Culture Lifestyle Travel

Reflections on Bangkok

Of all the places we were going to live this year, I was most apprehensive about Bangkok.

My impressions of the city were forged eleven years ago on the Khao Sarn Road. I remembered a smoggy, dirty, seedy city where everyone from the tuk tuk drivers up tried to rip you off and the humidity wore you down. I remembered sitting for hours in the tangled traffic watching traffic lights count down from 385 three time over before being able to proceed. I remembered being sick of shopping malls. If you’d asked me where Blade Runner was filmed, I would have said Bangkok. To me, it was a sprawling dystopian mess.

But this trip has completely transformed my view of the city.

My quality of life has been outstanding. We stayed in Sala Daeng right next to Lumphini Park. The Park has a 2.5k track that circles the lake and is full of runners every morning and evening.

The park also has a small sports centre with tennis courts and a swimming pool (though be warned to be able to use the pool you’ll need a medical to prove you are free from ailments like leprosy and alcoholism).

The food options near us were immense – including The Pink Garden market. Our lunches usually consisted of duck or pork noodle soup, fried chicken with som tam or mango smoothies and little snacks.

The sunsets from our apartment were incredible. Vertigo rooftop bar was just across the road as well if we wanted a closer look with cocktail to hand.

We were blessed with a ton of great places to hang out, eat and work. The day we arrived a new coffee spot Fix opened up. It quickly became our regular.

I was impressed with the quality of Thai design – in fashion, food, interior design and architecture. We visited new concept and fusion restaurants like Haoma, Eat Me & Jua. Large shopping malls like EmQuartier & Emporium featured new Thai designers alongside the old stalwarts of industry.

But despite all the rapid new development, much of the city maintains its old character. I loved exploring the small backstreets between River City and Chinatown.

And my sister came to visit!

Bangkok remains a sprawling urban jungle, but I’ve learned to appreciate its charm. From its cool designers to new bars and restaurants alongside its undeniable Thai culture, it’s a fast moving and fast developing city attracting people from all over the world.

We certainly will be back.

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