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Page updated: 2018-09-20

Sawadee kha, Sawadee khrap

First impression

Home - Travel stories - Bangkok - First impression

A first impression of Bangkok, difficult. The first time was in 1987, over 25 years ago. For Pia after three years in Netherlands coming home again, for Tom the first time in Thailand. By the bus, read converted pickup, from Pia's sister Nok from the airport to the house of Pia's parents.

What is striking is that there are few tall buildings along the road, usually just two to four floors. You were expecting something else in such a big city. And increasingly idle land or rice fields. And we are still in Bangkok.

After an hour we turn into a narrow, unpaved path, after about 200 meters the house of Pia's parents. No chairs, open on two sides, a lot of people, a roof of corrugated iron, and half above the water. We are still in Bangkok.

The next day by bus to Bangkok (we were there anyway?), to the center. Old manual gearbox buses, which stop just anywhere to pick up passengers. Three quarters of an hour on a narrow road, to the terminus under a viaduct, along a canal with filthy black water. There waiting for the next bus, along a very busy road, Sukhumvit Road. Shops everywhere, market stalls everywhere on the sidewalk. But this is not yet the center of Bangkok.

Now a newer bus, with air conditioning, ice cold. The bus is crawling through traffic, after an hour we get out. Now high buildings everywhere, sometimes very high. We are in Pathum Wan. This is one of the shopping districts of Bangkok. Large, very modern shops, and more beautiful than in the Netherlands. And often on the top floor a restaurant, across the whole floor.

Now, in 2013, it is still an experience to arrive in Bangkok. Every time is different, Bangkok is constantly changing. We stay there near the new airport, and there are still rice fields. But the road has turned into a six-lane highway, and there are toll roads added. There is a new railway line from the airport into Bangkok. The buses are much more modern, the cars also. More shops, sometimes with carousels and roller coasters on the roof.

It remains a fascinating city.


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