Bangkok. Some love it, some hate it as I was surprised to learn on my most recent trip to Thailand. I personally was shaking my head at those who couldn’t wait to get away to either chill on the beaches in the south or hike through the jungles up north. They just don’t get it, I thought. It actually took a lot not to shout at these people and demand to know: how can you not love Bangkok? What’s wrong with you? But in the end I decided that of course it was alright, different people like different places. So you don’t have to love Bangkok like I do, because that means I can have it all to myself.
I will never forget when I came to Bangkok for the first time. My flight had been delayed from South Africa so I had missed my connection in Dubai and was now arriving at 2am. My first time in Asia was supposed to be all fun and excitement, I had been humming One Night in Bangkok for weeks, and now it was all bit scary. Had I remembered correctly where to go for a proper taxi? Was the city supposed to be that dark and quiet at night? Did the guest house get my message of my late arrival and would be open for me? Yes, yes, and yes. Then it took all but one Chang, a sleepless, jet-legged night, and my very first massage at Wat Pho to fall in love with Bangkok. From that day on Bangkok has added countless more reasons to my list why I love it so much. Backpacker life and the Hangover 3 doesn’t get you excited? Here are some better reasons why I think you must simply love Bangkok. And if you decide to give it a shot, I won’t mind sharing it with you…
one How can you not love a city whose name is the longest name ever.
Krung thep mahanakhon amon rattanakosin mahinthara ayuthaya mahadilok phop noppharat ratchathani burirom udomratchaniwet mahasathan amon piman awatan sathit sakkathattiya witsanukam prasit
two Jim Thompson. Architect, silk trader, and tortoise host. three While I’m personally not a big fan of durian myself, I appreciate the concept and endurance of it. A fruit so smelly and vile that it is banned from most hotel rooms and public areas has become the caviar of fruit for connoisseurs. That deserves admiration. Lady Goldfinger is aptly named, because I’m sure she makes a fortune with her Chinatown durian stand, but also because it only takes her one poke with her finger to determine if a durian is ripe yet. four The smells of a big city can be trying to say the least, especially in summer. Luckily Bangkok also always smells of jasmine. five Coming from a country where orchids are so precious that you are grateful for a blossom or two, the abundance of orchids in Bangkok is mindblowing to me. I couldn’t believe my luck to find a loose branch on the street next to the flower market and nobody but me cared to pick it up. That was until I saw that you can buy them super cheap in bulk there. Mind you, I still took my little branch back to the hotel. six Songkran. The Thai new year is all about cleaning body and mind. In Bangkok that means a love parade with waterguns which I preferred to observe from a dry sideline. seven Quiet moments on Kao San Road. Just before night falls and the tourists, the grilled insects, and the 2-for-1 buckets come out. eight Pad Thai. Especially wrapped in egg from Thip Samai, where they allegedly make the best Pad Thai in Thailand. It is so good that I like to believe it, but I still want to try all the other places first to make sure. And it’s not like Pad Thai tasting is a hardship. nine Wat Pho at night. It is utterly magical. ten Thai iced tea. Between this and Moroccan mint tea it is a really close race to best-tea-in-the-world.