I arrived in Bangkok four days earlier than the rest of the #ContikiAsia16 crew (read part one of the trip here) to explore a city that most would have a love hate relationship with. Picture gridlocked traffic at almost all hours of the day, thousands of temples that can be found on every second corner and copious amounts of questionable food stalls that are strewn across all streets. But amongst the chaos you will discover rare gems that have seen this once vast swampland and intricate waterway network evolve into one of the most visited cities in the world (according to Mastercard). I’ve been fortunate enough to have the luxury of arranging private tours around the city that saw me wandering through the crowded premises of the Grand Palace, meditating in the presence of the most important temple of the city to seeing the preserved parts of the city’s homes still located along canals and waterways.
Pam (from Tours with Tong) was my guide and friend for the next two days and I am a firm believer that every person that comes into your life does so for a reason. We instantly had a connection when we met in the lobby of the W Bangkok and whilst waiting for our driver she asked me the simple question of whether I was a spiritual person. An odd question I know to ask someone you’ve never met before but she later explained that she could feel the energy from my Chrysoprase necklace that I wear around my neck everyday. I’ve never thought of myself as being terribly spiritual but I do believe that the necklace has been able to harness my positive energy and for that, it remains around my neck without fail.
Pam taught me how to meditate and release the negative energy from within me and let go of any anxiety. For those of you who have been keeping up with my personal posts will know that I have had a huge year of change and with that come heavy burdens and sleepless nights. Sitting in the musky temple for what seemed like five minutes turned out to be the better part of an hour as I had a moment of peaceful introspection. Before long I felt tears uncontrollably streaming out of my eyes and had no idea why because I felt no sorrow. What I do know is that I felt a burden lift and as doubtful as you may be reading this, I could feel the negative aura flow out as I absorbed a new flood of positive energy.
The rest of the day was just as enlightening as Pam took me through all the key sites in the city that included the Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Wat Phra Kaew and Jim Thompson’s House. I was driven on my fourth day to an obscure and albeit primitive train station located underneath a highway about an hours drive out from the heart of Bangkok. I was told to sit by a lonesome bench as an old train rolled through to take us into the outskirts of Bangkok. Narrow streets filled with fresh produce, dairy, poultry and seafood with sprinkles of trinkets surrounded the train tracks – so narrow that stalls had to remove their makeshift roofs and products back inside each time a train rolls through. After a quick wander through the streets and a local families home we ventured onto the floating markets – a culinary experience in itself. Purchasing anything almost felt like a naughty drive by transaction you see in movies – the boat approaches and as you pass the goods are exchanged and you’re onto the next before you have time to even thank them for the little box of joy manifesting itself as mango sticky rice. Before you think I’m crazy – desserts always bring me overwhelming amounts of joy. Does anyone else feel the same?
Before I sign off this post I should give a special mention to the W Bangkok for hosting my stay and putting me in one of their amazing suites. I experienced my first muay thai massage and still proudly wear my W muay thai shorts when lounging around the comforts of my room. Thank you to the lovely Jureeporn who dined with me in the amazing House of Sathorn as they showed me what it really meant to have a food baby. I made the rookie error of booking in a late Thai massage that I was asleep for 70% of. The W hotels are amongst my favourite personally to stay at because of their edginess and let’s face it; no one does pools like they do.