Bangkok can be, at times, a rather intense city. In 2010, the city had a population of about 8.2 million people –– this doesn’t take into account the number of tourists/backpackers in the city –– all of whom need to, somehow, get around Bangkok. Thankfully, the city’s transportation infrastructure is pretty solid and easy to navigate.
It’s been a long day (or more) of travel as you slog through the customs line at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK), you’re tired, hungry and want to stop moving (and probably have a long shower as well), there is only one problem, you still need to get to your hotel or hostel. Thankfully getting from the Bangkok airport to the city centre is not a difficult task.
I love Bangkok. It is a multifaceted city; then again most cities are. While many travellers decide to skip Bangkok, or only spend a day or two in the city, I like to stay awhile. Why? Because it is awesome, and there are still so many things I want to see/do/experience there (and share with you guys). The following is a list of experiences that I think ALL OF YOU should consider doing in Bangkok.
A walk through Bangkok’s Khao San road, the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and other touristy sites generally results in more than a couple tuk-tuk drivers touting trips to a floating market. While many will accept their offer, there are some who shy away, not wishing to visit an overcrowded market that is filled with more tourists than locals.
You’ve made the first step, you’ve decided to say no to riding elephants, and yes to visiting or volunteering with elephants in a sanctuary that promote health, freedom, and natural behaviour, now what? What should you know about being a volunteer? If you’re visiting for a day, how should you dress or behave? What are the unspoken rules for interacting with elephants in a sanctuary like Elephant Nature Park?
As I sit in a wooden chair on the platform, surrounded by fighting dogs and cats that could care less about what is happening around them, I look towards the grounds of the park as the sky turns into soft oranges, yellows, and pinks; In the distance I hear the deep roar of an elephant, followed by a sharp trumpet from another.
My fingers are sticky and wet, and I can feel juice slowly trickling from the corner of my mouth to my chin; looking around I notice I’m not the only person who decided to eat with my hands, and I feel a sense of relief; I tend to worry about displaying bad manners when eating in a foreign country.
It all started with a Skype call with my editor at Bootsnall (a popular indie travel website that I’ve been using since 2009), a conversation about solo travel in Southeast Asia, and adventure. A conversation where I ended up suggesting an article on travelling solo, and before I realized what was happening the word ‘Myanmar’ had trickled off my tongue. I didn’t even thinking about getting my Myanmar visa.
When you’re a bigger person, in a much smaller world, things are going to be different, and sometimes they may even be hard, but that doesn’t mean you need to fear them or avoid them. Body image in Bangkok and most of Southeast Asia is vastly different than what we face at home.