Bangkok, oh, Bangkok

I don’t even know where to begin, or even end, when it comes to Bangkok. This city of 15 million plus (you read that right), is everything and more. Its vibrant, alive, pulsating, massive, kind, gentle, beautiful, delicious, intoxicating, gaseous … but above all, its exhausting.

Our three days in this labyrinth of multi-lane boulevards, side streets and back alleys was a rollercoaster ride physically, spiritually and emotionally. We learned some about this city and this country, and we learned a lot of lessons about ourselves and how to travel.

This city offers little respite from the sweltering temperatures of the coming summer. And boy, were we punished us with everlasting heat. The night train arrived in the heart of the city just before 7am, and as soon as we stepped off the train car we were smacked in the face with the unrelenting will of the people of Bangkok. The will to get you to let them “help you.” Still half asleep we were immediately whisked into a “taxi” and on our way. While we did arrive at our destination, it wasn’t without its perils as our pink mobile sped through the streets. Our driver was “kind” enough to only require 300 baht for his services. And this is how the adventure began.

What ensued was an amalgamation of everything from tourist hotspots to hidden treasures. Michelin starred eats to the tastiest bites hot off the street.

Highlights included the crab omelette from Jay Fai, Temple of the Reclining Buddha, the iced latte at VM1 hostel, and the street market just down the street from our AirBnb.

Things we know to be better prepared for now included knowing when to let people “help you out,” having enough cash on hand in a country where cash is king, knowing how big a city actually is, not having a loose daily plan, and that the heat will take it out of you.

Our first day was beset with indecisions and heat exhaustion, coupled with not enough to eat, and being tired from taking a train all night. The second day was partially derailed by a noon reservation in a far flung neighborhood. And the third was done in by realizing we didn’t have enough cash on hand to do what we planned.

All in all, Bangkok was still magical, and I can’t wait to come back again when I’m ready to truly ready to tackle this city head on, as Bangkok will not relent.

Day One

We had reservations at Jay Fai at 2:30pm, which was our only plan for the day. Little did we know how far apart many of the attractions in the city were from each other (the poor planning part). With the heat beating down on us, we aimlessly wandered around Old Town getting on each others nerves. The saving grace was no doubt when we arrived at Jay Fai, and she turned out the most delicious meal! Our faith in Bangkok was restored!

  • So excited for Jay Fai!
  • Crab omlette

Day Two

Late in the evening on the first night we put together what we thought was a solid plan for the day (see poor planning above). Problem was we still didn’t really grasp how large Bangkok is. We had noon reservations at bo.lan (check out the latest season of the Netflix series Chef’s Table to find out more.)

With the amazing meal consumed, we decided we needed coffee, and one of the best coffee shops in Bangkok happened to be about a 15 minute walk. Unfortunately when its 95 degrees and 100% humidity, 15 minutes is really like 2 hours of walking. To top it off, the coffee shop had moved and was no longer at the location on our map!


Undeterred, we charted a course for the Jim Thompson House Museum. This was another diamond in the rough for us. While we both were interested in visiting, we didn’t realize how interesting the museum would be, and we both thoroughly enjoyed our tour.

Jim Thompson House

With the sun setting, we had our first failed Grab ride, as the driver canceled on us after we waited almost 20 minutes for him to pick us up. Thankfully the SkyTrain was both close and easy to use, and we were back in our neighborhood after only 4 stops.

  • VM1 Hostel… latte’s are 100
  • Jim Thompson House
  • all the colors

Day Three

When the sun rose on day three, we were prepared, we had a plan and we were ready to execute. First order of business was to head down to the local street market in the neighborhood for coffee and breakfast. We also needed to stop by the ATM and grab some more cash, but when we attempted this we were denied at every ATM. Turned out that while the bank showed the money in the account, there was a hold on the card, which wouldn’t be lifted until three days later.

Breakfast juice

After a couple hours of scrambling to find a way to speak on the phone with the bank (hello wifi calling!), we were able to sort things out and get the necessary cash to continue our journey.

Cash in hand, we headed back to old town to take in the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. However, upon reaching our destination, we realized that the palace was about to close making the 500 baht fee not worth it for less than an hour to see the entire palace. So we headed for Wat Pho, and the Reclining Buddha. We spent a couple hours at these temples before our stomaches told us it was feeding time.

We decided to head over to Chinatown, figuring there would be plenty of delicious food options. On the walk there, we happened to wander into what was a seemingly never-ending market of trinkets, electronics, and knock-off clothes and shoes. It was a random encounter that was quite the experience. Unfortunately, Chinatown did not have the same experience. We’re not sure if it was the wrong time of day or what, but there was very little in the way of food, and we ended up grabbing a Grab back to the street market in our neighborhood.

And that, was the best choice we could have made! While the market is lively and diverse during the day, it really came into its own at night. It was busy beyond belief, with more vendors and certainly more customers! The sight, sounds and smells were what I had been expecting and craving in Bangkok.

We picked up egg rolls, papaya salad, fresh squeeze OJ, beef laarb and a Singha beer for less than the price of a latte at Starbucks back home.

Bellies full, we cleaned up the apartment, packed our things and called it a night before our early morning flight down south to Koh Lanta. A perfect way to end our three days in Bangkok.

Bangkok, I love you … in a strange and twisted way. I’ll be back, better prepared, to truly explore your plentiful bounty of happiness and joy.