We departed Siem Reap, Cambodia, early in the morning via bus to Bangkok. Compared to our 2 awesome bus experiences in Singapore and Malaysia, this version was truly the cattle call from start to finish. Just picture a bunch of western tourists waiting on the side of a busy polluted Siem Reap road to the fear of said same group nearly losing the bus at the chaotic border crossing into Thailand and you get the idea. But we survived, tired and dirty and arrived in Bangkok late in the afternoon. Our Airbnb host, Toy, picked us up at the bus station in Chatuchak which in itself was wonderful after the long ride.
It was the 2nd visit to Bangkok for Chris (1989) and myself (2008) and we were both excited to return to this crazy city. We split our 9 days in Bangkok between 2 Airbnb apartments. The first half we stayed in a trendy building – Urbano Absolute, in the Riverside area. Imagine working out in the gym followed by an infinity pool swim on the 40th floor with 360 degree views of the city. We walked to the Hilton Millennium SkyBar for drinks/appetizers and of course amazing views. Another day we toured the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and its Reclining Buddha where the kids made contributions to the 40 different wishing pots – I hope they come true!
Another day we shopped the Chatuchak Market. Louisa quickly became the guru of negotiations by befriending many a vendor to wheel and deal for all kinds of goods! It is entertaining to watch your daughter negotiate with people and she certainly did a great job! We also got lost in Chinatown meandering around and rode the touristy tuk-tuk for a ride. We also visited Sky Asiatique, a riverfront area with tons of shops and restaurants, and the highest ferris wheel in Thailand.
Our 2nd apartment relocated us on the same street of the fabulous Jim Thompson House in Siam Square. I liked this area better because of the action and activities nearby. Skytrain, the National Stadium, MBK Shopping Center, Siam Paragon, BACC, and many other fun things to do are just steps away. The Jim Thompson House was certainly my favorite attraction and a nice break from the temples. The architecture and peaceful garden are unique, not to mention the cute store with beautiful silk items! We even returned for dinner at the JT restaurant and were not disappointed as the food and service were excellent and we enjoyed the Thai delicacies.
I could not finish the blog post without mentioning Thai food. Just as in Penang, food is a vital part of our trip and it could not be any different in Bangkok. The street food is really out of this world and generally safe to eat. Just on our street, for example, there was a nice lady with her food cart every day and we became regulars trying nearly all of her dishes. I love all the fresh fruit and juices that you can buy on the street too. My favorite dessert is Khao Niaow Ma Muang (sticky rice with mango), which is a Thai classic. So yummy! The malls also have some amazing and diverse food courts. We enjoyed the 5th Food Avenue at the MBK and the fantastic Eathai, at the Central Embassy mall, the upscale street food court with a wealth of regional Thai food.
Why do I love Bangkok? Well, some visitors may think that 2-3 days in Bangkok is enough. I, on the other hand, think that 10 days cuts you short! There are so many interesting sites and one of the best things about Bangkok is simply sitting at the food stalls and observing the surroundings, the people and the chaos. Yes, it is a chaotic city but it has also a touch of ultra-modern and cosmopolitan attractions, just like in Singapore, but keeping it a lot more real, diverse and true to its origin.