Why I cannot get enough of Thailand

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 night life

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.

bangkok shopping

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.

bangkok party scenenight life

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

Vertigo at Banyan Tree

sirocco

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 writerB
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

Country: Malaysia

Twitter: @karmapolice2011

Website: Brothr2brothr

Comments

  1. Great guest post, Bryan! Makes me happy I’ve booked myself a Thai holiday for later this year. Can’t wait to return to Thailand! :)

    • Bryan / Brother B says:

      Thanks – made me want to book ticket right now too!!!
      Well well Songran ( water festival ) is only 2 weeks away- ready to get wet

  2. Go Brother B! :)
    (Cool post… )
    (Why no food though. I want to know where’s the best tom yam! :P)

    • Bryan / Brother B says:

      There are different types of tom-yum, the most potent ones i ever tried was at the stall along Petchburi ( where the Platinum Mall is). It looked like it was clear soup without a hint of spiciness but i was wrong!!! I felt steam oozing out of my head

  3. *sigh* I miss BKK! If you explore deep enough, you may find many hidden gems within the maze of Soi’s that branch out from Sukhumvit road ;)

    • Bryan / Brother B says:

      Sukhumit seems to be endless and the soi’s – though narrow, packed lots of surprises. I think on Soi 38, there is this very authentic Thai house which one has to climb up a flight of wooden stairs and it opens up to an unexpected dining area like entering someone’s home,. It is called Face and they have a branch in Shnaghai as well

  4. Thanks for the insight, Bryan. I’ve only been to BKK once, and as much as I love the city, I found the taxi drivers infuriating. I rank them up there (for notoriety) with our Malaysian taxi drivers.

    • Bryan / Brother B says:

      The best way to travel is to use the trains (BTS) – it connects to all the key places. I almost recommend on using the notorious motorbikes- they are the fastest way around the jam. They zig-zag all the way around the vehicles and each i get on it, i tell myself – ” i am going to die” but the adrenalin rush is too ov erpowering and i keep using them (for short distance only ). It ceratinly beats going on a roller-coaster

  5. Kenny Wong says:

    My sentiments exactly Bryan! 2 hours apart but such a difference… Well written!

  6. I like the fact that Bangkok is way cleaner then Kl… sad about the riots thou… and i hate the new rules they have… patpong st. just aint as fun closing at 3…

    • Bryan / Brother B says:

      The riots were only confined to certain areas. Elsewhere – people are still shopping, eating and dancing. As for closing at 3am…..you need to check with the locals (or taxi drivers) where they are heading after 3am. Best go with people you know…you don’t want to end up in Timbuktu.
      P.S. Best avoid wearing red or yellow

  7. Well said! As someone who has spent a lot of time in Bangkok I agree with your views. I would perhaps add the ubiquity of delicious food on the street and in simple restaurants/stalls. Very hard to eat badly.

    I’ve always felt that despite its size (>10million people), Bangkok always feel vastly safer than KL (I often see women walking on poorly-lit streets after dark).

    A final point though, as nice as the Thais are, dealing with them is usually not easy. There is a lot of wayang kulit/sandiwara going on beneath the surface!

    AWOL, you need to get there soon! Bangkok taxis are far, far better than those in KL.

    • Bryan / Brother B says:

      The wayang kulit/ shadow play is quite well known – as in all races/nationalities, they have their own pecularities. To counter that, we should sing (one two three):
      ”Do it light
      Taking me through the night,
      Shadow dancing
      Baby you do it right”

  8. I’m loving this series… such an eye-opener into various unexplored corners of the blogosphere! Any blog that namechecks Dead Weather and Velvet Underground is a friendly blog! :-)

    • Bryan / Brother B says:

      I must to thank cumiandciki for inviting me . Velvet Underground ( to me ) is perhaps one of the most influential band – Sonic Youth, Jesus and Mary Chain, Bloody Valentine must all be taking notes….and Dead Weather rocks my socks off..i am already howling!!

  9. I love Thailand, and Bangkok too. It’s hard to explain and although you’ve given a lot of reasons there still seems more to it. When people ask me why I like Bangkok I reply ‘It’s just a nice place to be’. I find myself happy just being in Thailand, there seems little stress there.

