On June 19th, 2018, I took my first flight outside of the United States. It took about 12 hours to get to Osaka, Japan, where I spent the longest 6 hours of my life waiting for another 5 hour flight to Bangkok, Thailand. I arrived in Bangkok at 4:45 in the morning. The first thing that stood out to me was none other than the humidity. Prior to my trip, many people warned me about how humid Thailand will be, but it was nothing like what I expected. Just stepping for a minute will leave you super sweaty. It was not until about 6:00 AM, after going through baggage claim and currency exchange, that I was finally in a taxi on my way to my apartment. During the 30 minute drive, I noticed how alive the streets were in the early morning. Vendors were already out prepping food for a long day of sale. People were walking to places. Some were waiting for the bus at the bus stop.
For someone who lived in Los Angeles for 4 years, one of the main complaints I often hear from others is the traffic. I, myself, am guilty of complaining about the traffic as well. However, the traffic in Los Angeles cannot compare to the traffic in Thailand. Multiple modes of transportation fill the streets. Loads of colorful green and pink taxis, cars, tuk tuks, and veering motorcycles veer in and out of traffic. Within fraction of a second, these vehicles move within multiple lanes. There are so much cars, but there are hardly any jams because of the efficiency of all the drivers. Motorcyclists do not fear getting run over nor were drivers afraid of running motorcyclists over. I may be over-exaggerating, but it will definitely take me some time to get used to being in a taxi.
Other things that stood out to me were the numerous 7-Eleven convenience stores. There is literally a 7-Eleven every 2-3 blocks. Images of the late king and other important figures are plastered displayed throughout Bangkok. The building structures are absolutely phenomenal and rich with Thai culture. During my first week in Bangkok, I visited a number of places in the area, that is, of course, after my post-arrival 12 hour “nap.” First, during orientation day, a few others and I toured Thammasat University, where we will be studying for the next month. Next, I visited places such as the Central Plaza Pinklao, Siam Square, and Chatuchak Weekend Market. I would have to say that the highlight of my first week here was taking the Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) Skytrain. The view of Bangkok from the skytrain is absolutely breathtaking. To see more on my first week experience in Thailand, check out my video at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlSEI3EtQ98