I didn’t expect to like Bangkok. At least not as much as I did. I thought it would be a lot like Hong Kong, all hustle and bustle, but between the massages, food, and shopping- Bangkok had me hooked.
As someone who has been bathed in Hammams in Istanbul, been rubbed down in fancy hotels in Malta and Barcelona, and straddled by a little Indonesian woman in Bali, to name a few- I can easily say I’ve never had anything better than an hour long Thai massage, for only $12. Nothing can compare to what a Thai powerhouse of a woman did to my body.
Thai masseuses use their full body to adjust yours, pressing their legs into yours and cracking your back, vertebrae by vertebrae. It’s the kind of strong massage that hurts so good. (And no happy ending- I know you were wondering.) I left feeling like one of those plastic floating tubes that flap outside of car washes during the summer.
Next, we have to talk about Thai food.
Street vendors are huge here, and sell everything from pork skewers to baggies of fresh cut papaya. Locals love them, but westerners are often weary of street food, because you’re constantly taking a risk of being glued to the toilet for the next few days.
Being a risk taker, I was all over the street food (I’m fine in case you were wondering.) I was loving the fresh pineapple, savory skewers, and juices from unidentifiable fruits- but nothing can compare to my new love in life- mango sticky rice. It’s literally just sweet and sticky white rice with ripe mango, and it tastes like tropical heaven and mild diabetes.
The boys and I went to dinner at an upscale traditional restaurant, and ordered half the menu- trying everything from Som Tum and Pad Thai to coconut curries and steamed duck. We ate about ten different dishes and split a bottle of wine, while listening to a live band play classical jazz, all for about $20 a person.
Asia is nice like that.
Post dinner, we visited another night market and party street called Khao San Road, because even after two days of walking around the gorgeous palaces and temples of Bangkokc as well as the shopping stalls, we still had some energy and cash to spare.
Youth is beautiful like that.
Khao San Road is a little bit like shopping at a street market that’s also a giant outdoor rave, and you’re pretty sure everyone is on ecstasy, and you might as well be too because you can’t decide if you want to pump your fists in the air and dance, or keep bargaining for your third pair of elephant pants- so you just do both. DJs are blasting music, promoters are offering you balloons of laughing gas to inhale, street vendors are selling roasted cockroaches and scorpions, and shop owners are trying to sell you bracelets with profanities stitched into them.
It was pure insanity and I loved it.
Bangkok made me glad that I packed light, because I bargain shopped my little heart out. I mean, who can say no to printed pants for a few dollars?
And with a relaxed body, a happy tummy, and an overflowing backpack, I’m off to Luang Prabang for a change of pace.