Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Why Bangkok Rocks

My recent trip to Bangkok was just awesome. I went back to a few of my favorite spots in the city. I also got to see more attractions in and around the colorful metropolis. Here's a rundown of my latest Bangkok experience (because I'm definitely going back the next chance I get):

Khao San road, commonly referred to as backpackers' road, is said to be the gateway to South East Asia. I've always wanted to walk the same street where Leonardo DiCaprio first stepped off that Tuk Tuk in the Gen-X thriller The Beach. Arriving at the famous Khao San road was a dream come true. I got there at around 11 in the evening. The street was still bustling with locals selling whatever they could sell, and foreigners buying every single thing they can get their hands on. It's not that long a road; probably took me a good 20 minutes to walk from the main junction to the other end. I saw (and smelled) all sorts of things, from creepy exotic hawker food to people sitting in the middle of the street having their hair braided. A couple of guys (backpackers, of course) approached me and asked where they could find Khao San. I was like, "uh, look around, dude, you're on it!"

Another memorable pit stop was at the Floating Market in Ratchaburi. The Damneon Sadouk river was a 2-hour drive from Bangkok, but the driver of the van we hired got us there in just an hour and a half -- pretty impressive for driving on the left side of the road. Clearly, I'm used to driving on the right side which is, well, on the right. Anyway, the floating market is definitely a must-see when you're in Thailand. It can get crazy and wet and NOISY once you reach the main artery of the river market, but the experience is worth more than any amount of money. I'd definitely go back in a heartbeat.

You simply can't go to Thailand without stopping to say hello to a few elephants, can you. I met Dungbo in Ayutthaya last year and even fed a couple on the busy Sukhumvit road in the city. But this time I was able to watch the greatest elephant show in the country. I saw them play soccer, pretend to be at war with each other, break-dance -- it was awesome. I also got to pose next to the gentle giants; not just one, but quite a few of them. One kept hitting me at the back of my head with its humongous hairy ears. Normally, I'd be annoyed at something like that, but instead I was amused and having a blast. I'm pretty sure the elephants enjoyed it, too.

The Bangkok getaway wouldn't be complete without spicy food and some serious shopping in between. Every street corner had something interesting to offer. It either tasted good or found a place in my luggage. I especially love shopping WHILE eating. Thai hawker food is sooo delicious, I could eat it all day and well into the night. Restaurant food was tasty, too. I always had Tom Yam Gung (pronounced Tom Yam Kung, or spicy-and-sour broth with shrimp). It just isn't the same when you eat it anywhere else in the world. Oh, and the chicken curry with Chinese rice noodle??? Simply to die for.

The best part of the trip was getting away -- from the office, bills, responsibilities, deadlines, reality. I was there to relax, have a little fun, and that's exactly what I did. All in all, I had a really good time. I ran into a few mishaps and encountered a couple of unfriendly locals, but other than that, Bangkok remains to be one of my favorite places on Earth.


zil said...


Anonymous said...

All this Thailand talk is making me hungry. Chili, anyone??

bad boy scout said...

Sweet! I'm set for Bangkok in 2 weeks. What hotel did you stay at?

frenchkys said...

I miss the spicy food myself!

BB Scout -- I stayed at a couple of hotels in Bangkok. The first one was First House Hotel in the Pratunam shopping district. Then I moved to Siri Sathorn in Silom. The former was crappy, but if you really want to hunt down great bargains, you gotta make some sacrifices alright.

羊肉羹麵Paul said...