Monday, April 3, 2006

Bangkok: Day 1

05:30 - It's still dark outside when the Thai airways jumbo touches down after a short 9,5 hours flight. But by the time I get stamped in by immigration, have picked up my heavy bag and have walked through customs the sun is already shining brightly.

06:15 - Outside the airport terminal I grab a taxi -read: a cab driver grabs me- and give him the address of the New Road Guest House. Despite a big sticker on the window proclaiming 'We speak english' the driver only speaks Thai. It being pretty early, there's barely any traffic, and we make it to Charoen Krung road in less than half an hour. After which the driver slows down so I can look out for a sign of the guest house... which amazingly enough I do spot! (fare: 360 THB, incl. the 60 THB toll way fee)

07:00 - The guest house being owned by Jysk rejsebureau, it's basically a hang-out for Danish travellers. I've gotten the key to a basic fan room, with private Danish style hot water shower & toilet 2-in-1 and minibar fridge (370 THB for one or two persons/night). Not having slept at all on the plane I allow myself a short nap.

10:30 - I finally manage to get up. All groggy, my brain just refusing to boot up. As I step out of the air conditioned guesthouse, Bangkok's humid warmth hits me full force, like walking into a wall. This is so great! The street's bustling now. It's a short 8' stroll to the Robinson mall where I do some shopping for toiletries and have an almost milkless iced cafe latte at Black Canyon Coffee (65 THB) and a spicy porc salad (65 THB). Luckily the waiter advised me to order it 'little spicy', so it only came with a handfull of red hot chillies. On the way back a tuktuk driver offers me a one hour city tour for only 40 THB. But I decline. It's probably a commisioned shopping scam anyway.

14:00 - Getting my e-fix for today. It only costs 1 THB per minute to get plugged right into the WWW from the guesthouse's terminals.

16:00 - Afternoon walk along Charoen Krung road, which seems to be the street for jewelry vendors (silver & gems), and down some of the side streets, one of which leads to the Chao Phraya river.

19:00 - Dinner in the guesthouse: rice with chili basil chicken (70 THB). That's the second time today I forget I'm in Thailand and that the chilies here are live! Result: burning lips.



Visum
Belgian citizens automatically get a four week visum upon entry. For longer stays a visum must be requested beforehand. In Copenhagen, a two month visum can be obtained from the Thai embassy within a week. Besides your passport you must bring two pictures, a copy of your Danish residence permit & travel documents, fill in an application, and pay 175 DKK.

Time
Bangkok time = Copenhagen summer time + 5 hours.

Weather
Air temperature's around 35°C, very humid with occasional tropical showers. Water temperature is a balmy 29°C.

Currency
1 Euro = 46 THB , 1 USD = 37 THB

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