Oh Bangkok, how do I even begin to describe you? Delicious. We’ll start there.
You go to Bangkok to eat. For some culture and an elephant ride? head to Chiang Mai. You’re looking for the white sand beaches? Scoot over to Phuket. But Bangkok? This is where you go for the food …with an asterisk on street meat. Yum.
You’re going to need to start prepping your stomach now for its expansion in Thailand. Everything tastes pretty orgasmic. The fruits are exotic and fresh, the meats flavorful and bold, the beers cold and crisp. What to eat: pork on a stick, thai iced tea, mango sticky rice, coconut ice cream, pad thai, tom yum & sweet potato balls will get you started. Food is such an integrated part of Bangkok culture that I would go so far as to say.. don’t plan a trip here if you’re not excited for the cuisine.
Well… that is unless you’re just after the nightlife.
Reason #2 to travel to Bangkok: absurd nightlife.
Whether you’re after jaw dropping rooftop views and fancy cocktails or demoralized behavior, ladyboys & drugs… Bangkok has it all. And then some. No matter your preference, it would be a shame to travel to Bangkok and not take a stroll down Soi Cowboy. It’s like a little southeast Asia strip of Vegas, but arguably more seedy (now that’s a frightening thought). My only word to the wise is steer clear of the ping pong shows. Or don’t… but I’m not taking any responsibility for you ending up at one. My advice is to start at a classy establishment like the photo reference above at Vertigo Bar. Maybe head to the Skybar rooftop for one last skyline shot before putting your camera away for good (losing it). Next, you’re going to fist pump your way into one of the dozen nightclubs. Might I suggest Levels? Things are going to get weird a few hours later when you end up at a ladyboy show, just go with it. Stumble out to the red light district to keep your buzz going so you don’t ask any questions. Eat street meat. Sleep. Repeat.
Moving on to Reason 3 on why you need to visit Bangkok, the sites. Bangkok is a tourist goldmine of monuments, mosques, street fairs, and activities. My advice to hop on a water ferry and get your pic of Wat Arun and a lay of the land. Make sure to allocate at least a day to Wat pho, the Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew.
Need to sleep off your food coma? Had a few too many at Soi Cowboy? You’ll find all of the luxury lodging of a globalized city in Bangkok, no problem. AND many of these hotels have pretty exceptional views. Like Banyan Tree for example, where we stayed. Comfortable luxury at a price you can swallow. Like always, you really can’t go wrong with the Mandarin Oriental either (if you don’t mind choking on the price during peak season). But believe me, it’s all relative. Everything in Bangkok is going to stretch your USD.
Bangkok, for me, is a grand juxtaposition. On the one hand you have untainted cultural norms, habits & cuisine. On the other, you’ve got a W hotel filled with Americans dancing to house music. The place is fighting and embracing globalization all at the same time… and all on it’s own accord. I could live in Bangkok. Easily. It feels enlivened by it’s inhabitants… connected to the 21st century, yet lightyears away. Clean and modern… yet filthy and seedy. But it is all delightfully charming. If you travel here with an open mind (and open stomach), there’s no way you can’t fall in love with Bangkok… no way at all.