Recently, I had the good fortune of travelling to Thailand. It was a long due family trip and we tried to make the best of our 7 days in Thailand by visiting Bangkok and Phuket.
Now, the two couldn’t be more different from the other. The former is a city paradise, and the latter is a mountainous getaway island. Both, however, offer a great many things to do.
I’m more of a city girl, enjoying the fast-paced life. Brooklyn, Seoul and Bangkok are the places my dreams are made of.
So, when we landed in Bangkok for our three-ish day sojourn, I was totally mesmerized. Its seamless merging of the economical ways of life and extravagance reminded you of what’s most important in life – experiences. You’d see some of the most expensive boutiques and restaurants interspersed on a lane that offers fantastic street food and light-on-the-wallet shops.
The crowd and cleanliness of a place are always in question when it comes to a metropolitan city. Bangkok is not as crowded as some other major cities, but at any given time, you will find a decent amount of people on the road and in the eateries.
They may be leisurely strolling on the well-maintained pavements or cruising the city on sometimes sleek, sometimes worn-out automobiles. You’ll find a good mixture of attractive two-wheelers as well as cars.
The locals are very polite and respectable. Some of them tend to get very chatty, and it makes you feel like they are super welcoming towards foreigners.
Bowing and joining hands in appreciation are finely ingrained into their culture. I’ve lived in a couple of different places during the course of my life so far, but I must say, Bangkok is spick and span! There’s no litter anywhere, and the place definitely scores a lot of hygiene points.
Their clothing style is in keeping with trends but also perfectly comfortable. You’ll see a lot of halters and dresses, in addition to elegant palazzos.
Another thing I really like about Bangkok is that people enjoy the freedom to wear whatever outfit they want to; nobody really stares or makes you feel uncomfortable. I packed light and so most of my tops had spaghetti straps and a majority of the bottom wear were shorts – something I wouldn’t do in India very often.
Bangkok has malls as well as sites of historic preservation. Its culture shines through these temples and old ruins, wherein you’ll find information about the country’s past. If you do visit any such places of worship, make sure that your attire is respectful.
Thai cuisine can be extremely spicy or even sweet sometimes. But most importantly, the aroma that wafts from Thai rice is simply irresistible.
Rice and noodles are integral components of their diet. That being said, in every dish, you’ll find an assortment of vegetables and meat (for those who enjoy non-vegetarian food).
I found their portions to be much larger than what my appetite could handle, but that’s no problem. Tod Mun Goong is a Thai shrimp cake dish accompanied by a fantastic serving of palm sauce.
I’m definitely going to try to recreate that sauce. Here’s a tip – visit one of the department stores and pick up a bunch of different snacks. You’ll get to know what works in the city.
Two of my only concerns about staying in Bangkok are the language barrier and the cost of living. The former is something one needs to contend with when moving abroad, and I would certainly cherish the process of learning the language.
Provisions and clothes aren’t expensive at all; you can buy good-looking outfits and all the groceries you may ever need for very little Baht (Thai currency). But the real estate business is sky high.
Buying or renting a place in Bangkok won’t be easy. Moreover, we encountered great difficulty in communicating our needs to some of the service providers like taxi drivers and hotel staff. It’s entirely too arrogant to expect that the people of a different country would speak English. English is not their language. So, the next time I go to Bangkok, I’ll be sure to learn the basics of Thai beforehand. It would also give the locals a sense of joy because you’re making an effort.
If you’re planning a trip there, don’t rush it. Enjoy a good week or so because there’s plenty to do. I loved everything that the city had to offer and would be ecstatic to make it my home someday. But until then, my memories of the trip will hold me aloft.