I was thinking back the other day to some of my past travels and places that were truly unlike anything I had seen in my young life and few can compare to the wonder I felt stepping off the plane in Bangkok. Whether it was the sweltering heat, the layout of the city as I headed into it in a taxi or the general insanity of daily life as I toured around, Thailand continues to stand out to me as a place everyone must see.
Recently, one of my friends informed me she was going to be going to Thailand for a few months and I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy. Yes, I had my experience already and it was only reasonable that someone else get to as well, but… there’s nothing reasonable about travel envy – it can strike even the most even tempered individual! I would like to get back there as well, but for now, I will just content myself with reliving what I think are some of the best parts of spending your vacation in Thailand and using Bangkok as a base to see a bit of the country.
Bangkok has no shortage of temples and shrines and for anyone who hasn’t been to an Asian building of faith before, they differ greatly from their European counterparts. Bright colours, burning incense and a great bustle of pilgrims and tourists make these places feel more alive than the ‘be quiet’ general attitude of cathedrals. Of particular note is the Reclining Buddha – you truly have to see it to understand how impressive it is!
Thai food is universally held as some of the greatest cuisine in existence, with its vibrant flavours and reverence for all things fresh. There are the standard fare you are already familiar with, like pad thai and spring rolls, but be sure to try delicacies like tom yun koon soup the various noodle dishes you’ll be scrambling to find back home.
Located an hour or so outside of Bangkok, the floating market is less an actual market for tourists as it is a tourist trap – on boats! With this in mind, you can still buy awesome souvenirs and find those quintessential Thai products, but as most of these come from the city anyways, you’re paying a premium for the shipping!
The old burnt city, left in ruins by the Burmese, stands as one of the most hauntingly beautiful sites in the whole country. You can easily spend a whole day wandering around the structures, snapping pictures and basking in the history of Ayutthaya.
Famous for the movie about a Japanese POW camp where allies built a bridge across the river and then blew it up, the bridge taking its place is an incredible place to visit. Taking a boat trip down the river, the bridge appears on the horizon between the peaks of the Thai jungle and still serves as an active rail route. Don’t miss out on this great spot!