Oooh Bangkok, where do I begin. I think it’s a love-hate relationship we have going on here. If I would’ve wrote this blog after Day One it may have come from a different perspective & attitude, but after 3 days in the place I was seeking an emergency exit. It was time to say bye-bye Bangkok. See you never.
It seems everyone says two days in Bangkok is enough, and it is. I guarantee that on the third+ day you find yourself highly irritable. The city is what it is – chaotic, exciting, and a hot mess. I wish we could have read a Bangkok ‘how to’ guide before we jumped right in. There are some tricks to avoid being scammed that we didn’t figure out until the third day, and by that time we were too over it to care. For example, taxi’s will charge you 2 to 3 times as much unless you ask them to turn on the meter, and when you do they may decide they don’t want to give you a ride because you are now paying the fare amount… This happened to us a lot. We were also suckered into a tuk-tuk scam, but that’s a long story I needn’t get into now… Let the past be the past.
Of the highlights, there are temples, temples and more temples (or ‘wats’). I lost count of how many we visited. They are the glitter and gold of the capital that bring beauty to an otherwise unsightly city (where we stayed in old town, that is). Although they are definite tourist attractions, they also remain active and central to Buddhist worship. Some of the temple complexes are home to Monks, where you will see them attending to their daily duties and meditating stoically, dressed in saffron colored robes. In most wats women are required to dress modestly, however, they will lend you a ‘cover-up’ for entry (a huge relief since it is nearly 100 degrees and humid outside). The shine & serenity of it all had me hooked.
The street food is also a central part of the culture. It’s hard to dine within walls and roofs when there are so many alluring aromas just outside their doors. In fact, I think Matt and I only dined at one restaurant in the 3 days and it was our least favorite meal. Go figure. Our favs were pad thai, papaya salad, thai stews, jackfruit & sticky rice, mint leaf mussels, and falafel pitas. Every morning was started with fresh mango juice… absolutely addicted. Of the common street items that we just couldn’t get used to were shark fin soup, fish balls, and various kinds of raw bird eggs. You can only push a westerner so far.
By the end we were ready to get back to the mountains. A bittersweet finale to our time in Thailand.