It’s been a dream of mine to visit Thailand. Everyone I have ever spoken to said they had an amazing experience when they went there. After two failed attempts, we finally make it to Bangkok in April of 2012. YAY!
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got to Thailand. Descriptions from friends and family who had been there always left me intrigued about what the city would be like. Would it be more like Shanghai, older, densely populated with over-arching colonial influences, older with patches of hi-tech like Delhi or neatly organized and modern like Tokyo?
Bangkok did not disappoint. The city itself represents a variety of different aspects of Asia all rolled into one. My first impression was the massive, modern airport. As we departed we were greeted with small golden statues of the Buddha head lowered, hands folded welcoming you to the city (and bidding you goodbye when you leave). Such an elegant, beautiful touch.
As we drove to our destination in Silom, we passed by new condos and new developments with all mod con’s going up. Huge mosques line the highways near the airport and then the spacious multi-lane highways, reminiscent of Toronto
or Los Angeles. The areas of Siam and Sukhumvit have gigantic super malls (MBK, Siam Paragon, and Terminal 21) with a variety of name brands and shops. Not that different from that of Beijing or Singapore.
The older city has huge local markets such as Phaurat (Indian Market) and Sampheng (Jewellery) where you can bargain and get a good deal on textiles, clothes and shoes. Very much like what you would expect to find in any Indian market.
In the centre of the old city are the Wat’s (temples). Serene courtyards, huge buildings, a tranquil environment to sit and reflect. Similar to those temples you find tucked away in the heart of Tokyo.
Khao San road offers the hippy alternative for back packers, discos and cheap accommodations.
Underneath the subways stations are tons of small stalls set up with hawkers selling food, knick knacks, clothes, you name it, it’s there. The city is bustling, noise, pollution, people on their way to work, etc. This is truly Thai.
There is a huge Japanese influence in Bangkok. Every mall with have at least 5-6 Japanese restaurants and fast food chains such as Moss Burger, Pepper Lunch, Beard
Papa, Mister Donut, Coco Curry, just to mention to a few. Grocery stores also sell a huge amount of Japanese food products.
Bangkok is truly a diverse city with a number of different things to see and do. A must see!
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