Good morning from BKK!
I made it to my bike tour yesterday, but was in a bit of a rush getting there. I wanted to take public transit to avoid traffic. Best way- a canal boat! Just like in Venice. It was great, really really fast and no traffic. Total cost was 23 baht (less than $1). I had to ask a few ppl for help navigating which boat, how much, and when to depart, but ppl were really helpful. One guy saw me looking at the map and just offered to help. I'm one of the only white people around, so ppl assume I need help and just provide it.
I also had to get bottled water yesterday to quench my thirst. That was part of the rush to the bike tour place. So before the canal boat ride I went to 7 Eleven and got 2 big big bottles for 13 baht each. That's less than $1 total. The hotel is selling fancy mineral water in tiny containers for 150 baht ($5). Same price as my breakfast today and more than my cab ride home yesterday. To get home from the bike tour place it was a 20-25 min ride. The cab driver was the most dishonest person I met yet, because he didn't have his meter running when I got in. Fortunately my pre-trip research paid off because I told him to please pull over and I would find a ride with a meter. And just like that he turned it on. I was a bit nervous he would take a long, indirect way, but he drove me right back home. For less than $3! I bet he could have charged somebody else like $30.
The bike tour was about $40 USD, and definitely worth it. We biked about 7 miles around town, from 6-10pm. I saw most of the temples I was planning on going to this morning, but at dark when they are not crowded at all. Plus, it was much cooler temps at dark. We didn't get to go inside any of the famous Buddhas because they were closed, but... I think I'll survive not seeing those in person. The bike tour had 2 guides and 11 tourists. Of the tourists, there were 2 other solo females, one looked like she was in college and the other was from Europe, a bit older than me. I didn't really talk to them much. There was also a couple from Germany that I talked to a bit. They were so nerdy and really nice, also around my age. We tried some fried grasshoppers! It just tasted like fried oil. I was not a fan. But I ate a grasshopper, haha. I also got a watermelon in a bag with hot chilis on it. The watermelon was sooo good. The tour company bought those for me. Everybody got to try some random snacks. I was too afraid to eat any of the meat on a stick though... Today I will get some Pad Thai and egg rolls from a stall, and hopefully some coconut ice cream and sticky rice. The experience last night helped show me buying food stall food is easy and people are nice so i don't need to be nervous. Our bike tour also went to the famous flower market. It's where most all the flowers from Thailand are sold. It was awesome, smelled great. You could buy 50 roses for 50 baht (less than $2). The guide said that goes up to like 500+ baht during valentines day. Biking around the streets/alleys of BKK was nuts though. It's so crowded, and there's motorbikes all around, plus ton of stray dogs and cats and ppl walking. But, I really liked it. I got to see lots of the city. I want to rent a bike in Chiang Mai tomorrow so I can see all the temples I researched on my walking tour. Biking is way faster than walking and doesn't hurt my knee. I think the grand canyon really messed my knee up. But, it would probably help if I rested it instead of walking everywhere. Not really gonna happen!
So today, I have until my train to Chiang Mai departs at 6:10pm to explore Bangkok more. I'm going to take the public transit to the train station and see if I can get a locker for my bag so I don't have to carry it around all day. I want to walk around Chinatown, which is right near the train station. I'm looking forward to the overnight train ride, as hopefully I can meet some other travelers. There probably won't be internet onboard, but my hotel in Chiang Mai should have it, so I'll try and notify you when I arrive tomorrow. Chiang Mai should also be cooler, but even if not, it's a much smaller city, so hopefully not as chaotic. Bangkok is intense, kind of exhausting.
|Double checking that all the bikes have lights|
|just like the cool kids|
|Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun)|
|Fried bugs at the Flower Market. I tried the grasshopper.|
|Folded Lotus Flowers|
|Watermelon with chilis on it. YUM.|
|The Grand Palace|