Like many people, we saw Bangkok as a starting point to kick off our SE Asia adventures – except with a few familiar faces to help ease us into our time abroad. Many travel blogs I read said to move onto somewhere else quickly or to even skip Bangkok entirely. Large cities aren’t typically first on our bucket lists of travel destinations but my brother and his friends were going to pass through Bangkok in early January, around when we had planned to give up our dream of retiring in Florida 35 years too early. We knew we could meet up with them in Bangkok for a night of drinks and that was reason enough to leave the Bangkok airport. There was one problem though. Free Muay Thai boxing was only held on Sundays and we arrived to Bangkok on a Monday. We couldn’t miss FREE Muay Thai! So we stayed in Bangkok for an entire week.
We could have easily taken days trips out of Bangkok, but I was recovering from a cold I caught in Singapore, made worse by the sleepless night in the Singapore airport. So instead of living the exhausting life of a Bangkok tourists we just wandered around a bunch, intentionally avoiding TripAdvisor’s advise for this particularly overwhelming city.
We stumbled into this amazing food court (that actually has a sign that no photos were allowed) called EatThai and took WAY too long to figure out what to eat.
We went to the grocery store just to see what kind of things they sell in Thailand. Laundry detergent is the real deal here, with multiple aisles dedicated to the stuff.
We went to the drug store so I could peruse through the 8 million face masks and Dan could try and figure out what Tiger Balm is.
We watched people do free aerobics classes in a park and then found a trail that took us along the river for sunset. We continued to wander around the Phra Nakhon neighborhood.
We spent an entire day at our hotel, hanging out by the pool and left only to find something to eat. We walked down the first ally we could find and, popped out on the other side and picked the spot with the best smelling street food.
I tried on a million pairs of elephant pants and didn’t buy any.
We wandered around looking for free rooftops to hang out on.
We did errands at MBK mall in search for band-aids, air pollution masks, bluetooth headphones.
We still made a few touristy stops to places like Wat Pho…
The Grand Palace…
and Khaosan Road.
Bangkok is a city where everything is accessible and the things to do/places to see are endless. It’s a mischievous city where night markets rule and our morning alarm were the drunk people making noise in the hotel hallway.
The air quality in Bangkok is a huge problem right now. Schools around Bangkok were closed for an entire week because smog levels were critical. We’re still not sure if it’s the pollution or the relatively cheap tobacco prices in Thailand, but almost everyone we met, saw, or spoke to had deep hacking coughs. Maintaining/monitoring air quality was a huge part of my former job back home so naturally I have a lot of opinions on this topic but will keep them off the internet but Dan and I were vigilant about wearing face masks.
We saved the best for last and spent our last day before moving onto somewhere a bit more remote, exploring the Chatuchak Weekend Market (I imagine this market is the closest thing to an Amazon distribution center if an Amazon distribution center was open to the public – it was HUGE)
and watching some Muay Thai boxing.
A person could live in Bangkok their entire life and barely scratch the surface. It’s a city with SO much to do and see, it feels unfair to judge a place so massive after just one week. Let’s just say, when our week was up, we were happy to move on to somewhere more remote, with a lot less traffic, a lot less noise, and where we could breath – mask free.