Wheels Up! Bangkok, Thailand

Our hotel my have been my least favorite part of the trip, but the views of the city from the rooftop pool were amazing.

 

We spent the next 60 minutes having every inch of our bodies compressed, stretched, pulled and rocked. And by every inch, I mean each individual toe, every finger, my head, neck, back, ears, the insides of my thighs and muscles I didn’t even know existed all received careful attention. My therapist twisted and moved my body into all kinds of yoga-like positions. It was nothing sexual, but at times felt quite intimate. There was a lot of contact. At one point, I think he even used a foot, but it felt so good, I didn’t care. And before anyone asks, I didn’t get a “happy ending,” but in the end I found myself in a happy place. I almost felt guilty for only paying 650 baht, which is equivalent to less than $20.

Overall, the best way I can describe the experience is heavenly and euphoric. Just thinking about it continues to put me at ease.

As for sightseeing, the entire city is a sight to see. Even the buildings are fascinating. The skyline is peppered with towering skyscrapers mixed with bronze-covered temples and a few dilapidated dwellings. Billboards are everywhere. My sister and I got a kick out of how massive some of them are.

From the highway, they appeared at least three to five times the size of the average American billboard. Most of them featured LED screens. It was like New York’s Times Square on steroids. (Unfortunately, many of the photos I took on the way from the airport were inadvertently deleted.)

We also visited MBK Center, Bangkok’s legendary shopping mall. Visiting is a must when traveling to the city. With 2,000 shops and eight levels, it’s huge. Whether shopping for electronics, handbags, anime collectables, jewelry, luggage or something else, you can likely find it there and get it for a bargain. Prices are negotiable. Wear a smile and be kind; it will get you far. Just don’t be a pushover. Name your price and stick to it. MBK is not only a great shopping destination, it’s also a great place for people watching. That alone is an experience. You will see all kinds of people from all over the world here.

When we arrived, MBK was hosting a Hip Hop International Festival, and there was a street art competition underway. Apparently, American Hip Hop has a strong presence in the city, and it was cool to see how Thai artists interpreted the culture. We even saw a “Yeezy for President” t-shirt.

 

Artists working on pieces for the Hip Hop International Festival’s Street Art Battle at MBK Center. It was interesting to see hip hop’s influence on culture across the world.

I was also cautious with my choices, particularly when eating street food, because I didn’t want to risk any bad experiences with rancid seafood or catch a food-borne illness that would ruin my trip. In many ways, Bangkok felt like one big cookout — grills on every corner with vendors offering everything from chicken on a stick to squid, various sea creature eggs, crab and some of the largest prawns I’d ever seen. I couldn’t get enough of the spring rolls. They were divine, especially when dipped in the sweet and spicy red dipping sauce that accompanies almost every dish. I could put that stuff on everything!

One of my favorite restaurants was a place called Feuang Nara, which I believe translates to “White House” and obviously references the fact that the restaurant is literally located in a white house. My favorite dish was the spicy fried chicken with peppers and cashews. (I liked it so much that I returned and ordered it twice.) We also tried the prawn rolls, curry mackerel, pad thai, and some other stuff. It was my first time trying Thai curry, which is made with coconut milk. It’s a lot different from the curry sauces I’ve had in Caribbean dishes, but very tasty indeed.

 

What did you like least about your visit?

I wasn’t crazy about our hotel. We stayed at the Heritage Hotels Bangkok in the city’s Silom business district. The hotel was clean and in a great location, close to plenty of options for dining, shopping and enjoying the nightlife. The downside is that it was very basic with absolutely no frills. They charged for everything, including guests or extra pillows. There was one pillow per bed. If there were two people in your room, you were given two towels. If there were three people in your room, you would still probably get two towels and maybe one washcloth. Luckily, I travel with my own. But at 1,100 baht per night, the equivalent of about $30, I can’t say that it was a bad experience, just my least favorite part of the trip.

 

Any advice for making the trip a better experience?

My advice is to book a tour of the city. Since Bangkok was not our ultimate destination, we took a laid-back approach to exploring the city and just played it by ear with no plan. But the city is so rich in history, with so many fun places to visit, so I think we missed out on a lot of it simply because we didn’t know or found out too late. Venturing out with an experienced tour guide would have made a major difference. Still, I have no regrets. It was great to spend three days doing what I wanted, when I wanted to do it. What I didn’t do the first time simply give me more reasons to return.

 

Aside from airfare, how much should a visitor budget per day, including hotel?

Aside from airfare, visiting Bangkok is relatively inexpensive. The rate of exchange for American dollars was good. You could easily spend less than $20 a day dining out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The price of a hotel depends on your preferences. We found our hotel on Hotwire. For $32 a night, it was decent but basic. On the way back to the States, we had an overnight layover in Bangkok and found a two-room suite with a full kitchen, two full bathrooms, a living room, dining area and balcony for $50 a night. As for transportation, Uber is your best bet, considering many of the cab drivers cannot speak or read English. It makes it easier to get around because the app translates locations and directions for them. Our most expensive ride was the 45-minute commute from our hotel to the airport, which cost about $12. Most trips around the city were less than $5. Other than that, you just need some extra cash for entertainment and shopping. You can find several options for both on any budget.

 

Would you recommend Bangkok to a friend?

Yes

 

Editor’s Note:Have you recently traveled to an interesting destination? Tell us about it. If your submission is chosen, you’ll win a $50 gift card to your favorite Charlotte restaurant.

 

Source: qcitymetro.com

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