First Steps In Thailand
We barely left our front door back in the UK less than 24 hours ago, and already our minds and senses have been stimulated far more than we had ever imagined since landing in Thailand, Bangkok, this morning. The sights, sounds…
and smells of this vibrant city have awoken us from our lethargic jet lagged state, after a lengthy flight, and have coaxed us out of our guesthouse in anticipation of what we may find.
We are staying in a large guest house ‘Lamphu House’ just off the famous Ko San Road, popular amongst backpackers and those who wish to be surrounded by like minded travellers. It’s a bustling spot, full of colourful stalls selling clothes, restaurants, massage beauty parlours and small food stalls. Our first quest was to fill our hungry tummies, and just on point we spotted a nearby stall selling the much heard about Pad Thai noodle dish. We both looked at each other, almost able to read each others thoughts, as the same concern crossed our minds: should we eat here? Is it clean? Will be get the notorious jippy tummy from eating food prepared in such a basic stall? The smell was so inviting and the local Thai’s standing around the stall eating the dish looked highly satisfied.
Travel Tip: The advice given to us from two experienced American travellers we had met in the airport on our way here quickly came flooding in: Eat where the locals eat, whilst asking for less spice (unless you’re feeling brave) and eat as much street food as you can.
The bigger restaurants buy their meat and other ingredients in bulk, at times not storing it properly, or holding it past the consume by date. Yes, you guessed it, this leads to customers getting food poisoning. On the other hand the small stalls will always buy their ingredients fresh on the same morning they plan to use them, and due to not having refrigerators, they buy exactly what they need, no left over food to reuse. It’s cooked in front of you and served piping hot! We took the leap of faith and tucked into what was a delicious introduction to Thai food! Six hours have passed and we’re still standing, and even more excited to explore the depths of Thai cuisine over the next 6 weeks, bring it on!
Forget about the food, we wish we had been warned about the traditional Thai massages, which we had earlier this afternoon. After paying the equivalent of £2 each for thirty minutes, we were lucky to have left without a broken spine, after our masseuse had finished walking up and down our backs and twisting us into all sorts of strange shapes! What a entertaining sight to see my husband Jay being sat on and pushed forwards to touch his toes, when he would be unable to touch his knees on a good day! The workers promised we will wake up feeling revitalised and youthful….our prediction is we won’t be able to walk tomorrow!
It’s 11pm and we’ve had a fantastic day visiting the grand palace which was incredibly beautiful, and we are currently back in our guest house Internet cafe after returning from our first evening on Ko San Road. Sitting in a hippy coffee shop at 6pm, dusk hit and the street transformed right before our eyes. Plastic tables and chairs filled up the pavements over spilling onto the roads, and food stalls set up shop to serve to the masses of hungry locals, travellers and expats all in search of a cheap, tasty meal.
It was quite overwhelming trying to decide which stall to eat at, for as far as the eye could see down Ko San Road, the steam off woks galore, frying food, drifted up into the sky, and every few meters, hawks attempted to rein us into their stall. After finally choosing a stall, we opted for a Thai green curry and coconut chicken soup, which certainly didn’t disappoint, and ate whilst watching in awe as the chef created other fascinating dishes we had never seen before, in a stall no more than 2m sq!
What a brilliant first day we have had! We’ve overcome a few fears along the way, which we were to inevitably meet, being first time backpackers to Asia, but based on our experiences today we can only dream about what awaits us on the rest of our trip around Thailand, happy days!