I’ve been to Bangkok countless times. I guess one of the challenges of returning to a foreign country that you already know rather well is finding a balance between discovering new places and revisiting the old haunts you loved, so the place still has that otherworldly new spark while keeping that comforting sense of home-away-from-home nostalgia. That’s sort of why I prefer to stay in youth hostels. It’s definitely a new place in a new country, but the friendly, no-frills environment allows me to settle and become attached to the place easily. Traveling becomes more fun with hostels too– if you end up in a good one you’ll have access to the best ways to get around the country for cheaper rates (if not no rates at all.) There’s that, and then there are also daily social events that are always worth checking out, where you’ll always be around some very interesting and diverse people.
The next time you head to Bangkok, check in at Lub D. (In case you needed this bit of info: there are two branches. We stayed in the Siam branch.) The staff are immensely friendly and helpful. The rooms and communal bathrooms are very clean, well-equipped and well-designed. The location is great (and so are the rates. ;)) I don’t know if I’m just a being a helpless carbnivore but their snack night was one of my favorite nights in the trip.
The street food vendor they hired for free snack night made trays upon trays of these addictive wonton chips stuffed with minced pork. Of course, they were best eaten with the sauce they came with. They tasted like outer space! I asked for the Thai name but I don’t recall it anymore as I dismissed the thought when they said that if I pronounced it wrong I would end up saying “penis” instead.
The day after our arrival was spent far, far away from the city (it was 3 hour drive on the way back to the hostel!) First up on the itinerary was this floating market.
We then boarded another boat and were taken around the residential area.
My real objective this trip around was to meet and greet some big cats. En route to the tiger temple, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get a photo-op stopover with this little cutie, who was very sweet.
After another long drive, we finally arrived at the tiger temple.
It was the first time I’d ever interacted with this many fully grown tigers. Needless to say, I was beyond myself with glee! (Digressing a little, I really feel strongly about doing something for the first time or trying something new every time I travel. After all, experiencing new things should one of the most basic reasons for anyone to do it!)
The next night, we watched the Calypso Ladyboy Cabaret. I honestly wasn’t impressed with the execution of the show, but felt proud of these fierce ladies regardless.
I also tried out a fish spa for the first time! The nibbling really tickles at first, but then it slowly starts to feel like a “look ma, no hands” exfoliation service. My legs felt squeaky clean, light and re-energized afterwards.
Ah, this lady. I was saving my words for her.
This has got to be the most beautiful thing I saw in this Thailand trip. This lovely woman was sitting quietly in a corner of the incredibly humid Chatuchak market, selling her handmade palm leaf animals for a humble 10 baht each. They were so well-made that they could’ve been priced for a little more, in my opinion. After I purchased one, I asked for a photo and she gave this smile for the camera, and that moment was so wonderful that I swear I literally felt my heart swell. The legs in blue pants behind her belong to her husband. He sat behind her watching over her the whole time. To see this lovely lady using the best of her skills to earn an honest living despite her age, the heat and the crowds, and to see this couple who must’ve supported each other through so much inspires me in so many ways. I hope that someday I’ll find a love like theirs and live life with the same strength, positivity and solidarity. Absolutely beautiful. 🙂
That one sight defined my entire Thailand trip by billions of lightyears beyond any tour or show that we paid for, and I’m very lucky to have chanced upon that lovely lady before we headed home. But now I have this souvenir from that memory– easily one of my most favorite now– and more importantly, I also have this story to share with anyone who might be touched or inspired by it.
This trip was a great getaway and a great teacher, as traveling should be.
I hope you enjoyed this post, because I quite obviously enjoyed this trip! If you have any questions about Bangkok, please do feel free to ask me (by whatever means of communication available to you and by that I mean if you’re my friend and you’re planning to go to Bangkok soon, hit me up with a message on Facebook by all means. Otherwise, feel free to comment!) I’ll do my best to help you out!