On September 28th we left Indonesia for Bangkok. We’d visited Bangkok before and weren’t crazy about it. We were jet-lagged, and the city is hot, humid, huge, polluted and loud. Our reservations notwithstanding, we needed a visa for India and, from our research, Bangkok seemed like the easiest place to do it. So, we decided to give Bangkok another go.
The day after our arrival we went to the visa office. To make a long story short, after we waited for a few hours in the predictably chaotic room the nice woman behind the counter explained our visa wouldn’t be ready for two weeks due to two upcoming holidays. Not wanting to turn over our passports and be stuck in Bangkok for two weeks we decided to spend a few more days in exploring the city then head north to Chiang Mai to see if the the Indian Consulate there could do any better.
At this point in our trip we’ve learned how to handle big Southeast Asian cities– tour a little, relax in air conditioning at regular intervals, and eat damn good food. Employing this wisdom we enjoyed Bangkok much more this time around. We befriended the owner of a nearby coffeeshop (he happened to be a Jain from Gujarat and so was offering us money and other assistance within minutes of meeting my wife), ran errands in the city’s massive malls, and ate. Street food is readily available, and as cheap and delicious as we’ve come to expect from Southeast Asia.
Due to the same religious holidays that shut down the visa office, we also enjoyed a multi-day festival half a block from our hotel. The Hindus really know how to throw a party– it lasted all night and into the following morning. We joined in the fun when the parade started in the late afternoon, when some friendly Thai women squeezed us in next to them on a railing, adopted Rachel, gave her a fan, sprinkled us with magic dust and tried to narrate the happenings over the roar of the crowd and the music from the parade.
On our last full day in Bangkok we hit up the Chatuchak street market which is a huge (17 acres!) maze of stalls selling everything from traditional Thai products, to groceries, to cowboy boots.
That’s about it for Bangkok. If you’re stuck there for a few days I highly recommend eating dinner at Soul Food Mahanakorn and, if you’re looking for a date night, a balcony table at Above 11 is a nice choice.