Distance: 31km (19m)
Location: Suk 11 Hostel, Bangkok, Thailand
Rested and recovered from jet lag after a long night sleep in our first guesthouse. We loaded up the bikes and navigated west from the airport aiming towards downtown Bangkok and the Sukhumvit neighborhood. The biking was slow with stops for photos and culture shock, we stopped by a roadside market and picked up a kilo of oranges. On the hunt for more substantial food and a possible coffee, the sight of fried things and Nescafe caught our eye.
After repeatedly attempting to order a “Thai coffee” we settled for the surprise version accompanied with an array of unknown fried goodies. What was served was a sweetened black coffee and a combination of fried dough and fried bananas.
While munching one our “breakfast” we were dumbfounded by the mountains of packages the Thai postal carriers were handling on their motorcycles. There seem to be no limit, all held on by a bungee cord or two.
A prolonged stop at a bike shop saw four bike mechanics tuning our two bikes dialing in the shifting, for their service, we were lighter 200baht ($6) and more satisfied with our two wheeled machines. We quickly learned riding in Bangkok is unlike riding in the US. The traffic moves in the most efficient flow possible regardless of might or size. Filtering through traffic to the front of the light is the norm for scooters and motorcycles, cars will honk out of courtesy and will almost always yield to another smaller vehicle. Pedestrians on the other hand are second class citizens and thoroughly ignored.
Finally in the Sukhumvit neighborhood we consulted Maps.me and our guidebook, navigating our way down the tiny Soi (alley) to what the GPS said was Suk 11 Hostel. A helpful resident pointed randomly to our bikes and back the way we came, advising us…well who knows. We parked the bike and on foot quickly found the hostel tucked in the corner. A few questions later and some paperwork we had ourselves our room!
Now paying customers we proceeded to ignore the helpful pointing and random instructions and parked the bikes in the entry and unloaded them carrying pannier first then bike up three floors to our room. Despite having one of the most secure locks made and wheel locks we were not comfortable locking the bikes out of sight, outside, over-night.
After a thorough exploration of our hostel we set out to wander the streets in search of dinner. The contrast from day to night was incredible. Shuttered shops flung open their doors, the wide sidewalks were now lined with Thai’s selling every manner of souvenir trinket, clothing, and food item imaginable. The business actors of the daytime were replaced with bleary eyed tourist searching for their next thrill. Wandering Sukhumvit Road we were lured into a restaurant garage by the sight of cooked whole fish, and an enthusiastic salesman pushing the menu on every passerby.
After a large, tasty, and inexpensive meal we proceeded to join the fray of wandering tourist finding ourselves questioning the existence of the posh Central Embassy, as well as figuring out the motorcycle taxi routes. Bangkok is a mega city completely overwhelming at first, but we are quickly learning. This will be a fun start to our SE Asian adventure.