The man on the bus in Bangkok

While I was in Bangkok, I decided to take the water taxi’s and skytrain around the city just to explore. I had heard about a huge mall called MBK and wanted to check that out as well. I began my day wandering around the city. Eventually I hopped on a free city bus that was supposed to take me to the skytrain per my directions on my phone. Well, I have learned that GPS on our phones are just not reliable in foreign countries like they are back home. The bus driver was very helpful and told me which stop I needed to get off at and which bus I needed to get on. Something wonderful about this was I felt no anxiety, nor did I panic- although I was on a bus with only locals. Not a single foreigner, and I can only assume most of them did not speak any English, along with the bus driver. But I found myself in a state of “I feel okay, not freaked out, not scared” I may be lost, but who cares? While I was in this moment of “calmness” and trying to pay attention to where I was outside of the bus a man came and sat behind me and began asking me where I was heading. He spoke decent English, and appeared to be genuinely wondering- not creepy or weird. I shared I was headed to MBK but was exploring the city. He proceeded to tell me he will get off with me and take me on the skytrain to show me how to ride it. As hesitant as I was to accept I did. I did not get any weird feelings, I trust my gut and it was not giving me any alerts here. We got off the bus and walked to board the skytrain, he explained the different fees and how to pay (its not as simple as you think at first). He showed me the map- where we were and where I was headed- which stop to get off at. He said we could pay the fee of 22THB and ride the skytrain through out the city. Takes about an hour but you can see all of Bangkok from above, and so we did. He asked where I was from, I shared with him the United States. He shared he had lived in Florida for 4 or 6 years for school- he has a degree in computer science. That is where he learned English. Eventually we had to get off the skytrain, and get back on to go the other direction. He asked me if I was going to get something to eat and unfortunately because I am extra cautious I lied and said I was meeting a friend at the mall. He eventually got off the skytrain to head home, and I headed to the mall. I could not help but think about if I was a male, I could have spent the afternoon with a local, getting the experience I have been longing for on this trip. I could have let this gentlemen show me around the city, take me to eat where locals eat, maybe meet his family or friends. If I was a male I would have felt much more comfortable in this situation. But because I am a young, solo, female I have to protect myself and stay smart. Part of staying smart is avoiding situations that could seem harmless and quickly turn dangerous. IT SUCKS! I am sure he was harmless, I never got a weird feeling. The locals in Thailand love to help, or at least it is perceived that they love to help foreigners. Every time I have been lost, someone helps me the best they can. I truly believe he was just being nice and helpful and wanted to show a foreigner around the city. I couldn’t help but continue to think about how frustrating it is to be a solo female traveler when seeking experiences that are off the beaten path. Outside of the touristy places, in the villages and depths of neighborhoods most foreigners wouldn’t venture too. How does a female get to those experiences without putting herself in danger? Or is it worth the risk and one hopes for the best? I am writing this blog about 3 weeks after this incident actually happened and I still contemplate this, and wonder if I am allowing the fear of danger prevent me from getting the experiences I am longing for. I have little to no interest in the touristy stuff as I continue to travel, I want the raw, unfiltered cultural experience.

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