The Bangkok Experience Part 1: Erawan Museum and Muay Thai Fight Night

Is this touristy?  Well, yes it is!
Going to Bangkok, Thailand for vacation showed me a couple things.  First, I really want to travel more.  Second, I really need to travel more.

I suppose it goes without saying that the whole preparation and transport part of travel is just as much the experience as being in your destination doing the things you set out to do.  Being there is one thing, but all the time leading up to being there, the anticipation, the preparation is all just as exciting.

It's fun figuring out what you need to bring and how to fit it in your bag.  It's exciting to brainstorm to try to decide what you'll be doing once you get there.  Then there's the day of the departure; leaving your place making sure you have everything.  Catching the cab, the shuttle bus to the airport, or whatever.

During it all it's like, "wow, I'm going THERE!"

Then doing the whole airport thing.  Checking this in, scanning that, verifying the other, confirming, identifying....standing in lines.

It's all really fun because of the build up.  Then I arrived and went to bed.

How anticlimactic.

But visiting Bangkok was nothing but anticlimactic.  It opened the door to the world of possibilities for traveling during my vacations from teaching and how accessible many popular destinations are since I'm in Korea.  It also made me realize that it would take a lifetime to see all that I want to see.

That's how Bangkok was for me.  When I left I realized how much I've missed by not traveling enough during my life.  After 5 days I saw that I had just scratched the surface.  I could visit Bangkok 10 times and still not see everything.  Then there's all the other cities in Thailand.  And all the other countries in Southeast Asia and all their cities.  And all the other countries in the world.  I'm hurting...

In any event, for 5 days I packed in a good combination of touristy and not-so-touristy things during my stay.

The Erawan Museum
The Erawan Museum, Bangkok
Museums are a touristy thing.  But the Erawan Museum looked and felt anything but touristy.  I visited the all-popular wats (temples) while I was in Bangkok and it seemed like every nation in the world was represented there.  In some cases it felt kind of like going to Disney World.  Check in here.  Rent this to cover up your ugly legs there.  Single file ticket lines yonder.

The Erawan Museum, however, is off the beaten path of most major tourist attractions.  It's just outside the confines of Bangkok and you have to make sure the cabbie knows how to get there.  When I went it was early in the day so most visitors were there to worship.  Locals.  Only a few tourists.  No westerners.  It was strange.

Nonetheless, one thing the Erawan did do that all other places in Bangkok did as well was charge foreigners 3 times the entrance fee compared to that of the Thai people.  Still it was worth it in the end.

Muay Thai Kickboxing
Is this a touristy thing?  I guess for the ministers of pain out there, yes it is.  But I think it's safe to say that most of the general tourist population don't go out of their way to hit the bloodsport venues.  But this is the Red Dragon Diaries and I do love a good knockout, so off to the muay thai fights I went.

I went to Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium, the lesser known of the two main stadiums for the sport in Bangkok.  But since it was located just a few minutes from my hotel by tuk tuk, that's where I went.  And am I glad I did.

This night was a talent-filled card culminating with a super fight featuring Saenchai PK Senchaimuaythaigym (though I reference his old gym in the video below), one of Thailand's all-time greats.  Maybe the best to some.

Because of the mighty card, the ticket prices were triple what they are normally.  I chose to sit ringside because, hey I'm in Thailand!  It cost me 3000 baht or just under $100 USD.  Not extravagant, but not exactly cheap.

By the end of the night I knew I had done the right thing by going ringside.  Though it would be nice to be in the crowd of gamblers if I ever do it again.

Maybe next time.  There will be a next time, God willing.  And there will be other countries.  But I'll always remember Bangkok as the place where the travel bug first bit.

the Red Dragon Diaries

ESL, Travel, and Judo!