My impressions of Bangkok were not great. After heading to Shanghai last year Lizzie and I felt prepared for what a big Asian city was like – the busyness, dirtiness and constantly being harassed. Bangkok had all of that, and it was ok. What were weren't prepared for, but had heard about, were the sleazy undertones of the city.
There seemed to be a large amount of old white men with young Thai girls, which was disturbing enough until we saw an old white man with a young Thai boy who had a look on his face of complete resignation. That was just about it for us and we wandered a bit more and headed home for the night, also with the feeling of being a farang (foreigner) that we were taking advantage also.
We hit up a couple of temples and the Golden Buddha but without relevant knowledge we quickly got temple overload. Next time we'll get a guide. The tourist haunt of Koh-San Rd was good for a few beers, after which we took a walk down to the flower markets, which were incredible – so much colour!
Despite all its negatives, Bangkok really is a mind boggling city. Like any big Asian city it is not high rise, and consequently is huge. Driving in taxis for km's you still see the hustle and bustle, and the extraordinary large amounts of street food stalls – which is another thing about Bangkok – the people seem really enterprising, everyone sells something! And despite all of the haggling and blatant lying (the temple is closed, the temple is that way, as they try to get you to go on their tour) in the tourist areas, the people are really friendly and always give a wave, a smile and a sawadee (hello). After all, they are only trying to make their way in life, and you just can't get too annoyed or take it personally. Its something we will probably see a lot more of on this trip yet...