Why Bangkok and I Didn’t Get Along

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Why I didn't fall in love with Bangkok

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.

Why I didn't fall in love with Bangkok

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.

Why I didn't fall in love with Bangkok

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.

Why I didn't fall in love with Bangkok

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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Why I didn't fall in love with Bangkok

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    • January 26, 2017 / 10:42 am

      It’s a strange place. You definitely need local tips on how to enjoy the city to get the most out of it!

  1. January 24, 2017 / 9:03 am

    It does still look pretty fab in your photos. Maybe a longer experience with somone who knows what’s up is really what’s needed in a big place like his x

    • January 26, 2017 / 10:45 am

      I did manage to get shots of the good bits! I definitely think that would help – would love to find the best bits of the city! x

  2. January 24, 2017 / 10:03 am

    Bangkok is also one of the only cities that I didn’t like. Terrible traffic, awful humidity and a bit smelly. I agree the bars and restaurants are awesome though.

    • January 26, 2017 / 10:47 am

      Yes, the traffic is awful!! It’s such a mix of a place and I just couldn’t get into the rhythm of it. but I did love the sky bars!

  3. January 24, 2017 / 3:30 pm

    I have to say that Bangkok is the only city I’ve ever visited and never want to go back to. I really didn’t enjoy the experience there and much preferred the other Thai cities.

    • January 26, 2017 / 10:50 am

      Yes, I found it completely different to the other Thai cities I visited. I absolutely loved Chiang Mai!

  4. January 27, 2017 / 10:58 pm

    Thailand, i think is similar to the Philippines. The islands are so beautiful and people are warm. I like Bangkok for the places that still give a small nod to tradition (the temples are rather pretty), but it’s similar to Manila in a sense that you have to plan where you visit and the islands are so much better (and without bias, I think the business district of Manila is more developed and more pleasant).

    I’m with you on this one – I believe you don’t have to love a place you visit all the time! x

    • January 28, 2017 / 2:24 pm

      Yes, I loved everywhere else we visited in Thailand – the people we met were amazing. I think my travel style just doesn’t quite fit with Bangkok. But I’d love to go back to try and get to know the city. But exactly, we don’t have to love everywhere we visit! x

  5. February 22, 2017 / 3:12 pm

    It’s controversial but for me, New York failed to live up to its hype. Sure, we ate great food, we loved Brooklyn and the bars were buzzing but the lack of history really bothered me when I was there (I honestly didn’t think it would) and not being big shopping fans, we felt quite lost during the day. Madness to admit this, I know. I’ll just go and hide now.

    • February 24, 2017 / 9:28 pm

      Haha – no don’t hide! I’ve still not made it to New York, I’d love to go though. But for me it’s probably mainly about the food, so I’d be okay! Though I do love historic cities too, so can totally see where you’re coming from.

  6. July 20, 2017 / 1:19 pm

    I felt very similar when I visited Bangkok recently on my own. I loved exploring the temples but the city itself was rather overwhelming for a solo traveller. I love just pottering about a city but found it hard to potter there!!

    • July 23, 2017 / 12:46 pm

      Yes, I think the individual places like temples are great, but the city as a whole is hard to navigate and explore to really get to know it! I love pottering too!

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