To start out our six-day adventure in Thailand, Chris and I flew into Bangkok and spent two full days there. Prior to our stay, I had heard some negative things about Bangkok: it’s crowded, it’s polluted because of all the traffic, and there’s not much to see there. However, since we had to fly into Bangkok in order to get to Phuket, I thought we’d give the notorious city a try anyway, and I’m glad we did, because we actually ended up having a really great time.
One of the very first experiences we had in Bangkok was riding in a tuk tuk. Chris and I had agreed that we didn’t want to use the tuk tuks a lot because they can be more expensive than taking a regular taxi and riding in them is a good way to get exposed to Bangkok’s pollution. Despite these two factors, riding in a tuk tuk is one of those things a tourist has to experience at least once while in Bangkok, so we took a tuk tuk to the Grand Palace which turned out to be a very exciting ride!
Out of the few attractions to see in Bangkok, the Grand Palace is one of them. The Grand Palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam, and it’s absolutely gorgeous– kind of like the Southeast Asian version of the Place of Versailles in Paris.
Going to a movie theater may not sound like the most exciting thing to do on one’s vacation, but while researching activities to do in Bangkok, Chris and I read that “Thai movie theaters take the experience to the extreme. Theaters are quite luxurious.” Since Chris is a huge movie fan, we put this on our “Must-Do” list. As it turns out, the article we read about the theaters wasn’t lying: The movie theater we went to was by far the fanciest one I had ever been in!
After the movie, we headed over to Chinatown in search of some good street food. This activity actually ended up being somewhat of a fail for us, because 1) a lot of the street food was unrecognizable to us (Apparently western Chinese food is different from the real thing; there was no chow mein or pot stickers to be found here!) 2) the food we did recognize was A LOT of seafood, and neither Chris nor I are huge fans. We did end up trying one new food, though: a Chinese donut. It was good! It reminded me of the funnel cakes you can get at the California State Fair.
For lunch, Chris and I decided to head over to Sukhumvit Soi 33 because we heard the vendors on that particular street sell cheap, amazing street food. We found the street successfully and immediately started looking for pad thai (we heard the pad thai sold on this street is amazing), but we couldn’t find any: Like in Chinatown, most of the food we found on this particular street was unrecognizable to us, and these particular vendors didn’t speak much English, so our adventure turned out to be relatively unsuccessful. We did, however, find and try some fried bananas, which were quite yummy.
After lunch, Chris and I had some time to kill, so we headed over to the ginormous shopping mall located in the middle of the city to do some window shopping. We were both blown away by how fancy, luxurious, and pretentious this shopping mall was; walking around inside of it made us feel like we weren’t in a third-world country anymore!
The highlight of our time in Bangkok: a Muay Thai fight! Muay Thai is a popular martial arts form in Thailand; essentially, it’s a combination of boxing and karate. I think the best part of seeing the fight was being surrounded by little, old Thai men drinking, cheering on the fighters, and placing bets with each other on who would win. Our surroundings during the fight really made the experience more authentic.
Before we left Bangkok, Chris and I made sure to grab a few souvenirs first. The main street where our hostel was located had a ton of vendors selling every kind of souvenir possible for cheap prices that could be easily haggled. I bought some things for my family, and Chris bought me a purse and a scarf.
I’m glad that Chris and I ignored all of the negative things we had heard about Bangkok; by the end of our second night, we were wishing for one more day. I think that anyone who visits Thailand should stop in Bangkok for at least a couple days; it’s dirt cheap and a good way to experience authentic Thailand without a plethora of tourists everywhere you go. We absolutely loved our time there.
To be continued: four days in Phuket!