Tuesday, 11 October 2016

FoodPunk Visits Bangkok, Thailand

What's up FoodPunkers. Over the last month you will have undoubtedly noticed that I have inundated your social media timeline with endless amounts of photos and videos of my time in South East Asia. What an incredible journey it has been, a mix bag of emotions and of course memories that will be with me for the rest of my life.
The photos and videos that I posted represents just one side of my epic adventure and really has shown you a snippet of what this incredible continent is truly about. But there is so much more that I have to tell you about, stories that I want to share with you all and for what it meant to me on a personal level. So without further a do, here is my story around Asia starting with Bangkok, Thailand.
People tell all sorts of stories about Thailand, the stunning islands, full moon parties and of course the capital city. And Bangkok is where I started my adventure. If you've seen the Hangover 2 (which im certain everyone has) its pretty much like that but hopefully you won't be missing a friend, getting into trouble with gangsters or "accidently" sleep with a lady boy but Bangkok being what it is, who knows right?. Thankfully none of the above happened to me.
It's true, this place is a massive, crazy, hectic bubble. As soon as I touched down, I immediately got sucked into the madness of it all. It wasn't an easy city to settle into and by that I mean I had fun but by the end of my time here I was drained. The best way to describe Bangkok is this- The good, the bad and the ugly.
The Good
 Obviously the food is going to be the top of my list. We all know about street food and Bangkok had some amazing stalls. My advice, go for the ones that will do just a few options because the ones that do, do it well. There are a load of bars and restaurants and I found them cheap and cheerful and only good for buying alcohol. I felt the ones that did food weren't really giving a true representation of what Thai food is all about. They were there catering for the backpackers and holiday makers that wanted a safe option. I found that around the borders of Kao San Road, there were a number of really good stalls serving up some of the very best pork, duck and chicken around. Whenever I had food, I always had to have a bowl of birds eye chillies on the side.



Of course like anywhere in the world there are going to be some foods to avoid. There are a number of tourist traps and for me it's all about the creepy crawlies on sticks. There are a number of sellers walking around offering deep fried scorpions, spiders and what not and believe me you do not want to buy any of them. Not only did they look shite but I was warned that they were very old and been deep fried a number of times, so FoodPunkers if you're planning to go to Bangkok, avoid those shitty tourist traps. It's not going to make you look cool and its definitely not going to taste good.
During the day before Bangkok turns into party central there are a number of activities to do. A personal favourite of mine was visiting the floating markets and travelling around the city on a boat going through canals and seeing how the locals live on the edge of town. I did get roped into    spending more money than I needed to but it was inevitable. For example spending three hundred baht on a couple of cans of beer from a lady in a tiny ass boat was not a good deal for me but I suppose she had to make a living. I still had fun and it was nice to get away from the main hotspots of the city and moreover I had amazing pad thai, fresh prawns and got to see some stunning views of Bangkok.

Not only are the boat rides a good day out but so too is visiting the more cultural landmarks such as the main palace, the golden mount and various religious temples. A word of advice, if you want to go and check out the main grand palace wear trousers (not ripped ones like me). You wont be allowed entry otherwise.
The Golden Mount was a remarkable place and not only did I understand and learn more about Buddhism in Thailand but I also saw some remarkable views of the city's skyline.

Thailand is a pretty cheap place to go to which is obviously great because you can spend, spend and spend and for one night, I was able to go to the best part of the city and do just that. Si Lom is what I call the modern, rich part of the city where the high rollers spend their time. Having cocktails on the rooftop of a five star hotel and witnessing Bangkok in all its glory at night was breath taking and not only that it was a chance to reflect about my time here.
If you're into cocktails, fine spirits and wines, I recommend a suave, smooth and funky joint called Maggie Choo's. It's like the cool, sophisticated cocktail bars you find in London such as Basement and Discount Suit Company. Visiting this place helped me to unwind and relax from the hustle and bustle of the city.
And there's no way I could not give a special mention to Hooters. I've never been to one, so to be taken there to drink amongst the girls was an experience for sure.

I had a great time witnessing proper Thai boxing. Ringside seats were three thousand baht which is great if you want to get the best view but for me to get the ticket where I was close to the action with all the locals betting just added to the experience. Not only that witnessing nine fights with a few knockouts was entertaining on all levels.

The Bad & The Ugly
Bangkok did have its bad moments and at times got very awkward. Traffic was bloody awful and traffic jams were rife, so if you're a confident map reader and have the courage to use the local train stations, use them. Tut Tut drivers are a friendly bunch but will try and push for a high price ride. When it came to the taxis, I learnt pretty quickly that I should only go in if they are prepared to turn the meter on. Whenever they did, I knew I was being charged a fair rate. Taxis that don't use their meter will charge any stupid price. Don't get mugged off. There's no shame in just getting out of the vehicle if they don't use the meter.
Getting hassled by local shop keepers was a tiresome thing because it's relentless. Everywhere I went, there were people trying to rope me into buying all sorts of stuff such as suits and cheap tat. Obviously they don't mean any harm and only trying to make a living but there's only so much I could take.
Bangkok turns into a totally different place at night and somewhat was uncomfortable. Seeing elderly, big, burly men hanging around seedy areas and putting their arms around young Thai women wasn't a pleasant sight.
Looking back, Bangkok was a great experience and I think everyone should visit to see themselves what the city has to offer. Spending five days was perhaps a tad too long for me but I think the average Joe spends only a few days to party hard before going to the islands.
Bangkok is rich in tradition and culture by day but at night the city becomes the place that everyone knows, tacky, seedy with non stop partying.