It wasn’t love at first sight. Sparks didn’t fly. The very first time we visited Bangkok was in the mid-1990s. I wasn’t a tad impressed to be perfectly honest. Those were the years when we were spending most of our time in London and I felt it was even behind Manila in more ways than one.
Over a decade passed and when we came back in 2007, Bangkok had completely transformed herself! Upon landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport, I knew she had moved on! The buzz I would feel upon landing in Heathrow (London), Charles de Gaulle (Paris), JFK (New York), and Chek Lap Kok (Hongkong) was undoubtedly and pleasantly already there! She had progressed by leaps and bounds, even overtaking Manila. Shiny, swanky malls rose out of thin air. Traffic had worsened but the efficient, spotlessly clean, and cool BTS Sky Train (their version of our ill-maintained MRT and LRT) was there to ease everyone’s suffering. Fabulous food suddenly could be enjoyed everywhere. And the favourable list went on! Perhaps I should have opened my eyes wider in the 90s!
* For those not in the know, Thailand proudly is the only country in South East Asia that never underwent colonisation by any European power. As I got to know Thailand better, I could say without batting an eyelash that she’s as pure as gold, though of course influenced by the Indians, the Chinese, and her neighbours in religion (Buddhism and Hinduism), traditions, and gastronomy.
- Located in Central Thailand, Bangkok is also called Krung Thep by the local people
- Founded as Thailand’s capital by King Rama I in the 18th century
- Also known as the “Venice of the East”
- Population as of 2014 including its surrounding areas (Metro Bangkok) was 14 million
- Considered as an international hub for finance, transport, healthcare, the arts, fashion, and entertainment
- Liberal in sexual tolerance towards gender identity
Bangkok’s Top 10 Attractions:
- Grand Palace and Wat Prakeaw
- Wat Arun
- Floating Market
- Wat Pho
- Chao Phraya River and Waterways
- Chatuchak Weekend Market
- Khao San Road
- Soi Cowboy
- Jim Thompson’s House