Three weeks in Bangkok, Thailand
We stayed at Tenface serviced apartments/hotel in the Sukhumvit district, a ten minute walk, and a two minute ride in the free tuk tuk from the skytrain that services central Bangkok. Our room was massive, light and airy and we took full advantage of the kitchen and washing machine. I think I’ve mentioned my love of a washing machine before, it’s all well and good washing your clothes in the sink but nothing beats a good wash in a machine. Tenface has superb, friendly staff and the food, local and western was outstanding, their spaghetti carbonara was seriously fantastic and the pad thai one of the best I’ve ever had, we highly recommend it.
We love Thailand, I don’t think we knew how much until we spent the last four months elsewhere in Asia. We love the people, the culture, the weather and most definitely the food. We’ve gained maybe ten pounds in the last few weeks, ha!
You can read about the food tour we did here we also discovered some wonderful foods ourselves. There are more mega malls than I’ve ever seen, at least one seems to be at every BTS station. At Phloen Chit, the station closest to our hotel was Central Embassy Mall, super fancy, Hermes, Louboutin and the like, nothing much for us except the entire lower ground floor is taken up by Eathai, maybe twenty concessions mimicking street food carts and selling every imaginable Thai delicacy, there are also maybe ten bigger concessions selling other cuisines including Indian and Vietnamese. On our numerous visits there we had roast pork noodle soup as good as any in Melaka, Vietnamese deep fried spring rolls and tried Thai crispy pancakes and Banh Mi for the first time, both of which were truly delicious.
On the way to the Grand Palace you disembark from the Chao Praya river boat at Maharaj and the Tha Maharaj food mall where we discovered sublime Japanese caramelised pork buns at Hotto bun and seriously the best chicken wings I’ve ever had, the batter they were in was insane, crunchy and sweet and oh so moreish. They were so good we made the forty minute journey back there the next day just for buns and wings.
When we first arrived in Bangkok and were searching for decaffeinated tea (didn’t find any anywhere in the end) we ended up at Terminal 21 at Asok BTS and found Tohkai on the fourth floor, a Japanese sushi and BBQ place where we kept returning for their barbecue buffet. In the middle of each table they put red hot fresh coals in a pit and bring you endless trays of meat and fish chosen from an extensive menu for you to cook over it. There were maybe ten different types of steak, the same number of pork options as well as chicken, seafood and vegetables. The thin rib eye that cooked in seconds and succulent prawns proved to be our favourites and we ate countless trays washed down with refreshing sweet ice tea. Great value if you’re super hungry.
On one of our wanderings we discovered Emack and Bolio on the ground floor of Central World at Siam BTS, sensational ice cream from a company founded in Boston, USA in 1975. I like stuff in my ice cream and chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate chunks and peanut butter cups with added nuts and fudge sauce checked all the boxes. Definitely a great scoop!
Now our stay wasn’t entirely about food, mostly maybe but not entirely. The clean public transit system runs seamlessly and we had no difficulty in finding our way around. There are also plenty of English speaking people to help you should you need any. Several places of Interest, the Grand Palace, Flower Market, Wat Pho and Wat Arun to name a few are situated along the banks of the Chao Praya river which intersects with the BTS at Saphan Taksin. Tickets for a single journey on the tourist boat are forty baht and one fifty for an all day multi pass. Walk past the touts telling you it is two hundred baht unless you want a tiny boat all to yourself, the river is tidal and can get quite choppy so we preferred the larger more stable tourist boat. You can also use one of the many local ‘bus’ boats which are cheaper but we preferred being able to sit down and no matter the time of day the local boat was standing room only. Getting on and off the boats is fun and after the initial fear of falling in, actually pretty safe.
As we’ve found elsewhere in Asia sometimes there is no clear route around a place of interest and the same was true of The Grand Palace. You enter the inner areas through the large white walls, avoiding the touts who will tell you it’s closed, or you’re dressed incorrectly and offer to take you on a tour elsewhere until it opens, ignore them; if you do happen to be dressed incorrectly they have clothes you can rent inside the grounds and it is unlikely to be closed but again, if it is you will find out inside. Once inside you pick up a free map and set your own route around the compound. Everywhere we researched prior to arriving in Bangkok had said this was the number one thing to do in Bangkok, Meh. It is beautiful, but it is also ten pounds to get in to, as opposed to Wat Pho which was only two pounds and in our opinion much more beautiful. We also had the most fabulous foot massage at Wat Pho as they have an onsite massage school offering massages as well as teaching Thai massage. This was the best foot massage either of us has ever had, and we’ve had a few.
One afternoon we ventured into China Town on a mission, to find a one foot tall artificial Christmas tree to take with us to Bali. Having not seen many Christmas decorations elsewhere and certainly no trees my research told me we could not go wrong in China Town on Sampeng Lane Market. The narrow lane has little room to walk, lined both sides with stored piled high with goods and was a bit tricky to find at first, not showing up on Google maps. If you are looking for it go to Yaorawat Lane where it meets Yaowa Phanit, walk east until Sampeng lane begins on your right. See a lane that is a cross between Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley and a scene out of Blade runner and you’ve found the right place. Soon after we entered we were swept along in a continuous stream of people, breaking ranks when we spotted the first of several Christmas stores. The last green one foot tall artificial tree purchased for the bargain sum of £1.50 tucked in our bag we stepped back into the madness and went along with the flow. It is a long alleyway, very very long, and selling most things you can imagine. The alley straddles squares, roadways and even a canal, brief glimpses of sky and fresh air before you plunge back in. After we’d walked the length and half way back again we started venturing out for food. Our first find was mouthwatering pork and rice noodle sausages, we would for sure have bought more had we known how delicious they were but by the time they had cooled sufficiently to eat we were some distance away. A pack of peeled persimmons was next, a little waxy so we placed them for anyone who might like to come along and take them and moved on to chicken wings, seasoned and crisped to perfection. That probably would have been enough but the evening stalls were starting to set up and one had quite a crowd so we grabbed a table and proceeded to wait for sweet and sour pork, noodles, and prawns with broccoli while the chef made the flames under his wok shoot sky high every time J took his camera lens off of him. As stuffed as we already were unsurprisingly we took half home for the next day, I am a big fan of leftovers.
You can read about our exploration of one of the largest markets in the world Jatujak/Chatuchak, we loved it so much we went back and spent the entire day the following weekend, breaking up the walking with snacks, foot massages and a spot of Christmas shopping and lunch, it was a perfectly sublime way to spend a day.
I was not sure what to expect when we booked three weeks in Bangkok, it had been over a decade since my last visit and I only spent a few days there then; whatever I was expecting we absolutely loved it and are already figuring out when we might be able to return Xx