Bangkok is such a large and diverse city that it’s impossible to get anything more than a basic feel for it in 10 days. My initial reaction was positive. The airport was modern and civilized, I cleared immigration in about two minutes, and transit from airport to hostel was cheap and efficient. And that was just my first hour in Bangkok. After 10 days in the city, I can honestly say that I LOVE Bangkok!
TOP 5 REASONS TO LOVE BANGKOK
5. The Weather
Bangkok was hot and sticky when I visited in April. It rained once in 10 days and that was only for about 2 hours. Most of the time it just felt like it was raining. This might not seem like a reason to love Bangkok… unless you’re from Toronto and your Weather Network app shows that it’s snowing at home in the second week of April.
I can’t prove that it’s any safer than other large cities but it certainly felt safe. Even walking through working class neighbourhoods and dimly lit industrial areas, one got the sense that it was safe. People just don’t look at you the same way they do in the poorer parts of many South American cities. I also found the Thai people to be incredibly honest. A taxi driver had a chance to rip me off when I mistakenly handed over 500 Baht for a 50 Baht ride. He pointed out my mistake and gave me the correct change.
3. The Food
Don’t get me started on the food. I could eat Red duck curry every day of the year but in Bangkok that’s only one of thousands of great options. From high-end Thai and international restaurants to American chains (Sizzler) to street vendors and hawker stalls, the food was amazing. Okay, I didn’t actually try the Sizzler, but they had a good looking salad bar and the place was packed with locals!
2. The People
Most people bent over backwards to help a tourist. The only time I sensed any attitude was from a young female employee at a 7-11. She couldn’t hide her contempt when I couldn’t figure out how to use a self-serve machine to top up the data plan on my phone. She grabbed the phone from my hand and did it for me, so even though it made me feel like an idiot, I was in and out of the store in 3 minutes! I doubt that a unilingual Thai-speaking person would get that kind of service at a Rogers or Bell store in Canada.
1. Value For Money
The first thing I did every morning was walk to the local 7-11 and buy two bottles of Nestle Pure Life water. At home they’d be $1.50 to $2.50 at a convenience store. Here they’re 7 Baht or about 27 cents apiece. It’s possible that some kid is out back scooping water from a ditch and refilling bottles but since they’re sealed and sold by a multinational like 7-11, I’m willing to risk it. Everything that is produced in Thailand is very, very reasonable. Imports, not so much. The same 350ml bottle of imported Evian water was 35 Baht. I bought a large box of assorted Band-Aids and paid about 40 cents. Dinner from a street vendor or hawker stall is the equivalent of about $3 to $6. A single-zone trip on the subway is 40 cents (80 cents from the sticks to city centre).