Manila to Bangkok

manila philippines street jeepney manila philippines morning street prostitute manila philippines red light district night neonJacked in at the Manila International Airport, waiting for my Air Philippines plane arrive to take me from Manila to Bangkok. Wow, Manila is a shithole. I planned my flight from Japan to Thailand so I’d have a night layover here just to see what the city is like. Got a cheap hostel downtown (the reviews said no bugs), which turned out to be smack in the middle of a redlight district. I’ve never seen so many hookers in my life. Coming here straight from clean, polite, orderly Japan was a crazy shift in cultures. The place has a distinct “anything goes, no one cares” vibe similar to Central America. I had wanted to walk around a bit to check out the area, but during my first (and last) excursion to find food I saw more than enough to satisfy my curiosity. In short, it’s a meat market. I felt like meat too as countless women of the night propositioned me with words, eyes, and bodies. Hustlers, barefoot preschoolers laying in the street begging, two men approach me wanting something, one brandishing a Taser which he repeatedly and aggressively discharges threateningly close to my leg, police pay no mind, old white men manhandling under-aged prostitutes, motorbikes brapping by. I haven’t seen slum in a long time and so it catches me off-guard and makes me sad to see how some people live. At 7am the hookers are still as thick as the traffic, which is a nightmare. My taxi driver manages to rip me off to the tune of 2000 peso (~$50CAD), oh well, I need to spend it anyways, better on him than “made in the Philippines” junk airport souvenirs.manila air philippines from above airplane bangkok thailand view from nasa vegas hotel

bus bangkok thailand bangkok shrine soda offerings bangkok street market food venders fruit standsSo, I make it from Manila to Bangkok. The airport is big and done with modern industrial style architecture – really beautiful, all steel girders, cables, and cement. No questions asked as I enter the country, which is good because I have no return ticket. At the airport, I convert my remaining Philippine pesos to bahts, get a new sim card, then jump on the main train line going to the city center. The entire line is raised high above the rural sprawl and wetlands below, as are the freeways on both sides. I get off after a few stops, descend escalators down to the first storey, walk through open air store fronts over top of a ground level highway running perpendicular to the line, and down one last escalator right to the entrance of the Nasa Vegas Hotel Bangkok right near the airport. 3 star, $18/night, could use a facelift, but the sheets are clean, and I have a room and bath all to myself for some much needed alone time. There are security guards everywhere, so looks like I’ll have to keep my eyes open walking around, at least till I get used to things and get a tan. The exchange rate right now is 1:25 CAD/THB, so the math is easy. I feel rich here, still in the “tourist zone” and everything is already way cheap. 32°C, sunny. The food is fabulous; only trouble is my tastebuds keep writing cheques that my ass can’t cash lol! Its finally time to retire my steel toes and break in a new pair of flip-flops. Sorry Mom and Dad, I may not be coming home…

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4 thoughts on “Manila to Bangkok

  1. Cari says

    NOOOO. Don’t say that! But the weather does sound pretty tempting. Can’t say the same about being in those huge cities. Take care! Hopefully your GI tract with get in sync soon.

    1. lmutch says

      Yeah next week I’m definitely gonna find a nice beach 🙂

  2. Tiara says

    Um sweet! First I kinda gasped when you described the taser but then I laughed out loud when you said your taste buds are writing cheques your ass can’t cash!

    I’ve heard over and over the food in Thailand is unreal! It does happen to be my fav kind of food so I am very jealous! I bet it’s worth the pain! Take a page from Auntie Geris book and just start each day with an Imodium?

    You don’t have to stay forever, but maybe just long enough to shoe me around 🙂

    1. lmutch says

      Lol yeah Imodium is my friend right now for sure! That stuff is a miracle. The food is great and ultra cheap if you go to street vendors, but the ol stomach isn’t always on the same page hehe.


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