the day, canals are the way to go on the old side of the city. Boats cost 35 cents or so and they are far faster than a taxi in the eternal traffic jam that is Bangkok.

On Scottie’s recommendation, I headed for the tallest building in Thailand, Baiyoke Tower. I probably could have chosen a less overcast day. Oh well.

View from the tower - roadgeek porn.

After the tower, I headed to Khao San Road to shop, hit up my favorite Phad Thai stand in the world (which used to be one dude, a wok, and a couple stools, but is now almost a full-fledged restaurant), and to throw back a beer or seven.

More Khao San

This guy has a collar, so he may not be stray. Still, It’s worth noting that Bangkok has arguably the nicest dogs in Southeast Asia. Strays are everywhere, but they hang out together and they all seem happy. They trot down the street, they wag their tails, and I’ve never seen one in a foul mood. In Malaysia and Bali, I’ve run into absolutely terrifying stray dogs.

No surprise, a few Korean fiefdoms were around. Korean pop culture was everywhere, actually. When Scottie and I went to a mall to eat, we heard nothing but K-Pop. Even a large share of the commercials I saw were Korean, but dubbed in Thai.

On Tuesday, I passed the robot building. Seriously awesome.

Wat Arun. I passed it on the river boat but didn’t get out, since I already went a couple years ago. Making a stop could have cut into valuable drinking time.

My hotel. Kidding, kidding. The place I stayed in 2007 wasn’t much better though.

South Bangkok is burning! I never did find out what this was all about, as I left the next day.

Soi Cowboy.

I ended the trip on a literal all night rager with a couple buddies of mine from Seoul that were also in town. I don’t think I’ve had a true all-nighter in a while. Sure, I’ve been out until 6 or 7 or 8 plenty of times in Seoul, but I always went to sleep after that. This time, I headed for the airport and really didn’t get any sleep at all until midnight the following night. Two things about this all nighter:

- I’ll go ahead and strongly recommend my hotel, the Siam Inn. Great location at Sukhumvit Soi 8, nice enough room, and an awesome staff. I requested a wake-up call at 6:45 to catch my flight. Even though the front desk staff saw me trudge into the hotel at 6:30, they still made the call.

- At this point of the trip, I was, like an AFC East wide receiver a decade ago, on the run from the long arm of Thai Law. More on this next time.

No comments: