Monday, July 13, 2009

who wants to move to bangkok?

i had expected to enjoy the capital city of thailand, being the city girl that i am, but this big, stinky city was more than i anticipated and i continually pictured myself living there one day. seeing a city of that size (over 6 million people) that has a functioning public transport system, comparitively clean city streets (apart from the rats that i saw in the evenings...), and low levels of crime made me rethink development as far as i knew it, and a challenge to your beliefs is always an opportunity, as far as i am concerned.

i stayed in two different areas of the city and my first hotel, baiyoke boutique hotel, catered towards asian tourists and the second was cute with its mildly schizophrenic design styles meshed together to make it a 'boutique' hotel. my second abode was salil hotel and it was a lovely old building with creaks and cracks and a complimentary golf cart service from the main road (but the best part was that we had to go into the 7-11 at the end of the street, pay 1 baht, and call the hotel for our pick up on the corner, which was really only a 10 minute walk).

the staff at both hotels were accommodating, helpful, and always had a little something for you on your arrival, from flourescent coloured juice to elephant key chains!

if you don't love the grand palace's sharp guards dressed in white, wat pho's awe-inspiring reclining buddha, or wat phra kaew's itty bitty emerald buddha, the city has a plethora (and i mean plethora) of places to shop!

cheap electronics, designer knock off's, gorgeous malls full of trendy thai shops and japanese department stores, tiny boutiques full of one of a kind styles, floors upon floors of homeware, pirated music and dvds, tacky tourist tat, silk and gorgeous fabrics, flower markets, fresh fruits and vegetables, fried fish, shoes, shoes, more shoes, jewelry, and every other thing you could possibly find yourself needing (including an adorable 'cloth pouch' that i picked up for my sister!).
apart from the traffic jams, i enjoyed zipping around the streets in tuk tuks and finding little spots to eat or grab a coffee throughout the packed streets. i loved the little alleyways and the toll roads to blast you to the airport when you are afraid you will be late to check into your flight.

a special mention of the cream tea at the oriental hotel, which was absolutely divine and made me feel as though i was a colonial woman in a huge dress, holding a fan and seeing thailand as it once was. again, the service was impecable and the chocolate buffet was something i will be talking about for months!

most of all, and i think that this is what can easily make or break any destination, the people in bangkok were courteous, welcoming, helpful, and i never felt like someone was taking me for a ride or trying to rip me off (apart from that one wingnut who drew all over our map...). blending into the local scene was largely effortless and i think bangkok is a place i could live without constantly feeling like an outsider or being frustrating with the way things work.

and a little shout out to my favourite taxi driver who ended up offering us a free ride because he misunderstood where we wanted to be dropped and then saw us on the street later and came over to say hi and make sure we were not lost!

get your baht to bangkok and i am sure you will love the city as much as i did!

*does anyone else find it painfully difficult to upload photos to blogger?? i want to punch mr blogger in the nose after this most recent episode of blogger headaches. if you are remotely interested, i am posting all my photos on facebook in the coming days.*


k said...

i also want to punch blogger when i upload pictures.

and by the way- you had me at chocolate buffet ;-)
(can't wait to hear more and see more pictures)

lu said...

maybe we should send mr blogger a memo about how their photo uploading is actually becoming more difficult rather than less!

the chocolate buffet was to die for. as were the scones, cream, preserves, and delicious tea served by the most amazing serving staff i've ever encountered!

La Cabeza Grande said...

I was thinking about you just the other day. So happy to see you enjoyed your trip. My neighbor loves traveling to Asia and has a special place in her heart for Bangkok.