I am back – from my much hyped and supposedly long vacation! 😛 It was a much needed and refreshing break for me. 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! 😉)
Bangkok is a very busy city and has a total population of about 10 million (as told by a lady in our hotel). Amongst which she told us there are around 1 million Indians (which I felt must be a lot more). You can spot a lot of Indians when you walk outside. At least 5/10 people you’ll see will be Indians. Either that or our people just have a lot of time on hand and like to stroll around quite a lot! 😀
One of the first things you notice as you enter Bangkok are the multiple colored taxis! That’s right. You can find taxis in every possible color there is – Red, Green, Yellow, Orange, Pink, Purple, Blue, Pink-Purple combination, Yellow-Green combination, Blue-Black combination, Yellow-Orange combination… you name it. 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!
And transportation is quite an expensive affair in Bangkok. While you obviously have the taxis plying from place to place, you should definitely not miss out on traveling in the ‘tuk-tuk’s (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 the tuk-tuk’s is 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 the 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. So you can spot a lot of street food vendors when you venture outside. If you are a veggie like me, then this is definitely not the place for you! If you are not, then you surely have a vast amount of choices to eat. You can find these street vendors frying anything from fish, chicken, pork to worms, frogs, cockroaches and flies! 😀 So you see – varied options! 😛 Huge buckets/containers of live bugs, insects and cockroaches are kept on the streets. It’s surely a fun sight. But was definitely not that fun for my mom – as her eyes and nose were closed most of the times when we were passing by! 😀 We were half the time worried about when what would crawl up our arm or leg while walking through these alleys. It was quite an experience, no doubt! 😀
Language is however 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.
The weather on the other hand was really, really hot and made it quite difficult for us to walk around. We had to hydrate ourselves every now and then with a lot of fresh juices, tender coconut and fruits – which were very easily available on the streets. I have probably never tasted such yummy pineapples EVER. With limited food options that we had there as veggies – the fruits were our only saviors! We tried every possible fruit available while walking around like mangoes, pineapples, papayas, watermelons, guavas, and their most famous – dragon fruits. They are all quite amazing and should definitely be tried.
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. Although, my mom had a really good experience. She had a normal foot and shoulder massage and really liked it. She found it quite relaxing. I should have probably opted for that! Hmmph!
Coming to the most interesting part which Bangkok is mostly known for and for which I had mainly gone – Shopping! Let me tell you – Shopping in Bangkok is definitely not cheap. I had heard many people tell me that before I left. But it’s not. It might be – if you buy in bulk. Not otherwise. The ones that are cheap, look cheap too. I had to explore a lot of places to find what I was looking for. The huge malls are good, if you are a brand freak. You can 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 literally walked around every possible store in these malls. But sadly, I couldn’t buy every beautiful thing I laid my eyes on or crossed my path! We would probably have had to walk back to India if I had! 😛 I wonder when they’ll open a Forever21, Steve Madden or Victoria’s Secret store in Bangalore?! For non branded and much cheaper shopping options, we walked through 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 bargain quite a lot in these places.
Speaking in terms of Fashion – I felt the women in Bangkok were very fashionable. One of the most popular trends I noticed was my favorite – Polka dots! I spotted at least 6/10 women sporting polka dots. I was half the time wondering why that trend was so popular there. Women were literally wearing everything possible in polka – clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, literally every possible thing! Next in line were Animal prints, colorful shorts, asymmetrical skirts and Pleated skirts! I was cribbing in one of my previous blog posts about not finding proper pleated skirts in India. So I made use of the golden opportunity and picked up a big haul of them while I was there! Whoop! 😀
So all in all, exploring Bangkok was quite an experience. Hope I didn’t bore you guys with so many minute details about the place. There was just so much to tell that I couldn’t cut short or exclude things. And in the 4 days I stayed there, I saw almost everything. I have probably never observed so many things about any other place I have visited before this. So it is safe to say that Bangkok was by far one of THE most interesting places I have visited in a really long time! 😛
Hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I did writing it. This was just the kind of beginning that my Travelogue series needed! 😉 Many more amazing cities and countries are waiting to be explored! 😛
Until next time…
Cheerios folks! 😀