Travel Stories 4: Lost in Bangkok

We have always been dependent on technology to take us around. With GPS in almost every device, exploring new cities have become much easier or that’s what we thought when we set foot in Bangkok. Nestled on the banks of Chao Praya river, Bangkok or Krung Thep as locally known, is a commercial and cultural hub. High rise buildings scaling the skies and quaint little temples in every corner – Bangkok is a city for everyone. The city’s energy was contagious the minute we step foot onto the airport. After we got comfortably settled in our hotel, my dad came up with the idea of exploring the city.

Equipped with our mobiles and little research on transport, we set off into the city. The receptionist at the front desk suggested that we take the train as its cheaper and faster. Navigating the metro map was incredibly efficient and we finally decided to get down at the MBK mall. What better than a mall to spend a lazy evening. After endless hours of shopping, it was finally time to go back.

This was when the trouble started. While we did our research on transport and location maps, we forgot one tiny detail – Bangkok has two branches of Hotel Ramada completely in the opposite direction. Blissfully unaware, we started searching for the way back. Google maps suggested us the shortest route which was surprisingly just 20 mins away by walk. We decided to not waste our money but our time instead.

Bangkok felt different after dusk. Walking along the heavily congested roads with the crimson sky as the backdrop felt ironically beautiful. While we got lost in our idle talk, we didn’t realize that we passed onto the quieter part of the town. Our chit – chat was cut short by a notification. We had finally reached our destination. Looking around all we saw was a completely different Ramada which was unfortunately closed for renovation. Apart from the lone watchman at the gate, there was hardly anyone else.  Our futile attempt to explain that we were lost was met with blank faces. To our luck, nobody around us at that time spoke English.

Dad was especially tensed to be stranded in the streets of Bangkok with 3 girls in tow. During the time we were contemplating our options, a tuk-tuk stopped in front of us. A tuk-tuk is the Bangkok equivalent for Indian rickshaws. The driver offered to take us to our hotel for an enormous pay. Left with no other options, we stepped in without further ado. This was what we thought, as the end to our problems – we were wrong. The tuk-tuk took us to another unfamiliar street. He went on to inform us that our hotel was just a few blocks away. When asked why he couldn’t drop us over there, he blamed the traffic – fair enough.

Our unfortunate luck didn’t end here. Turns out we have just been the victim of the infamous scam. Tuk-tuk drivers were known to deceive unsuspecting tourists.  We had absolutely no idea where we were. Stranded once again, with mobile phones on the verge of dying – the night turned into a nightmare. Left with little choice, we started looking for the main road.

That’s when our knight in shining armour arrived. Only in this case, he was a taxi driver. Recounting the day’s events proved to be a great conversation starter and we ended up talking through the way. We must have been in a terrible state because he offered to drive us around for the rest of our stay. Our gratitude knew no bounds. For the next four days, he became our guide. From floating markets to the temples of Wat Pho – our trip wouldn’t have been hassle free without him. Over time, he went from being an acquaintance to a friend.

 

Sometimes when things don’t go according to plan, I think about the stranger we met on the streets of Bangkok. And how a tiny mistake on our part yielded unexpected results. The trip gave us two valuable lessons to take home – Every bad situation has little good in it and not to trust dad’s claims of being a navigation expert. This will remain in memory as the trip that showed that every cloud does have a silver lining.

Written by Aneesha Muthuraj for MTTN

Graphics – Yashovardhan Parekh

Image source – Google Images

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