The last time I was in Bangkok over 5 years ago it was dirty, smelly, crazy, loud, you constantly got harassed on the street, and ripped off. Just take a look at this travel log from October 2010 of my first impressions. When I stepped out of the airport in Bangkok this time no taxi drivers swarmed me. I wasn’t greeted with the symphony of horns beeping and “taxi, taxi, need a taxi miss, where you go miss, taxi, taxi”. Military rule might not be good for everyone but it is great for tourists. You simply walk up to the taxi stand machine, push a button, get a ticket that has a number on it that corresponds to the stall where your taxi is waiting for you. There is no negotiation on a price. The taxi driver puts your luggage in the trunk, turns on the meter, and away you go to your destination. It was bliss. In your research about Bangkok you’ve probably read all kinds of horror stories. Just know that it isn’t like that anymore. For now.
On my second trip to Bangkok I was blessed to meet Brighde who showed me the good parts and was such a great friend to me. We of course stayed in touch and she graciously let me crash with her for 2 weeks on my third visit to Thailand. Her place is in a very central part of town with easy access to the Skytrain, yoga studios, and many wonderful vegan restaurants. So I’m a bit shocked to say that I actually like Bangkok now. It’s still a bit smelly, but the streets are clean and I didn’t get harassed at all. And the $10 Thai massages are still amazing!
As you can imagine, more vegan restaurants have popped up since my last visit. One of those being Veganerie Concept. This place was my favorite and I visited four times in 2 weeks! The first time was at a vegan Meetup where we discussed different ways to do activism in Bangkok. Even though I don’t live there it was awesome to meet other vegans and give my input. Brighde is doing amazing things for the vegan community and to spread the vegan message around Bangkok. This includes creating vegan resources in Thai! I couldn’t be more proud of her. The chicken and waffles at Veganerie is incredible and I enjoyed this dish twice. Their smoothies and desserts are also phenomenal!
I went to a few other restaurants but really tried to cook more at home since I finally had access to a kitchen after 7 weeks of traveling. If I’m ever your guest you will definitely get lots of yummy food made for you! The above taco salad was just one of the many dishes I made. Other than eating and hitting up some yoga classes I didn’t do much touristy stuff while in Bangkok. I had a lot of work to catch on and I’ve been to Bangkok two other times so I’ve seen pretty much everything. And it was freaking hot!
One thing I did try that was a ton of fun is aerial yoga at Yoga Fly. It was way more challenging than I imagined it would be and I wasn’t super graceful my first time. If it wasn’t so damn expensive I would really get into it. Since I am fairly strong and have excellent core strength I could possibly excel at it. Maybe another time in my life can be devoted to this yoga sport. For now I will look back and remember my experience fondly.
After 2 weeks of awesomeness it was really hard to leave and go back to the US. This visit to Thailand gave me a better understanding why so many expats come here and stay permanently. You can have all modern conveniences at a fraction of the cost. Public transport is cheap, I got the most extensive pedicure of my life for half the cost back home, food is good and organic produce is easily available and cheap, you can have a luxury flat for cheaper than any major city in the US. The list goes on and on. And the vegan community is growing!
I have yet to find a place where I want to plant some roots so I will continue traveling the world until I find it! Keep an eye out for a big announcement on where I will be the rest of the year offering wellness and yoga retreats each week. I hope you can come visit me! For the next month or so I’ll be in the US then I’ll head out again for more travels in July.
Have you been to Bangkok recently? What did you love and dislike about it? Tell us in the comments!