It’s Friday folks! So without further ado, here is this week’s Blogger in the Spotlight (BITS), Bryan on Bangkok.
For those who know me, I try to visit Bangkok as much as I possibly can, probably every other month (or whenever I can take leave from my day job). My friends would say “Bangkok again? Are you keeping someone there?” All sorts of ideas came into their heads I suppose.. my family members included, who normally don’t say very much but give me a subtle cynical look. For those who think Bangkok is all about the Go-go bars, massage parlours, night markets and temples, they have probably only been to these places and concluded that Bangkok is as such. Probably heard too much of the 80’s tune Murray Head’s “One Night In Bangkok”! A friend even told me that Bangkok was just another Haadyai. But when asked to single out why I love Bangkok so dearly, it was rather difficult to pin point any one reason. Digging deeper, I realized that there was one common denomination – The Thais themselves.
Whatever real motive lies behind their smiles, I choose to give them the benefit of the doubt and have yet to be proven wrong. I can therefore safely conclude the following wonderful traits of Thais being:
1. Thais are Beautiful
The Thais groom themselves incredibly well. Thais tend to dressed up for the occasion and the places to see this wonderful phenomenon include Paragon, Gaysorn and Emporium or clubs like Bed Supper Club and Nest.
bangkok by night
2. Thais are Civic Minded and Polite
Every time they speak, the Thais employ the art of gentle persuasion. It is in their culture and genes I supposed. Have you ever come across a Thai speaking loudly on the mobile phone in the train or in the cinema? Their public toilets are clean and the Thais tend to take care of public amenities and do not litter everywhere. If you take the BTS (The city train), everyone queues up no matter how busy it is, peak hour or otherwise. Also, if you frequent a road side food stall, the Thais do not throw their leftovers all over the table or floor.
3. Thais are Trendy and have Fantastic Restaurants
There are many ways to experience these fashion trends – at Siam Square / Centre, one finds lots of funky boutiques catering to all sort of styles. At the Discovery Centre, one finds all sorts of creative household items and furniture.
Funky boutiques and creative household items – shopping in Bangkok is a pleasure.
If one goes to Thonglor and Ekamai, one finds many trendy restaurants, my favourite being named rather quirkly, ‘To Die For’.Then there are the trendy roof top bars – the very opulent Sirocco at Silom State Tower, the extremely posh Vertigo at Banyan Tree, the funky Nest at Le Fenix Hotel, the chic 360 degree at Hilton Millennium and finally every party goers ultimate playground Bed Supper Club which has the highest congregation of beautiful people per sq metre in Bangkok.
Sukhumit itself is a goldmine of fantastic restaurants . It stretches for ages with many Soi’s (lanes) on each side of the main street. Even numbers on one side and odd on the other, with the largest variety of bars and restaurants in the area. I particularly love the French fine dining offered at D’sens at Dusit Thani as well as Thailand’s best kept secret (not anymore!) La Bouchon at Patpong. Another one to look out for is Le Dalat, a fine dining Vietnamese restaurant on Soi 23 and Tapas Bar on Soi 11.The variety and choice is endless depending on one’s budget.
Vertigo at Banyan Tree
Sirocco at Silom State Tower
4. Thais are Open
Because of the culture, the Thais seem to have a higher tolerance for those who tend to be discriminated against. I love their Live and let Live attitude. The world would be a better place if they learned from the Thais to do so.
Everybody knows that Silom has its fair share of go-go girls and boy bars. If you ever walk down Silom night market, at every 20 metres, there are street peddlers selling porn DVDs. As they can’t display their goods of trade in public, they would show you a sample of the DVD cover. Not knowing your preference, the sample covers are double sided, depending on your interests! Places that are famously notorious include Soi Nana, Soi Cowboy, Patpong, Silom Soi 2 and 4, Surawaong and Ratchapisek.
5. Thais are ‘Safe’
I have peace of mind when I am there and am not constantly worrying if I will get mugged or robbed. As in any other big city, there is the good and then there is the bad. Of course I take all the necessary precautions but generally, the climate over Bangkok is a non-threatening one. After a night out with the boys along Sukhumit, I rarely get stressed over whether I am going to get mugged. There are plenty of taxis and they all usually use the meters with no double charge after midnight.
In conclusion I am not saying that Bangkok is not without its bad points but I choose to see the city in a positive light that pleases me as a traveler and not as a tourist. That way I can fully experience and absorb the local Thai culture and way of life.. and what a beautiful culture it is!
Books on Bangkok, Thailand:
About this week’s guest writer
Bryan is a lifestyle blogger who has traveled extensively throughout the course of his work, in the Marketing department for large multinationals such as BAT(British American Tobacco) and Carlsberg. He is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Bryan is a personal friend of mine and he describes himself as opinionated but not brash, shy, moody and whose dark side prevails at times. (no, I know him well and he is actually a rather cool person!) You can read more about his love and passion for music and travel on his blog entitled Brothr2brothr.
Guest Writer : Bryan