Bangkok was something of an unexpected delight. We’d headed to Thailand in a bid to escape noise, mayhem and city life in general, so while we weren’t expecting Bangkok to fit the bill, we thought we ought to spend a few days and give it a chance to impress us.
We were suitably impressed. It’s an accessible, foreigner-friendly place with a healthy dose of “exotic”. And it’s not nearly as intense an experience as we were expecting – although perhaps it just seemed that way in contrast to Hanoi. Very few horn-honking maniacs here.
For most of our trip we’d been wondering if Thailand really was the “perfect” tourist destination we’d remembered it to be, mostly assuming that our rear-facing rose colored glasses were misleading us. But within hours of arriving, the weather, the food, the friendliness and service had us more or less convinced.
So it’s official: Thailand wins. And we hadn’t even seen a beach yet.
Bangkok’s primary shortcoming seemed to be transport. Just about any way to get around was a major hassle; buses, walking, taxis. Although taxis proved to be very cheap and comfortable, if time-consuming due to the epic traffic congestion.
We suspect the traffic situation was exacerbated by our visit coinciding with the King’s Birthday which, perhaps unsurprisingly, involves a solid week of street parties, fireworks, major road closures, live bands performing freshly minted dedications to the king and millions of people wearing pink (!) shirts. Pink being the color apparently chosen for it’s auspicious nature in relation to the King’s current state of health.
It was quite the week to land in Bangkok. We even found excellent coffee: