Thailand: Not So Hungover in Bangkok

If Bangkok was my first travel destination in Southeast Asia, I would have been overwhelmed…easily.  The international airport alone is enough to send you into a tizzy with its hustle and bustle, long lines, and constant madness.  Bangkok is everything I expected it to be with a few surprises hidden in there.  The city itself is huge and everything you read and hear about it is true.  From the food, to the traffic, to the rooftop bars, to the dirty waterways and markets.  Bangkok is everything you’d imagine of South East Asia’s biggest capital city.

I’d heard from a lot of people that Bangkok is one of those cities that you either love or you hate and the majority of first timers typically hate it.  I’ll be honest and say that although I didn’t hate Bangkok, I didn’t love it either.  One thing that took me by surprise with this city is how much it caters to tourism.  Honestly, if you didn’t have to negotiate with a cab driver to turn on his meter anytime you wanted to go somewhere or the glittery temples scattered throughout the city, it’d be easy to forget where I was in the world.  From the high-end shopping centers, to western fast food restaurants, and literally every western convenience sprinkled in between.

The thing is outside of the temples, few traditional markets, and shopping, there really isn’t much to do in Bangkok.  I’m not sure if I’ve just been spoiled with travels to other major Asian cities or this is just how I feel about the place.  It’s hard to say.  However, with all that being said I’d definitely make a trip back to Bangkok.  I think this is a city that’s hard to make judgement on when you’ve only been there once and with our short three days it was hard to really see what it had to offer.

Since we only had a short time there, we decided the best way to spend them was to a) explore the rooftop bar scene, b) see the major temples, and c) eat.  Obviously, we were really trying to go full throttle with this trip…not.  End of the day Bangkok was our last stop in Asia and I think our travels had wore us out.  Our primary focus was to get to know the city as best we could with the least amount of effort.

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The first night we decided to keep things simple and check out the roof top bar in our hotel and enjoy the sunset and of course happy hour.  We ended up meeting a couple that will soon be expatriating to Pattaya and was visiting Thailand to find a place to live.  The conversation was flowing and we were enjoying their company that when they invited us to tag along for their dinner reservations, so we decided why not.  I will say this couple was very familiar with Bangkok and led us to some pretty awesome eats.  The spot we went for dinner was right on the river, had a bit of a Brooklyn vibe, and the Thai food was delicious.  Unfortunately, my phone had died by this point in the night and I don’t have any food pics.  But for those that read this blog for travel advice, check out Never Ending Summer.  It’ll be worth your time.

The next day we ventured out into the world to explore the temples of the city.  Our tour started with the Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Pho, beers over looking the river, and a drive by of Wat Arun.

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Annn of course I wasn’t going to go to Bangkok and not attempt a visit to Sirocco and Sky Bar, made famous by the Hangover II movie.  I will admit the views from this place are amazing, and I believe it’s the highest open air bar in the world, but maybe just go for the view and skip the expensive drinks, as they were way watered down and not that good.

IMG_7072IMG_7077IMG_7074We ended the night at one of Bangkok’s popular themed bars, Maggie Choo’s.  Which was a speakeasy in the popular Silom District.  It seems that these types of “trendy” bars are popping up all over the city.  Needless to say that it was a cool place to grab a nightcap and check out the local night life scene, that wasn’t a street market or dive bar.

Lastly, please enjoy this very unrelated photo of John in elephant pants.  Most of the temples in Bangkok require your legs to be covered, so he finally broke down and got a pair.  I’m obsessed.

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Well there you have it!  I can’t believe this is my last travel post for a while.  We are moving back Stateside in a week and it’s hard for me to believe that our time as expats in Asia is over.  I’m not sure what the fate of Operation Wanderlust will be in the up coming months…maybe some trips around Michigan, or the U.S., but we for sure have a trip to Europe planned in May.  Our adventures are taking us across the pond to England and Iceland, because well…my wanderlust is incurable.

Until next time!  Ja Mata じゃまた!

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