Thailand Arrival - A Backpacker in Bangkok

At 19 years old, getting of the plane and arriving in Bangkok , Thailand was a very daunting prospect. My travelling partner and I were putting a brave face on it, but underneath we were extremely nervous. On collecting our luggage, we decided that we would quickly top up our Dutch courage in the Airport arrivals bar.

We now had to brave our first challenge on the 6 month journey, finding accommodation for the first night. Armed with our Lonely Planet guides we donned our backpacks, and headed for the exit.

In the sweltering heat of a S.E Asian summer, we were met by a barrage of taxi drivers, desperate for our business. Trying to follow the guide book to the letter, and not to look to much like fresh faced kids straight off the plane from the UK (but failing miserably), we headed for the Airport Taxi stand.

I had the horror story in the back of my mind that a close friend of mine had told me some months before on his first experience getting off the plane on arrival into India . He recalled to me, that having stepped outside he was met by a very friendly cab driver offering his services to take them to their pre-arranged accommodation.

They quickly took up his offer, jumping in without a second thought. Driven round in circles, in what to them seemed a very unfriendly area, in the very early hours they were dropped off outside a dilapidated hotel. On questioning the driver, they were quickly shouted down, and frog marched to the entrance of the Hotel.

Here they were forced to pay money for a room to stay in. When they refused, the situation became more threatening. Scared for their safety they paid, stayed the night, and quickly left early the next morning. This was not the ideal start to their trip.

It was a mistake that had happened to many before and many afterward no doubt. In a strange country for the first time it is all too easy to get sucked into a con until you have established your footing. It is something that is less likely the more experience you have, and indeed the more lessons you learn.

Determined to learn from this unfortunate tale, we went strictly by the book. We hopped in our cab, and despite the nightmarish traffic in this developing city arrived safely at the sanctuary of the Koh Sahn Road , the starting place for any traveller to the beautiful country of Thailand . Then came the next challenge; finding a room.

Arriving in Koh Sahn Road after midday can cause some problems doing this. Year round the road is a very busy place as it is the place were most journeys start and end in Thailand . We had arrived in peak season, and knew we had a lot of searching to do to get settled. Let the search begin!

It is a strange place, awash with all nationalities, street sellers, and Tuk-Tuks. We walked the length of the street before finally finding a room. It was a less than luxurious room to say the least, but it served a purpose for us. We took our valuables with us, changed in some rather more appropriate attire, and headed out for a well earned beer.

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