Thursday, September 15, 2022

Thailand It That Way... Again.

I was excited as my Singapore Airlines flight descended towards Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi (pronounced as Soowanapoom) Airport. Excited was an understatement, to be fair. Seated in the aisle part of the premium economy of the Airbus A350-900, I couldn't see any landmarks from the window. My only guide was the flight information map from my inflight entertainment system. Apart from finishing an entire movie of Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, I was entertained. Great movie, by the way. It took our flight forever to taxi toward our assigned gate. Bangkok's international airport is one of the largest in Southeast Asia. 

Traveling will always test my patience. It was very challenging to keep my cool while waiting for my turn at the immigration since this airport is notorious for long queues at the immigration, next to Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport. As Thailand relaxes its COVID-19 restrictions, masks are no longer required indoors and outdoors. However, wearing a mask is highly encouraged,  especially in crowded areas and public transportation. See, there is a thin line between encouraged and mandatory. I removed my face mask for a while, and it felt foreign.

As we traveled to our hotel in Sukhumvit, a wave of nostalgia hit me. The first time I traveled to Bangkok was six years ago. Arriving from a red-eye promo flight, there was nothing to see outside from our darkly-tinted van. My second trip to Bangkok would hit differently, in a good way. We stayed at Avani Sukhumvit, one of Bangkok's busiest districts. We checked out some of the night markets just right across the hotel. These open-air stalls outside a shopping mall are quintessentially Thai–different varieties of street foods on display, clothes, accessories, and everything in between.

Walking around Bangkok feels like singing a familiar tune, like exploring an already charted territory. The main throughways remind me of some districts in Metro Manila–bustling, crowded, and modern. But instead of old catholic churches, golden pagodas and intricately designed temples in traditional Siam architecture stand out, screaming its Thai identity to foreigners.

Six years had passed, several colossal malls had sprouted like wild mushrooms, the daytime population had increased by at least a million, and traffic had gone worst, yet Bangkok's vibes remained the same.

When in Bangkok, remember to drop by Mahanakhon Skywalk, Bangkok's newest and highest observation deck. Located at the heart of Bangkok's central business district, this pixel-shaped architectural landmark was conceived to reflect the ambition and excitement of one of the world's most dynamic cities.

Whether traveling to Bangkok for a solo trip or with family and friends, there are many options to take for you to enjoy this vibrant city. 

You can visit Pattaya and Ayutthaya for a day tour. Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, so expect temple runs and visits within that area. Are you feeling adventurous? Drive to the famous Damnoen Saduak floating market. Although this place is notorious for being a tourist trap, we're already here, so why not try it, right?

I never thought I'd be back to exploring places. Two years felt eternity. As the world tries to adapt to the new normal, I realize I should be grateful even for the littlest and most mundane things around me. This comes from a privileged standpoint, but I am thankful for everything. I am truly blessed. I want to continue exploring new places, share stories, and cherish these forever.

No destination is unworthy. All places, touristy or non-touristy, are destinations that could help enrich your life, understanding, and perspective.

Selfie at Bangkok's tallest building.

My ride to Bangkok from Singapore.

First time trying Singapore Airlines' premium economy product.

The best way to navigate around Bangkok is through their BTS Skytrain.

Somewhere in Asok Station.

Welcome to the pixelated Tetris building - Mahanakhon Tower.

Crowded Bangkok.

Dinner at Cabbages and Condoms. Quite pricey, but the food was all worth it!

Typical Bangkok traffic.


Inside IconSiam, one of Bangkok's newest malls.

Indoor streetfood! Everything is at THB 15.00!

The lighting was perfect, hence the selfie.

I ain't afraid of heights!

Good thing I am not acrophobic.

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