After hanging out on the islands, I figured it was time to finally move to Bangkok itself. I arrived on the overnight train, and found a local bus to take me to Khao San road. This is the central location for every dirty backpacker in all of SE Asia. It’s a huge street crowded with cheap guest houses, restaurants with big screen TVs, cheap beer, and decent food. You can get any kind of counterfeit merchandise you could ever want here, from student IDs to Kathmandu backpacks. If you’re going to run into someone you know, this is the place for it to happen. Out of the dozen or so nights I stayed here at various times during this trip, there were only three days where I didn’t find a familiar face. The first time it happened was when I ran into Meg, who I’d first met in the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia, and then again in Penang. This time I found her when we both happened to be browsing the same rack of fake T-shirts. Amazing! Anyway, we spend a couple of days hanging out, seeing the various temples of Bangkok, checking out a Mexican film festival, and catching a Thai boxing match.
Bangkok is a city full of temples. You could dedicate an entire holiday to doing nothing but seeing all of them, and still not finish. We concentrated on three of the most famous, including Wat Po, Wat Arun, and Wat Phra Rattanasatsadaram. Wat Po is famous for being the oldest Wat (temple) in Bangkok. It’s known for it’s huge reclining statue of the Buddha, and for it’s massage school. Wat Arun is one of the most majestic looking Wats, situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya river. It’s got a huge stupa that is most spectacular at sunset when the setting sun sinks slowly behind it. The best view is either from a boat on the river, or from a dock directly across from it on the other shore. Wat Phra Rattansatsadaram (Wat Phra) is located on the grounds of the King of Thailand’s residence. It’s got a jade Buddha statue inside that the King himself changes the clothes on three times a year. It’s a relatively expensive Wat to tour, but really can’t be missed.