Weird reasons why we love Bangkok
With its plethora of unorthodox temptations, Bangkok is a world famous destination for single valiant people. But when you have a hesitant partner to drag along for your next visit to Bangkok, then that’s a conundrum in paradise. After all, yet another cafe crawl or shop-till-you-drop extravaganza is just too way too cliched.
But there are other reasons to get your partner all psyched up about the city you enjoy so profusely. Worry not, for we’ll give you some fodder that will tilt the argument in your favour. From intrinsic arts, enticing foods and exuberant expats (in the public transport) to Instagram-friendly edifices – all these will enamour your partner of Bangkok. So, here’s why we should all love this wicked city!
1. The smell of vintage is everywhere
If you have your mind set on splurging a few million baht on classic car models or just whiling away an afternoon in a garage packed with exquisite vehicle pieces and décors, then head to Thai Auto Vintage. Or maybe, you would like to go back to the inception of an analog era without which your iPhone would not exist today – reconnect with your inner child by snapping pictures on Polaroid cameras at Siam TLR. And to wrap up your à la mode retro experience, have some delectable food in a furniture-licious extravaganza at Tuba Restaurant.
2. … but it doesn’t get any more vintage than the Old Town…
Get creative and explore other attractions in Bangkok’s equivalent to Paris’ Latin Quarter – a neighbourhood so imbued in colonial influences that you will find it hard to believe Thailand has never been colonised. There are too many little gems to enumerate in this tourist-devoid area, but you can commence your dazzling journey with the Spanish-style Saranrom Palace, continue with the Champs-Élysées-modelled Ratchadamnoen Avenue and finish with a memorable dinner at any of the restaurants in the quaint Rambuttri Road.
3. The skyscrapers are whimsically built
The quirky infrastructure randomly rolled out in this sprawling metropolis that is Bangkok is in stark contrast with a typical symmetrical skyscraper Western-style capital. And the buildings themselves are even more mind-boggling. Just look at the highly pixelated Mahanakhon Tower, that seems to have been commandeered from an apocalyptic scenario in which the minions took over the world. And when you photograph this luxury condominium tower in relation to the scattered sea of other skyscrapers, you need to leave your logic behind the door… or in Singapore.
4. And yet… these concrete giants make so much sense at night
Bangkok is a veritable Cinderella of mega-cities – when the night chimes in, the ashes-covered beauty becomes a princess of all sorts… or a gold-digger if you leave your common sense at home. And this beauty cannot be more reflected than in the visually-striking cityscape. Head to any of the famous rooftop bars like Sirocco or local hangouts like Cloud 47 and snap some shots to compare with their daytime counterparts. By paralleling the snaps side by side you will get to see the real magic.
5. Speaking about nightlife – Bangkok is romantic
If we put together “night”, “sexy”, “dance”, and “passion” in a descriptive sentence about Bangkok your endorphin-inebriated mind would give you naughty giggles. But wait! We are talking about Salsa classes. In crazy romantic places such as La Rueda or Havana Social, you can enjoy a copious dose of sangre caliente – passionate blood – that will put you in intimate proximity with other hotties other than your bae. And since Salsa is not go-go, no one is allowed to get jealous regardless of the amount of “innocent” touching required for the lessons when swinging… er… swapping partners.
6. … romantic but sinking – just like Venice
Another credential to Bangkok’s reputation as the Venice of the East! Only this time it’s an ominous prophecy. Research from government officials predicts that at the current sinking rate by 2100 Bangkok will be completely submerged. That’s right, no more sleazy Soi Cowboy in the next century! Due to climate change – or the increasing land pressure exerted by skyscrapers and other massive structures – Bangkok is sinking by 10 cm annually. Although you’ll most likely live long enough to rejoice at full moon parties, within 15 years, many areas of Bangkok, including the iconic Wat Arun will start showing severe sinking symptoms. All the more reason to head to BKK now!
7. Exotic cuisines like Ethiopian or Nepalese are easy to find
Bangkok has been thrown shade at for importing too many foreign values and influences, especially in its gastronomy. But the city knows a thing or two about diversifying its cultural range and it’s not afraid to flaunt it. From Michelin-star hole-in-the-walls from Hong Kong to unique delights like Habesha Ethiopian Restaurant, your taste buds will travel the world at the speed of saying Olé! If you think Spanish tapas are already too outdated for the fast-paced Bangkok, then the themed Barcelona Gaudi Restaurant will blow your mind with authentic Catalan dishes such as crema catalana.
