When we were planning our 3 week trip around Southeast Asia we asked a lot of people about Bangkok. We wanted to know how long to stay for, where in the city to stay and what to do. Every single person said something different!
We were flying in and out of Bangkok and so we thought we should at least spend a few days checking out the city. Some said that a few days is more than enough time and others said stay as long as you possibly can because it’s the best city in the world! And some said don’t even bother staying and fly straight on.
I have come to realise that Bangkok is a love/hate city. It is 100% marmite (FYI I love marmite).
I so wanted to love Bangkok.
Like I said, there are so many opinions about this crazy city that it’s hard to cut through the noise.
I’m here to say I didn’t fall in love with Bangkok and that’s okay.
Do you sometimes feel like a destination can get so much hype that it can actually ruin it when you arrive? I felt a little bit like this with Bangkok. For the first time I felt overwhelmed with information about a city. I love Southeast Asia – I love how it’s totally different to my daily life and how it can put me out of my comfort zone, but with Bangkok it just felt too big to take in.
Bangkok is amazing for fine dining, for sky-high bars and restaurants, shopping malls and ornate palaces. But there is so much more to the city, that I couldn’t get to grips with. You can’t really wander the city, you have to plan going from A to B a little more. And so it feels harder to stumble upon places. I am obviously all about the food. I’d seen so much amazing looking food I couldn’t wait to get there and tuck in! But everything felt far apart and I realised I really did lack the confidence in just asking people whats what. I’d not noticed that in me before.
Do you always have to love a new destination?
The answer is no. No, you don’t always have to fall in love with a new city or country you are visiting. To me, travel is about experiences – new places and people, different cultures and cuisines or new climates – and you hope that you’ll have a great time whilst doing it.
But, it’s not always as perfect as the photographs make out. And it may not live up to the stories your friends told you.
Being in Bangkok made me realise how I like to explore new cities. I like to wander. Walking for hours around a new city lets me take it all in. But Bangkok is a big place and I didn’t adapt enough to explore it. So I learnt something about myself being there – which is also what travel is about. As cliché as it sounds, you do learn more of yourself as a person when you travel.
I didn’t hate my time in Bangkok. In fact there were parts I loved like Wat pho at sunset is incredible and peaceful, China Town at night is actually crazy, and the bars along sukhumvit soi 11 are great fun.
Weirdly it hasn’t stopped me from wanting to go back. I actually really want to go back, but I want to spend longer there and with someone who actually lives in the city who can show me the ropes!
Have you been somewhere you struggled to get along with? Or been to a new destination that didn’t live up to the hype?
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