Scorching heat, sprawling endless cityscape and the smell of food laced with exhaust fumes wafting through the air, my first instinct upon entering the city was to duck into the closest air-conditioned shopping mall. Bangkok was blazing hot! I could see the heat waves bouncing off the skyscrapers and rising from the top of the cars stuck in traffic.
The sun was incredibly bright; I had to squint. The heat pierced my skin and burned. I was not enjoying this at all. Coming from Malaysia, I thought I could handle heat and humidity with ease but I was wrong. Bangkok’s heat is at its own level. It even made me miss the more forgiving temperatures in Malaysia.
And that was the beginning of my love-hate relationship with Bangkok.
Massage me like your most prized lamb chop, I moaned.
I got to Bangkok in March 2017. It was a chill trip with a lot of massages planned. I went for a massage every single day and enjoyed ticking off parts of my body I wanted squeezed and tenderised. On the last day I doubled on the massages.
The head and shoulder massages are the best but I did not like the foot massages. It was comforting but I have ticklish feet and squirmed in my chair trying not to laugh too much. The masseuse found it very funny, so she laughed at me. And she continued to laugh every day that she saw me back in the massage parlour. Sigh. At least I made someone happy for 10 minutes a day.
Thailand was still in mourning for their king who passed away a year earlier. The streets were decorated with white carnations adorning photos of the late king. The masseuses from the massage parlours wore black and white ribbons tied in a simple bow pinned to their uniforms. I read from the media of the impact the king’s death had made but being in Bangkok and witnessing the people mourn together was a whole different experience. It was humbling and heart-warming.
Walking through the Bangkok streets with snot filled nostrils.
The charm of Bangkok laid not within the main roads but in its narrow alleys. Here, food, shopping and recreation thrived. The main roads are hot and dusty. I was disappointed that I could not walk and explore as much as I wanted to. The heat and humidity tired me out and irritated my sensitive nose. I carried tissues for sweat but ended up using it to blow snot out.
From the corners that I did explore, I found street food and drinks that were so affordable and tasted amazing. See the disappointment? Every street has something different to offer and it was frustrating not being able to see it all. Yes, I was being greedy.
The juices are incredibly yummy, fresh and cheap. I drank pomegranate juice every day which I got for 50-60baht depending on the location of purchase.
The best mango sticky rice wasn’t in a rustic gazebo with a scenic view of paddy fields. Instead, it was in a crowded, noisy food court in Pratunam Mall.
And hot grilled fish are worth waiting for and eaten under the hot sun.
However, while the food was amazing, I found the shopping experience overrated. I know Bangkok is THE shopping district of South East Asia for the latest trendy outfits at cheap prices but I found it lacking. The choices and quality reminded me of the ones I can never fit into from Malaysia’s Sungei Wang Plaza. But I blame this on not exploring my options properly, so if you know somewhere with amazing shopping, let me know!
The view from Novotel Bangkok Pratunam Platinum
There was a giant billboard sticker blocking me from a clear city view of Bangkok. But from what I could see, the city was endless. It would be impossible to fully explore and appreciate the entire place with only one week.
I’ve never been to a city with skyscrapers so beautiful. The designs varied and I realised why Bangkok is known as the New York of South East Asia. The city sprawls and goes on forever. And in the night, the city glittered. Bangkok’s skyline was impressive!
The hotel room became my best friend. It was comfortable, had four pillows and air conditioning that wouldn’t turn off. It was next to Pratunam mall which was always crowded. Anyone who loves shopping would love this strategic location.
On afternoons that I wanted to escape the heat and not do anything, I chilled by the pool and sipped cocktails while staring off into the glistening city of Bangkok. I even wore a bikini for the first time, exposing my cellulite and fats to the world.
I’ll be back.
While Bangkok remains on the lower end of my return list, it’s definitely there. And as much as I didn’t want to admit it on the flight home to Malaysia, Bangkok grew on me. I miss the massages and food. I want to discover more alleys. Bangkok is incredible and I should have enjoyed it more because it deserves more than my crankiness.
Till next time…