8. But there are also spots to enjoy some good humble seafood
Whether it’s shredded pork or ice cream, Bangkokians enjoy exploring with buns. As such, pure deliciousness like a lobster roll served with French fries at The Raw Club or Crab and Claw will spoil your unpretentious palate. Otherwise, If you prefer something in your face – meaning a giant fried squid the size of your face – try the signature XL Bombing Squid on a stick for as little as B169.
9. Jazz bars are a real thing
Here’s a unique experience – listen to live jazz music in a Chinese style hotel at Shanghai Mansion located in a Thai city. Or, if you prefer something down at heel with a more authentic character, head to Adhere the 13th Blues Bar and take pleasure in sharing your passion for jazz in a tiny overcrowded venue. Or if you’d rather go for a hipster place packed to the rafters with English teachers then head to Sky Train Jazz Club. Regardless of whatever place makes you go ballistic for jazz, Bangkok is a truly bustling metropolis in this sense. And there is this little murmur going around Bangkok saying that even people who loathe jazz love Bangkok jazz.
10. Bangkok’s street art might just rival Berlin’s
Contemporary street art is not a strange concept to Bangkok and the city even hosts an international festival, Bukruk, where Thai artists rub elbows with European graffiti masters. There is a slight chance that many readers of this article live in a city where vandalism is not regarded as a form of art but rather as a jail term. So, it might take a while to warm up to the exquisite murals around popular areas like Soi Sukhumvit 53, Siam Square or Sathorn Road. But once you learn how to appreciate it, new horizons of liberty and freedom might be instilled in your mind. Just do not try this at home!
11. … and the more conventional art scene is truly booming
Contemporary art galleries in Bangkok are the new it-activity for people pretending to be connoisseurs of the fine arts. Truth be told, most tourists in Bangkok do not venture off so far for artistic purposes but local Thais are zealous to show the world there’s more than meets the eye… or other body parts… in Bangkok. The queen of all contemporary arts is Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, but audacious little venues like Gallery N or 100 Tonson Gallery are perfect places for socializing or for photographers who love showcasing a quirkier world within a quirky world.
12. Or you can marvel at people on the BTS more than at temples
There is no doubt about it! The BTS – Sky Train – in Bangkok is the ultimate place for feeling love all around. From the English teacher expat who left his third wife for a Thai woman to the overexcited and overweight dude ready to get off at Nana station for some Soi Cowboy action, the BTS in Bangkok is like no other. Once you become a frequent traveller to Bangkok you will easily get to marvel at all these people with intricate life stories. In this city there is no such thing as ordinary human beings!
13. There are too many sexy bartenders to ogle at
For those of you wishing to be shaken off by a male bartender – with a delicious cocktail – head to Hyde and Seek where a team of eye-catching mixologists will be on hand for all your inebriating needs. To those of you who prefer to be taken away by a female the beauty of a female bartender then you should look no further than the Dark Bar. These are only a few of all the superb bar places where the talented personnel are professional down to the last bone. So, don’t try any moves and show respect – these barthenders are for display only!
14. You can actually go hiking
Somewhere around the heart of The Old Town, lies a man-made hill which boasts spectacular views over the city. Wat Saket perched at the top of Golden Mount is a vantage point temple that requires some mid-level trekking in order to get there. But if you desire to venture further, Bang Krachao – also known as the “Lungs of Bangkok” – is a bucolic oasis of authenticity with traditional villages and a floating market. You can opt for a bike tour or trek the jungle on foot to your heart’s content. There is even a firefly tour at night to set you in your magical mode.
15. … or you can simply indulge in a spiral-spotting spree
If you are the type of traveller who enjoys capturing unique angles, your DSLR camera will have a real blast playing around with all the architectural marvels of Bangkok. The spiral staircase from W Hotel creates a purple hypnotising device of art nouveau from the right angle and under the proper light conditions. For something more traditional head to the Three-Headed Elephant Statue Erawan Museum Shrine where the meticulously ornate meandering staircase appears like a coiling dragon.
Reasons to love Bangkok just as much as we do
Make no mistake! There are times when you feel the best thing to do in Bangkok is take a flight to another destination. But once you give into the city’s soul-engulfing halo and you look back in time you realise that some of the best memories in your life happened here. You assimilate the Thai way of life, voluntarily or by osmosis, and you attempt to bring a little piece of it into your everyday life. Bangkok can change you in ways you never thought possible and that alone can make anyone love it eternally.