I have just gone back from a 5 days trip to Bangkok with my best friend and I have been dying to sit down and write this post.
My best friend and I needed a break. A getaway from our working cities and take a long deserving trip while catching up on our lost time. This is the first time I have really had the time to catch up with her after my return from Europe so yes, we were both excited.
I think we were the last people amongst our group of friends that haven’t been to Bangkok. It also seems that everyone else loved their stay in Bangkok. Their warning was simply to bring extra luggage, since we would definitely be doing a lot of shopping there. To be truthful, I am not the kind of person who would do crazy shopping during my travel, so I really didn’t listen to that advice.
I have heard a lot about the beauty of Thailand, most came from its picturesque islands and beaches. I am a huge fan of Thai food, as they can be found anywhere in the world and have always been perfect for my taste bud. I actually wanted to go the one of the islands, but our budget was limited and we found an affordable ticket to Bangkok. So off we were to Bangkok.
Besides the protest, Bangkok was a relatively safe place to be. At the time I visited, the protest was moved to Lumpini Park and all tourist destinations were safe to visit.
As I stepped down from my bus from Don Mueang Airport to Mo Chit, I could see a big, busy street filled with cars and taxis. Most of all I could feel the thick air, filled with humidity and pollution. I am extremely sensitive to polluted air, I know, how ridiculous it is coming from a girl who lives in a country filled with extreme pollution – but it is the truth and I know my tricks of keeping the pollution to a minimum while in Indonesia. However, Bangkok looked so familiar, it was like I know this city already…could this city actually have a twin? And at that moment it strucked me, Bangkok is so much like Jakarta! Jakarta, as in the city I despise. Ok, so that was not a great first impression, but I was pretty happy to see the BTS and MRT – transportation pleasures that are mere dreams to people living in Jakarta.
The first day, I spent it by eating food. I was hooked. Thai food is amazing. We went to a restaurant widely recommended by many people, Som Tam Nua. The fried chicken was divine and the pork sausage was excellent. The restaurant is known for its papaya salad. Now, I am not a fan of papaya which was maybe why I wasn’t too enthusiastic about the meal, but it was good. Then we tried Mango Tango, a dessert place filled desserts made from mango. I am a mango fan and boy I was in heaven. The fresh mango was just amazingly sweet and delicious then the pudding and the ice cream and the sticky rice….trailing off for a moment just there.
By the second day, I was too excited to see the old town of Bangkok. One of my friends, who is from Bangkok, kindly gave his one day of weekend to take us around the town. I had an amazing day going around the Grand Palace and visiting Wat Arun and Wat Pho. Having my friend was also an amazing experience since he gave some extra information on each place according to his view. I loved the grande architecture in each place, very much different to the temples in my country.
We also stopped by the Siam Museum, a surprisingly cool museum where I learned a lot about the history of Thailand. After a tuk-tuk ride from the museum, we ended the day at the China town district of Bangkok. I was quite stunned by the crazy huge buildings around there but I enjoyed it nevertheless.
Exhausted as hell, I returned to my hostel with crazy pain in my legs. I felt extremely exhausted and hoped to feel better the next day. As the next day was Sunday, we wanted to check Chatucak market. The market has 5000 stalls, I was already blown away by that fact. The market was indeed large but I actually enjoyed it. I enjoyed trying the food there. I found coconut ice cream (which was crazy delicious!), sausage wrapped in bacon (it’s BACON! C’mon!) and freshly cut mangoes. The place was really hot and we went back to our hostel more exhausted than ever. I got sick that night, so sick that I didn’t feel like going out again, and that is very rare of me during my travel. Perhaps this was the first time ever.
From there on, it just went downhill. We explored downtown Bangkok and I just didn’t like the huge malls and the crazy traffic. My unhealthy situation was also undeniably in my way of trying to enjoy the city. While a lot of Indonesians LOVE shopping, I didn’t like it at all. My legs were cramping as we explored floor after floor of small shops selling inexpensive goods. I have to admit I did buy a pair of shirts (might as well get something out of it!). The riverboat ride and the temple hopping on my second day in Bangkok seemed forever ago and I felt like I was in another dimension. I went to Madame Tussauds – it was the museum everyone went to (at least Indonesians anyway). I tried my best to liking the place, but I just felt so disconnected. I didn’t want to be in that museum where people were narcissistically posing in front of each statue, completely ignoring the history facts that were put next to each statue. I felt like they have forgotten about the beauty of this wax museum, and only cared about their selfie pictures with these statues. I’m sorry for the crazy rant but it was what I felt.
I didn’t feel connected in Bangkok and connection is an important part of my travel. I didn’t like the crazy traffic and the hectic life. I didn’t like the pollution. And I don’t know what else I didn’t like about Bangkok, but I just simply didn’t like it. I actually almost felt guilty about not liking this city as everyone seem to love the place. However, I am not one to sugar coat my travel experience. It is what it is, and my experience may differ to other’s experience. I still love Thai food and I absolutely enjoyed my day in the old town and absorbing its history and most of all I completely enjoyed my time with my bestie, but I will not go back to Bangkok…at least not anytime soon.
Perhaps it was the notorious heat, or perhaps I was just not in my best shape to explore the huge city. Whatever it was that put me off the city, I know for sure that I am not a big city girl. I am not at all put off by the country, Thailand is one of the most interesting countries I have been to, with friendly locals and amazing food, but the next time I’m in Thailand, I think you will find me chilling by the beach or trekking its beautiful nature. I will certainly not be shopping in bustling Bangkok.
Am I crazy for not loving Bangkok? Have you ever been so disconnected with a city while you travel?