(Almost) Four Nights In Bangkok.

** BJJ talk halfway in 😉 **

I scheduled my flight to London via the Thai capital to see the lovely Marissa, who has moved there for work. I can honestly say Bangkok would not have been on my radar otherwise.

Rather than rush around doing the touristy thing I made no plans, there more to hang out with my friend and relax. In hindsight a few things I should have pre planned, like an empty suitcase for all the cheap shopping and tailor made clothes!

But I had a great time getting to know Marissa’s bustling neighbourhood in the embassy district, window shopping in Siam, having a spa treatment, riding the incredibly efficient BTS (skytrain) – mustering the courage to take a short ride on the back of a scooter (yes I’m a scaredy cat) and of course a spin in a tuk tuk, which I thought was definitely going to tip over the way we were screaming around corners at 1am!

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Watching Muay Thai fights at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium is a great experience, not just for what’s going on in the ring but it’s one of the few places in Thailand where gambling and betting is allowed – so there’s a lot of action in the stands.

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Being driven from the airport by a drunk cabbie – not such a great experience, truly I don’t know how we weren’t involved in a crash with another car – or the concrete freeway barriers.

There are many hilarious, sober tuk tuk and taxi drivers in Bangkok though … like “Mr Big” who earnestly revealed he’s gay while showing us posters, physical photos and snaps on a digital camera, all while navigating Friday night traffic and trying to pitch himself as our personal city guide. (For the record, checked out Khao San Road but no ping pong shows!)

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I hadn’t even planned to do a BJJ class during my extended stopover, but on a whim I hit google and found Bangkok Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy was only one BTS stop from where I was staying.

Located in the Trendy Building on Sukhumvit Soy 13, the hardest part was finding the Soi (street) as it wasn’t signed. A few extremely friendly locals pointed me in the right direction.

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Pat Aphaisuwan took the 7am class – a small turnout that Friday (I think other regulars had a late one the night before) of mostly western dudes, but I’m told a few women also train at the club.

Warm ups, live takedowns, Pat demonstrated some handy back escapes before ending the one and a half hour session with comp rounds.

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Thanks for having me guys!

He says they get travellers passing through quite regularly – my one-off class cost 500 Baht (about $17 Australian) and I believe they have pricing plans for short term training periods.

No shower inside the Academy, though Pat says they’re building one – and there are ladies and men’s toilets on the same floor, so somewhere to go to change/freshen up after training.

A really friendly academy that is worth a visit, if you ever find yourself in Bangkok.

Packing Panic.

Three months. That’s how much notice I had to give work when I decided to quit my job.

Three months to work out my travel ‘game plan’ (oops, don’t really have one of those!) and pack up my life nice and neatly into plastic storage tubs, for an indefinite period overseas. 

I even gave myself a whole week between my last day at work and boarding the plane – and do you think I was organised?

Ummm no.

I mean, I wasn’t completely disorganised – my car selling, phone plan cancelling, farewell party timeline was perfect .. but the kind of important packing part I left to the night before.

Big mistake when you have way more clothes than you realised, a smaller suitcase than you realised and a ‘heatwave’ in London that messes with your “I’m only taking warm things” plan.

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One of the shortlists…

The Gi simply had to go in first – but it needed a couple of patches sewn on, cue mum painstakingly doing the honours the day before.

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“I don’t have a thimble! This is terrible for my carpal tunnel you know.”

I think I packed, unpacked and packed again about ten times. I begrudgingly filled the suitcase space bags that were meant to be saved for later (post Thailand shopping spree).

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The MMA gloves got left behind. =(

And even now as I sit by a rooftop pool eating cherries in the middle of bustling Bangkok, I’m not happy with my effort.

But – what can you do?! I made the plane, and I made it to Bangers where I’m staying a few days with the lovely Marissa before I continue the hellishly long flight to the UK.

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Obligatory leaving snap – mum still working on the iPhone photo-taking skills.