    Totally need to get to MBK to get my phone fixed too, LCD screen has broken, and I’m sure I can get it fixed cheaply there n_n

    • Bryan / Borther B says:

      it is hard to convince my friends what i actually do in Bangkok – which is basically dropping the tourist hat and just be in the company of good vibe and people. To me, picking up a good book and read it at one of the cafes together with iPod would make me a very happy man.
      But many seems to think there must be something more to this. This is my life’s simple pleasure

  10. Heyya! i must make my trip to BKK sooon (water festival sounds like a good time to go) and experience all this! i want to walk walk and shop shop~!

    • Bryan / Brother B says:

      The water festival has come a long way since splashing water from a pail. It comes with all sort of gadgets now – Star Wars like water guns, pumps, pistol and the ultimate – The Hose!!!! ( I really mean a real hose)

  11. I was almost going to ask abt the first part of the article.. abt “keeping”.. SO many things to see and do. A must visit Again. Good reviews. Down to earth and elegantly described!

    Great work. More..

    • Bryan / Brother B says:

      “Keeping….” does not come cheap, not in this ‘materialistic / ownership / territorial’ obsessive world of ours – it is totally worng for J. lo to even suggest ” Love Don’t Cost A Thing”.
      BTW – with so many things to see and do, it is hard for one to ‘keep and nurture’.

  12. Bangkok is a place that i 1 2 go back again & again!!! Love shopping there, up-to-date fashion with very reasonable (or can I say CHEAP?) price!!!!

    • Bryan / Brother B says:

      Other than those big names / designer’s brands, Bangkok has its own local designers who are well accepted and supported by the locals – unlike the usual misconception of locals mean low quality. It is not a case of ”the bigger the brand, the flashier it is, the more aflfluence i am” attitude. Price is definitely NOT a indication of taste, it is how one carries it

  13. Agree – Bangkok to me is shopping! shopping! shopping!

    • Bryan / Brother B says:

      One of the best way to shop if you are in the group ( especially when each individual has different things to shop for) is to split and then agree to meet at an agreed time and place.

      I always leave my friends to shop on their own ( unless they want my opinion which is very seldom or if they want me to pay – which is almost never) while i go and watch a movie and meet after that.

  14. Makes me wanna go to Bangkok again. yeah I like their culture – liberal and the entertainment is endless! There’s so much of night life. Nice post!

    • Bryan / Brother B says:

      How is Liberation defined?
      Well – in my past jobs, we ( as a company) loved to organise meetings/conventions in BKK. The participants ( married males) would never be able to get a ‘passport’ from their wives if they were to go on their own but if it was work related, the wives would have no choice….and that is Liberation and Bangkok !

  15. hola Bryan, nice one! Btw when are you coming next to Bkk?

  16. Rob Alexander says:

    Great to read such words by another fan of Bangkok. It’s well worth the moderate effort to get to know your way around initially, of course, and even better – go with a friend like Bryan!

    • Brother B says:

      Khun Rob- i guess no one knows Thaiand than you do. Do you not miss the sunshine in this part of the world, where skies are always blue…….unlike “Everday is like Sunday, Everything is silent and grey”

  17. Gabriella says:

    I agree 100%!!! I can’t explain it but I looove Bangkok! I’ve been twice and three times to Thailand and I’m going again in 5 day’s time and taking my father for his first visit, to show him what a great vibrant city it is.
    I can’t wait!!!
    BTW KL is on my list too for one of my next trips because I have a friend who’s moved there that I haven’t seen in 17 years!
    Gabi from Italy

    • Bryan / Brother B says:

      You could easily do BKK-KL together, there are as many as 6 flights on a daily basis on a Value Airline and it only takes 2 hours to see the world aparts of the two cities

  18. Yo yo bro b. Totally agree withyou if I could have homes in 2 places in Asia it would be in bkk and dps ;)

    And pandan coconuts. Yummmmmmmmmmmmm

    • Bryan / Brother B says:

      You know what – i was actually enquiring on purchasing a studio unit in BKK and Phuket for retirement but for now i can just dream on

  19. woots! BKK is callin to me! Night life, FOOD, shopping and everythin affordable to our sad ringgit! ;0)

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