Amazing Thailand - part one
It has already been almost two weeks since I returned from my trip to Thailand. Visiting other countries always makes me very excited. Especially when you go to another continent to discover a culture so different from the European. It was a trip with a group, so there were several things on the program, fortunately, there was also enough free time to organize it in your own way. It's always a risk to travel with bigger group. But I decided to take the risk - the 15 days sightseeing program looked very attractive to me. Thailand is a big country - to explore it you have to move from one place to another, sometimes hundreds of kilometres. If I would like to organize everything myself it would probably cost more money and more stress. The risk paid off because the trip was amazing in every way.
We started with three days in Bangkok. A city with 15 million residents - to compare, in Holland, lives now 17 million people. Bangkok is huge and full of contrasts. When you walk on the streets the first thing that draws your attention are the stalls with food - tons of them. On every corner, you can get something to eat. The choice is endless - meat, fruits, soups, insects. You name it, they have it. It's always tricky for our European stomachs to eat from street stalls. The hygiene standard is "slightly" different from what we are used to in Europe. On the other hand, millions of Thai people eat daily street food. I really like to taste regional food, I had many chances to do so. For instance the "king of fruits" - durian. It smells so bad that it's forbidden to bring it to hotels, but it tastes surprisingly good - I can't compare it to any other taste that I know. You want to eat insects for instance scorpions - be my guest. Just go to a local market and you will get a big variety of choice. Insects here are eaten like chips in Europe. I did try several ones, they are indeed crunchy and have some nutty flavour. I can't imagine that I eat them daily by watching a football game - but Thai people find it ok, so why not. In general, going to any food market in Thailand is a unique experience. There is even a floating market in the surroundings of Bangkok where food is sold directly from small boats - I'll write about it later. The ultimate food experience in Bangkok was the Michelin star restaurant run by a 73-year-old lady that cooks her food literally on the street. After she got the Michelin stat the place became insanely popular. In one of the episodes of the Netflix series "Street food”, you can learn more about this place. To get a table is a challenge - there is no website where you can book online. They open at 14:00, to get in you have to be there at 10:00 - write your name on the list that hangs on the door and wait until they open. I was lucky to write my name in the first 20. So I hoped to be served one maybe two hours after opening. The old lady prepares all the meals and there are only 8 tables in the restaurant. The thing you need to try when you decide to visit it is the crab omelette - heaven in your mouth. To experience the ambience of the restaurant is really something unique. You can’t compare it to fine Michelin star restaurants that you know from Europe. That only proves that to get a Michelin star you simply have to serve amazing food - doesn’t matter if you do it on the street or in a fine restaurant. That’s exactly what the old lady does - she serves honest, delicious food.
Bangkok is not only food. It's a city of contrasts - with skyscrapers on one side, and simple houses located at the river with crocodiles swimming here and there. To have a panoramic view of the city you simply have to visit the King Power Mahanakhon building the second-highest building in Thailand. The view is simply breathtaking, especially just after the sunset when all the buildings are illuminated. If you're not afraid of heights you can walk on the world largest glass tray and see the rooftops from other high buildings. Or just simply have a drink and enjoy the view from other perspectives.
Another thing that you absolutely have to see in Bangkok is the Grand Palace, complex that will simply blow your mind with the richness and diversity. Pure pleasure to see it and explore it. Thailand is Buddhist and that's why there are temples everywhere. Only in Bangkok, there are thousands of them, more than 300000 in Thailand. One of the most impressive is the Wat Pho with the largest collection of Buddha images including the 46 meters long Reclining Buddha.
Other things that I really like to recommend you in Bangkok is to take a ride with one of the "tuk-tuks" local transport that will bring you everywhere you want for a couple euros. Bangkok is a very photogenic city so simply grab your camera and just walk on the streets - I guarantee that you will make some wonderful shoots. I spend three days in Bangkok, and afterwards, I moved north to explore other parts of the country, I'll write soon about the other amazing things I saw and did in Thailand.