I took the small window of opportunity during a work trip to Bangkok to also do some exploring. By small window of opportunity, I literally mean small - I had little over a day to basically cover the famously crowded streets and try to make as many popular (and some not so popular) spots recommended to me by the wonderful community on Instagram. (#thankyouverymuch)
I do find the Bangkok cityscape captivating - I could describe it as chaotic, but that's not being fair to how organic this city looks. Bangkok appears best visually experienced from two perspectives, I've learnt -
- To catch a glimpse of the city towers the best view is above the rail lines, which basically otherwise obscures everything. I mean it- everything.
- At street level, the beauty of the street markets, bizarre traffic, and buzzing mess of powerlines. (No kidding, those things really buzz.)
That said, Bangkok is best experienced on foot - I find myself missing out on so much just whizzing through traffic on the days I had to work, but then taking in so much more on the one day I let myself loose on the streets...
It's been nearly a month since Bangkok, and I'm still thinking of the food. I must admit, because of the tight timeline I didn't really get much of a chance to experience the street food - and some of the mall food truly looked better than they tasted - but in general, the food experience was great.
It also helped that the hotel I put up for the night has one of the top restaurants in Thailand.
Also to note, Bangkok boasts a range of cafes ranging from:
In any case... here are the highlights:
Honourable mention tourist hotspot: The Commons
This is a fancy co-op space for restaurants, small creative shops, and various merchants. Roast is up on the top floor, and the squid-ink pasta you see above is not too bad. Worth the trek I'd suggest!
Seriously must go: On Lok Yun
I'm not even kidding. The kaya thing with steamed white bread is amazing, I don't even care how dodgy the place looks or how much sugar/calories/who-knows-wut-else it probably contained. Or the buttered bread. OMG. OMG. OMG. I'M GOING TO FOODGASM.
I stayed at the COMO Metropolitan Bangkok which looked fairly recently renovated, but as it also turns out is a really old building. Its age shows - the air conditioning coming to life also sounded like it was going to suffer from a mechanical aneurysm.
That said, its renowned cobalt blue pool was truly cobalt blue, the rooms were spacious, sheets and bed were comfy, and the restaurant is one of the best in Thailand.
A side note - the hotel is awkwardly located away from the main shopping malls and overhead rail line, which meant I spent too much time actually in a car getting to where I wanted to be half the time. The staff though were really helpful in organising taxis for me to make sure I always got to my destination on time.
Also worth seeing
This is not often on the tourists to-do list, but honorary mention: Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre
The art is pretty good, and the added bonus is you will not find another place as atmospheric as this for photos...