Next to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok is the Asian city that I’ve spent the most time in as a tourist over the years. I’m a big city girl so I really like Bangkok, but can understand why some people don’t. It’s a steaming metropolis with bad traffic and lots of crowds–but on the other hand, there’s no shortage of things to do. It’s a shopper’s paradise and has all the trappings of an important regional city so it feels very international in a way that Chiang Mai simply doesn’t. Having said that, for a small city, Chiang Mai definitely punches above its weight in terms of being cosmopolitan–and after three days in Bangkok I really appreciated that I don’t live there and that my home is elsewhere. I think coming back here was a real ‘moment’ where I felt that yep, Chiang Mai is home.
I haven’t been to Bangkok since 2007 and it was nice to be back again for a long weekend earlier this month, this time with Josh. We skipped most of the big sights which both of us have already seen like the Grand Palace and the temples; but we found lots of shopping centres and markets that neither of us have been to. Bangkok is a definite money trap though and we could have easily bought more than we did; but I refrained because I feel like I have already accumulated far too much stuff. But we couldn’t resist the shoebox store that sold vintage movie posters–the guy had an amazing collection so we bought a bunch of them to be framed to hang on walls.
One of our main discoveries on this trip was the area near the Salil Hotel (a great place to stay): the street known as Thonglor (Soi 55 Sukhumvit). It’s a newly hip area, similar to where we live in Chiang Mai. It’s funny that we went to another city only to end up in the part of town which is most like home!
But I must rave about an eatery on Thonglor called Xuan Mai Restaurant which must be the best authentic Vietnamese restaurant in Thailand. The food was so delicious that it made me really miss my mum’s excellent cooking. The owner is a former FBI agent who has ended up retiring in Bangkok via the US. She seemed nice, and I even had a chat to her in Vietnamese.