Nicknamed the "land of smiles", I was really excited for my return to Bangkok. I've visited before once when I was younger, but like any moody teenager, I wasn't interested in anything other than how "cool" our hotel was. So on my second visit, I was determined to experience and see all the things I missed out on the first time. But after spending four days there, I must admit, I wasn't crazy about Bangkok.
Compared to when I first went seven years ago, the tourism industry here has exploded. And while I'm happy more people are venturing out to that part of the world, I feel like it lost some of its authenticity. The whole time I felt like I was navigating through a sea of tourists, all sporting their boho chic elephant pants. And don't even get me started on all the awkward "dates" we witnessed of young Thai girls with older men. It just didn't leave a good impression.
But I'm willing to give Bangkok the benefit of the doubt because we had some really great moments there and made some amazing memories. And even though there were many people there who try to take advantage of and scam tourists, I truly believe Thai people are incredibly kind.
Exhibit A: While I was traveling I carried two phones with me: one that was unlocked and could be used abroad and my personal phone that I used for taking photos. Our first day in Bangkok, we went shopping at Central World Mall, and on our way out, I couldn't find my personal phone. I'm usually pretty vigilant about keeping a hand on top of my purse, but sometimes I let my guard down, especially after traveling for a while. So I went back and retraced my steps, and the employees at Naraya sat down with me and looked through their security cameras to rule out pick pocketing. I was really overwhelmed by their kindness and willingness to help. Well it turns out my phone wasn't lost or stolen...I'm just a big idiot and actually left it in the hostel.
We had a lot of other friendly encounters with local Thais that helped outweigh the negative aspects. Plus, the food was delicious (I'm a huge lover of Thai food) and the temples were beautifully ornate.
I realize it's hard getting to know a place in four days, and we barely scratched the surface. So if given the chance, I would definitely return.
Where we stayed: D&N hostel, great little place located on the old city side of Bangkok and is a walking distance to many temples.
Where we ate: We mostly ate the street food in the surrounding area of our hostel. For something light and refreshing, check out Farm to Table, a cozy organic cafe with delicious green tea and mango gelato.
The best spa experience: For the ultimate spa experience, visit Pai Spa. We treated ourselves to one of their absolute wellness package (east meets west), and it was just what we needed after a long, sweaty day. Plus, it was only 1000 baht per person...that's not even $30 USD!!
Nightlife: Visit Khao San Road to party with all the backpackers or check out Soi Cowboy to live out your Hangover Part II fantasies.