Love it or Hate it: this is why I’ll never go back to Bangkok


You are reading this article for the first time but I have read it over and over and every time I like myself a little less. I know that I come off as a spoiled brat who won’t stay anywhere except 5-star hotels, but I can assure you, that’s not who I am. I always try to look at the positive side of things, but here’s the trouble with Idealizing something, you often end up being disappointed.  

Bangkok is a city that I always have overestimated, I don’t know why exactly. I spent many years dreaming of traveling to Thailand, and the more time passed the higher my expectations were.

THE REASON WHY I WANTED TO TRAVEL TO THAILAND

I had a bit of think before writing it down. My fascination with this country began when I came across a famous YouTuber who had made several videos about Thailand. From that moment on, I went into planning mode. I also started to jot down a travel itinerary.

WHEN DID MY DREAM COME TRUE?

I bought my plane ticket during the first week of February 2017 and I left on March 2nd. Yes, not even a month before. Let’s say that all the videos I had watched and all the blogs I read helped me with the planning.

My trip lasted 20 days with stops in Bangkok, Krabi, Hong Kong and Singapore, as I explain in my article Asia: my travel itinerary.

bangkok

EXPECTATIONS VS REALITY

I expected to travel to the “Land of Smiles” but honestly, this is what I encountered:

  • polite yet annoyed locals who are tired of putting up with the tourist hordes;
  • irritated shopkeepers;
  • Tuk-tuk drivers who abandon tourists and take them unwillingly to places they never agreed to (it happened to me, I had asked for a tour of the temples and yet my driver brought me to a tourist agency first and then to his cousin’s clothing store). Besides, they know tourists are fascinated by tuk-tuks and they charge a fortune compared to taxis or Uber (which is always the cheaper option);
  • I found Khao San Road, one of the central neighborhoods in Bangkok, to be a hellish place. I talk more about this in my article All the pros and cons of staying near Bangkok’s Khao San Road’;
  • the almost suffocating heat;
  • I thought I could find the best fruit in the world here but with the exception of watermelon juice, I didn’t like much else;
  • Dirty food market stalls, I thought they were anything but inviting. If you overcome the prejudice, however, you can try some of Bangkok’s delicacies, I found here the best pad thai I tried in Thailand;
  • the contrasts: it is not difficult to find yourself in front of a very luxurious temple with next to it a shack where 10 people live squeezed in 20 sqm. They say that the contradictions are one of Bangkok’s traits, I did not like this aspect a bit;
  • the cockroaches: there were more of them in some areas than in others, but it can happen to see them come out of the manholes or for them to fall from the exposed electricity wires;
  • mothballs. I was almost forgetting the thing I hated the most. In Thailand, but especially in Bangkok, you will always smell mothballs: inside buildings or temples, even on the people. The smell is everywhere. At first, it seemed like a novelty, then I couldn’t bear it anymore.

 

THE THINGS I LOVED THE MOST ABOUT THEILAND

Even though I would have come back home right away, there were some things I enjoyed about my trip:

  • the sacred atmosphere of the temples. I have to add, however, that I didn’t like all the temples I visited. Wat Arun, for example, comes highly recommended but I preferred by far my visit to The Golden Mount, a temple I didn’t even plan on visiting. With its long staircase surrounded by nature, the statues, incense and breathtaking views, it was all really beautiful;
  • Lumphini Park: a large green park nestled in heart of Sukhumvit, a busy neighborhood where all the luxury hotels can be found;
  • the ‘Pad Thai’, a traditional Thai dish made with soy noodles, vegetables, shrimp or chicken, bean sprouts and eggs. I lost count of how many I ordered in a week;
  • the smiling Buddhist monks: they were everywhere and meeting them was always beautiful;
  • the Lebua Sky bar. What impressed me the most wasn’t the fancy cocktails or the pricey menus, but the amazing panorama you can admire from his rooftop terrace. Go there for a lasting impression of Bangkok from above. Later, I’ll also explain how to access the terrace without paying anything. 🙂

WOULD I GO BACK TO BANGKOK?

No. The only exception to this would be a stopover at Bangkok’s airport to get a connecting flight to northern Thailand, a region I hope to visit, sooner or later.

Had I got plane tickets to Bangkok only, I would have been so disappointed. Luckily my trip extended to other countries and they more than make up for it!

Dear lovers of the Thai capital, please don’t hate me …. there is no accounting for taste, as the saying goes!

Valentina

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