I’m sitting in Bangkok, suffering from a little bit of culture shock and trying to adapt to new circumstances. Everything is a bit different here and, although it is a change, it feels exciting and fresh. Well, fresh is maybe not a word I would use to describe Bangkok but you get the idea!
Other things have changed as well. I am here on my own..
I have been considering walking Asia with just a backpack for a while, without the Mule, and that is what I finally decided to do. The Mule is resting, the alu-box on its way to Sweden and I bought a Osprey 48 litre backpack in San Diego. I’m going very minimalist and have cut down my pack list to the bare minimum, after all, I’m going to have to carry it all myself!
Here it is:
1 thin fleece jumper
1 long sleeve shirt
1 short sleeve shirt
1 pr shorts
1 pr thin long pants
1 pr thin training shorts (used as extra shorts and bathing shorts)
4 pr underpants
4 pr socks
Light weight GoreTex type jacket
Teva sandals (almost worn out and ready for the bin)
Merrell barefoot shoes
Small basic toiletries kit
Small basic first aid kit
Sleeping bag liner (no sleeping bag)
Foam sleeping pad
Water filter (sort of like a thick straw)
Thin cord (tent guy line to use for everything from washing to fixing stuff)
Emergency food (power bars) Thanks Alena!
Macbook Air 11” (+ charger)
Xperia Z Compact phone
Extra battery (13000 ma)
Richo GR camera with extra battery
SD memory cards in shock and waterproof case
Osprey Kestrel 48 backpack
Small extra courier bag to organise valuables and use as carry-on luggage
That’s it. The list might look like a lot but that really is not much stuff. It even all fits into the 48 litre backpack, including the sleeping pad, which, although very light, takes up a lot of space.
All loaded up it weighs 14 kilos, which I think is very respectable considering that I have both a lot of electronics and a tent with me.
I need to try to find a multi-tool, leatherman or similar. Or maybe just a knife. Will be having a look around the markets in Bangkok to see what I can find.
The flight to Bangkok was long. First a 1 hour 40 min flight to San Francisco, followed by a 4 hour stop over.
Then a 13 hour flight to Taipei with a quick transfer to a 3 hour 40 min flight to Bangkok that arrived at 1.45 in the morning. I was not well rested by the time we landed in Bangkok…
After passing through immigration and customs I spent some time hanging around the airport, waiting for the sun to rise. I had booked a room on Silom Rd and planed to walk into town but did not want to start in the dark. Anyway, I would not be able to check in before 3 pm. Spent the time getting a prepaid Thai sim card for my phone, eating and wandering around looking at all the travellers and backpackers that were sleeping on any free surface.
There was a definite backpacker, budget traveller feel to the airport and it felt nice. Sort of welcoming!
As the sun started rising I started my first walking day in Asia. Yet another continent to add to the list!
Like most airports in the world, it was difficult to find a good walkway. They always seem to be organised for motor transport, there never seems to be provisions for walkers. But once I left the vicinity of the airport it got a lot easier. Interesting to walk in Bangkok, so different from the USA or Europe.
I took my time, walking slowly and having lots of breaks. I was tired after not getting much sleep for the last 24 hours and was not used to carrying the backpack. I hope most of my tiredness was due to lack of sleep and not the extra weight. Funny thing is, that my total weight, including the backpack, is less than just my own weight when I started from Stockholm.
It was warm but cloudy and after what felt like a long day I arrived at my hotel on Silom Rd. I pretty much crashed that evening and any thoughts of exploring were lost in a dim wariness. Even forgot to get something to eat…
I’ve now spent a few days exploring Bangkok, mostly on foot, and am ready to move on. There seems to be 3 big areas of entertainment in Bangkok. Shopping, eating and sex. The shopping is divided into shopping centres and street vendors. The shopping centres are no longer cheap the way they once were and a lot of stuff is more expensive than in the USA. Camping equipment is much more expensive, glad I bought my backpack before leaving America. The street shopping can be very cheap but then that is often reflected in the quality of the goods. How much stuff do you need anyway? Truth is that I am rather put off by the unbridled commercialism on show everywhere. Looks like I am becoming a true minimalist!
All that said, I did buy a pair of Oakley sunglasses for 200 bath. Guaranteed to be original, original copies that is. I need a new pair as my Police sunglasses, bought in Cypress for 10 Euro, have taken a bit of a beating and are looking decidedly secondhand.
Eating is great here, especially if you like Thai food. Again, there is a great range of prices , from expensive western chains like Starbucks charging 140 bath for a latte, to a serving of Thai curry with chicken and rice costing 40 bath at a street side cafe. I had the curry for breakfast one day and it was brilliant. Such a change from the rather bland fast food I had been eating in the USA.
I’m being a good boy and am staying away from the sex trade. It’s pretty widespread and obvious around the tourist areas and it is impossible to walk down the street during the evening without being constantly propositioned.
I intend to start walking south tomorrow starting with a good 42 km day. It will be very interesting to see what that feels like now that I am a bit better rested. Hopefully I will survive even if it becomes a long day. Looks like I will have 2 or 3 longer days before I get closer to the resort areas on the easter cost of the Thai peninsula. One I get there I am looking forward to spending a few days on or near a beach and there are plenty of them.
Until then the only thing I need to do is to keep walking!