Ahhhhh “Bangkok, Oriental city. The city don’t know what the city is getting. The creme De la Creme of the Chess world with a show with everything but Yule Brenner”.
One of my most favorite cities in the world. A place I feel a deep connection to. I am, so they say, a daughter of Thailand so I must be a sister to Bangkok 🙂
I’ve been to Bangkok a total of 4 times and everytime I leave I’m just dying to come back.
In this little Blog I will attempt to tempt you into gathering your unnecessary courage and visit the capital of Thailand and immerse yourself in all its wonderful glory….
First a quick Run down on Bangkok:
- Name: Bangkok
- Population: 8.5 million as of 2015
- More than 14 million people live in its surrounding Metro area
- Founded as a capital of the Kingdom of Siam in 1782
- Currency: BAHT ( pronounced as you read it 🙂 )
- Home to the monarchy and the Royal Palace
My story of Bangkok began back in 2001. Two of my friend and I decided that to enhance our beauty ( hahahahaha) we would travel half way around the world to visit a tiny clinic with a world renowned doctor who specializes in Male to Female transexual transformations and enhance and correct our bodies. Yes I’m sure you’re all wondering …. Tire Screech………… What? Dr Preechah is a world renowned plastic surgeon who’s done thousands upon thousands of Sex Reassignment surgeries. However, I didn’t come to see him for that… Well, on this trip at least.
At the time I was living in Winona , MN. and our flight times were pretty much deadly. 3 hours from Minneapolis to Los Angeles On Northwest ( no longer with us) LAX to Taipei Taiwan on at that time, the worst airline I’ve ever been on , CHINA AIR, 14 hours. TPE to Hong Kong ( 3 night stay to break it all up ) and a quick 2 hour flight to Bangkok.
In 2001 Bangkok did not have the new and beautiful Suvarnabhumi Airport, so we flew into the now domestic airport for the city called Don Muang Airport. We had a driver meet us at the airport, as is custom for all Dr. Preechah’s patients to receive this type of hospitality. Upon arrival, I could already smell Jasmine in the air, something we hawaiians love and call ( Pikake). Come to find out, the smell of Jasmine is common because everyone is selling it on street corners to use for offerings or for you car.
Upon arrival in Bangkok, I initially found it chaotic. The were twists and turns and cars going in the opposite direction, utilizing our side of the road, which made things pretty dangerous, yet hilarious. Bangkok at the time was growing. It was a huge city, but without the sophistication one would experience today. Sadly, as an uninformed traveler,I didn’t do much research as I was really only there for surgeries.
We checked into our hotel which was right off of Sukhumvit Road , the main street through fair for Bangkok. The hotel , THE SARA INN, ( I’m not even sure if its there anymore) was a very small and cute hotel. The cost per night per person sharing a room was $9. Yes you heard me, $9. It was not the 4 seasons, but it had powerful air-conditioning, comfortable beds, and was very clean.
Our doctor’s clinic was on a little back road next to a few German establishments ( which at the time I thought was odd) There had been some heavy rains the day before so the streets water was up to my calfs. I was not happy about this and started to worry that I made a huge mistake. Needless to say I was wrong.
I’m going to try to make this first trip report as short as possible so excuse me if I know start skimming through things.
Our surgeries were done at the Piyavate Hospital. The rooms were gorgeous like a hotel room. The service and staff was exemplary. They would wash our hair and sing songs to us and made the whole experience top notch.
We were in Bangkok a total of 2 weeks. Not long enough in my option.
Within that time we caught their Sky train called the BTS, a new innovation for the city at the time, and it was and continues to be a great mode of transportation in the city as it is Air-conditioned and quick and if you know Bangkok’s traffic, you would gladly take the sky train any day.
Not knowing the city very well due to our lack of research, we walked around Sukhumvit Road enjoying going store to store and practicing our best bargaining tools to try and get the best deal in their wears. One of our nurses took us to exchange money, in a travel agency, in the back room, in a secret area, to get BLACK money market funds… OOOOOOOOOh so cloak and dagger of us. With a higher USD denomination, the more Baht we got.
We discovered one fantastic place for a first time tourist to Bangkok:MBK: Ma Boon Khrong Shopping Center, a huge shopping mall with everything you can think of, either knocked off, or cheaply made. I found that everything but Thai products weren’t of the best quality, but the Thai articles were exquisitely done , even though I know they are not even close to being the real deal .. We loved it there as it is air-conditioned
We weren’t very adventurous unfortunately since we were healing. We did manage to see the Reclining Buddha or Wat Pho as it is called in Thai.. It was really amazing, and I’ll get more into it a little later.
Pat Pong District: Our funny Nurse suggested we go see a sex show. I’m gonna keep this really short as my experience wasn’t the best because I truly felt so bad for these young men, who most were straight but needed the money. We did it, we saw it, and we weren’t happy with the conditions for them … It is the one thing I’m so ashamed of seeing because I felt as if we were perpetuating that industry that’s ruining Thailand.
Our nurse also had a funny notion for us to go and watch the Katoy Show ( drag show) in Pattaya, about an hour ( if I recall) drive from Bangkok called Alcazar. It was phenomenal . Its is in a huge theater where there are stage lifts, floating acrobats, and drop dead gorgeous performers. It was a really good show.
We also got suckered in by our driver to visit a Jewelry store. When we pulled up it was surrounded by guys with machine guns. We were walked through the factory part first to see how they make the beautiful intricate designs. I did end up buying a ruby ring. Whether the quality was any good I have no idea as I know longer have it . Bummer 😦
Our trip was very interesting, we laughed a lot and was always on high alert for at the time, it did seem a bit seedy. I haven’t yet discovered its true beauty and unfortunately like most they only see the surface of this Amazing city.
I don’t have any pictures online from this time. But stay tuned for my next post to follow where I spent a whole month in Bangkok and discovered so much.
I know this isn’t a very informative post, but like my experience , it was and is just the beginning.
Thank you for entertaining this menial post….
Krap Khun Kah