I am back from my much hyped and supposedly long vacation to Thailand & Malaysia! 😀 It was a much needed break since I hadn’t been on any kind of vacation in really long. It took me away from all the craziness happening around me, even if it was temporarily!
While I was traveling, my mind (as usual) was running overtime and I observed a lot of interesting/not-so-interesting things in the new cities and countries I was visiting. It was then that it struck me that I should probably start a ‘Travelogue’ series on my blog. These posts will contain interesting insights about all the amazing and some not-so-amazing cities/towns/countries I will visit going forward.
I will start this series with one of the most interesting places I’ve ever visited – ‘Bangkok’.
(You better brace yourselves as this is going to be a long post! 😀 )
The bustling capital of Thailand is incredibly fascinating & vibrant. One of the first things we noticed when we reached Bangkok were the colorful taxis! That’s right. You will find taxis in every possible color here – red, green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, pink-purple combination, yellow-green combination, blue-black combination, yellow-orange combination… you get the point. We were quite baffled when we first noticed it. When we enquired with the locals about it, they told us that it was because these taxis are run by different companies, hence the varying colors. It’s definitely weird, alright!
Getting around the city is pretty expensive to be honest. While you obviously have taxis plying from place to place, you should definitely not miss traveling in a tuk-tuk (as the locals call it), which is an open air taxi. These pretty much look like autos in India, but slightly bigger and sometimes a little fancier. Travelling in a tuk-tuk is super fun and very enjoyable as you can catch a glimpse of the local culture while traveling in the small alleys, which are not accessible while traveling in air conditioned taxis. But they cost almost the same as the taxis, so bargaining should definitely be done in all cases.
Bangkok has always been very famous for street food. You will find a lot of street food vendors when you venture outside. If you are a vegetarian like me, this is definitely not the place for you! 😀 If you are not, you surely have a vast amount of choices in food.
You will find these street vendors frying anything from fish, chicken, pork to worms, frogs, cockroaches and flies. You see – varied options! 😛 Seeing huge containers of live bugs, insects and cockroaches on the streets was surely a fun sight. 😛 It was however, not that fun for my mother as her eyes and nose were closed most of the times when we were passing by. 😀 We were worried when what would crawl up our arm or leg while walking through these alleys. It was quite an experience, no doubt! 😀
Apart from street food, another thing you must try in Bangkok or Thailand in general are the fruits! During our visit, the weather was really hot and unaccommodating, which led us to discover how incredible the fruits here really were. We indulged ourselves every now and then with lots of fresh juices, tender coconut and fruits. With limited food options that we had there as vegetarians – fruits were our only saviour! We tried every possible fruit available like mangoes, pineapples, papayas, watermelons, guavas, and their most famous – dragon fruits. They are all quite amazing and should definitely be tried.
Language is a huge problem in Bangkok. Communicating with the locals is quite a challenge. Let me give you an instance – We checked with the locals about good shopping destinations in the city and by whatever they understood and whatever we explained – we ended up in a market where live animals were being sold! 😀 That’s right! No fancy shopping malls or stores, but it was an open animal and pet market. And it was outside the city to top it all. So bottom line – It’s better to know a few basic words in Thai, instead of landing in unknown and weird places like we did! 😀 And no amount of Google maps and searches will help you reach places. You will have to talk to a lot of people around to know more.
One of the top things on my to-do list in Bangkok was to get a massage. How can you come to Bangkok and not get a massage! Having that in mind, I decided to go get a traditional Thai massage done. Having absolutely no idea about what exactly a Thai massage was and what it would include, I blindly opted for it. And errm, it was not exactly a great experience. The masseuse was half the time standing ON me and she pulled my hands and legs in every possible direction. I was screaming in pain more than a few embarrassing times! So you should probably enquire about these things completely before getting yourselves into such situations. 😀 My mom however had a great experience. She opted for a foot & shoulder massage and really liked it. Ergo, do your research and then choose your massage! 😀
Coming to the most interesting part that Bangkok is mostly known for and for which I had mainly gone – Shopping!
Prior to my trip, I had heard that shopping in Bangkok was incredibly inexpensive. But that is definitely not the case. It might be, if you convert your dollars or pounds into Thai Baht, but surely not when you spend your rupees. Buying in bulk can also save you some money, but not when you buy a few things here and there!
But that definitely doesn’t mean you don’t get great stuff here. 😀 I explored a lot of local markets to find what I was looking for. The malls are great as well. You will find every possible brand under the sky in these malls. I was literally running around like a kid in a huge candy store when I saw so many of my favorite stores in these malls. My parents gave up and sat in a place and let me run around to my heart’s content! 😀 I walked around every possible store in these malls till I was satisfied. 😀
For non branded and relatively inexpensive shopping options, we walked around a lot of local and famous weekday/weekend markets, where I bought most of my goodies. You might have to have a lot of patience and would definitely have to haggle quite a lot in these places.