Arriving to Bangkok to see one of your best buds is both a blessing and a recipe for disaster! Hitting Khao San Road (backpackers haven) we immediately went to testing the rumors of how cheap the booze really is. Even with Khao Sans inflated prices you can still get big beers for 1.50, not bad! A bucket is what it sounds like…one bucket, four straws and lots of the good stuff….
But cheap and amazing pad thai is what it’s really about! 30 Baht for a Full plate ($1).
Or maybe it’s the entertainment? Bboys on Khao San? Ping Pong Show?
I mean, you have to get right into the culture right?
But other than cheap clothes and cheap food, Bangkok has more to it than that. Culture lurks around each corner, and even taking a 5 minute walk around the corner led us to see a young Monks inauguration ceremony. Do they really know what there in for? But for the family this is a great honor.
The Buddha’s come in big small, skinny, tall, reclining, sitting, eating and smoking…. As we were explained, they’re all the same – so chubby Buddha from china (the one we’re most used to) is no different from Thailand’s skinny Buddha’s. What IS cool is the ceremony behind these gods. See the picture below for what I mean.
Tough right? And It’s not molasses…. Apparently you pray to these guys for luck or prosperity, and if your lucky enough to get your wish you must return to the god and place heroin in its mouth for thanks….yes heroin, or so we were told…. How badass is that?!
Ceremony is huge in Thailand. And it’s everywhere. You will often see incense burning alongside a cup of coffee, maybe some pineapple, a melon or even a cup of Yogurt. These offerings are to certain gods for protection, luck and wealth. Each day, offerings are placed outside with specific prayers, depending on the persons needs. Thais are very spiritual in nature with a strong belief in the unseen spirits. Each shrine can seem similar but may be very different in its significance. So when in Thailand, or asia for that matter, and you see a mango laying around outside a household….don’t eat it.
Word to the wise, when you travel Bangkok, or anywhere in Thailand for that matter, do your research before you go. I hate to say scammers, but everyone is out to make an extra dollar (even the gov’t). Lucky Buddha day is EVERYDAY. If they say a temple is only open for today, they’ll say that tomorrow too. If you take a gov’t tuk tuk – great price (all over town for 20 Baht) you need to suck up your time at the “worlds greatest tailor shop” and say no thank you because I don’t think travelling the world with a new Armani is all that sensible.
But DO dive into the culture. Learn to pray at the temples, always be respectful and continue to learn as you go.