Sawadee Bangkok

Wild. Young. Inspiring. Pulsating. Passionately alive. Pure adrenaline. That´s Bangkok.

Incredibly loud. Pretty freaking dirty. Full of smog. Grey. Cruel. Slaying. That´s Bangkok. Which type of Bangkok do you choose?

I was unsure which one was gonna be my personal pick when I first arrived in Thailand´s capital a while back. Just starting out on my Asian adventure had its challenges – I had barely time to marvel at Bangkok´s huge Suvarnabhumi airport with its impressive colorful statues, when a rather harsh realization hit me: The famous Thai kindness does not necessarily extend to some slick taxi drivers! If a driver refuses to use a meter, as it was the case in my experience, just hop out and into a cab with a driver willing to use the meter! Anything else is not gonna help you keep those pennies, ahem excuse me, Bahts, together for a stunning Thai meal, or a donation to beings in need, or a crazy Muay Thay– event-attendance.

Bangkok City: Tradition meets fashion meets cozy guesthouses

Once you have avoided the pitfalls of unruly Taxi drivers, the seductive Thai juggernaut is finally awaiting you: a buzzing place of countless shopping malls and of intoxicatingly beautiful temples. A place where a myriad of new trends in fashion and music are being birthed and tradition and modern times melt into a tantalizing, sense-overwhelming pot of inspiration. Sawadee Bangkok, hello Bangkok, here we come!

If you are on the lookout for an affordable accommodation, look no further than Soi Kasern San 1 in the famous area “Siam Square”. You´ll find Wendy´s guest house here – a clean, comfy yet humble place smack in the middle of the city, where the staff charms visitors with their very warm and lovely demeanour. They definitely made me feel like family when I stayed over!

Thai tales, take one: Of Wai-greetings and wild dragonfruit

The Wendy guesthouse staff let me in on the traditional Thai “Wai”- greeting, where both hands are held in a prayer posture in front of one´s face and a slight bow with the upper body is made to demonstrate appreciation. For my fellow Yogi-lovers out there, you might feel reminded of the Indian Namaste – this is no weird coincidence at all, as both go back to the Indian Anjali Mudra! The Wai-greeting is usually accompanied by a, at least by European standards, very high pitched “Sawadee” greeting (meaning “How are you”, or “hello”) or, alternatively, a “Kop-Khun Ka” enunciation (meaning “Thank you”).

Once you turn the corner from Wendy House you are right on the main street, where countless mobile food stalls offer delicious tropical fruit such as stunningly pink dragonfruit or deliciously wobbly lychee-fruit. Buyer beware: Dragonfruit is absolutely fingerlicking good and addictive! While being bombarded by the notorious honking of the never-ending stream of cars and Tuk-Tuks and the sellers praising their produce, you are also likely to spot some bright orange- green signs advertising the 7-Eleven convenience stores. Here, you can purchase snacks, drinks and other lifesaving small essentials 24/7.

Thai tales, take two: Of fabulous lady boys and racing tuk-tuks

I remember feeling peckish and getting myself a lovingly prepared dragonfruit (of course), as well as a sandwich at 7/11, kindly warmed up for me by a beautiful lady with a very deep voice. Wandering on through Bangkoks bustling streets, it soon became clear to me that this wouldn´t be the only lady boy I would get to see in Thailands 8,2 million metropolis. One of the exciting facets that Bangkok has to offer is its vibrant Transgender, Gay and Lesbian community.

The huge amount of lady boys, meaning of women who, biologically speaking, used to be, or still are, men, are simply an integral and oh-so-delightfully-lively part of Bangkok´s city scape! They belong as much to the city as the oodles and oodles of cars and tuk-tuks that envelop the city every afternoon in a cloud of dense, slightly smelly smog. Or the elevated rapid transit train, also known as Skytrain. Or the overpowering grey of thousands upon thousands of buildings and skyscapers. Or the many petite and fashion-conscious Thai women. The ladies and the lady boys add dashes of gorgeous color to a partly pretty grey Bangkok and just make it into what it is and what it´s loved for: a cosmopolitan, mind-blowingly exciting and aspiring mega city.

A beautiful lady boy in Bangkok, livin´life the glamourous way

Thai tales, take three: Sniffing up some inspiration at BACC

After my stop at 7 Eleven , it was time to head to the thought-provoking BACC, the Bangkok Art+Culture Centre (corner of Th Phaya Thai and TH Phra Ram1), a contemporary arts hub located just around the corner from my guesthouse. I was greeted by two around four meter-tall men in uniforms: two giant puppets, dressed in sort of diving wet suits, displaying the numbers “1914” and “1939”, respectively, on their chests. This kinda modern memorial to WWI and WWII was just one of many outstanding features that caught my attention – even the facade of the arts center itself was quite a treat, an architectonic feast for the eyes reminiscent of the Guggenheim-museum in New York.

The inside of the building makes art lovers´metaphorical tail wag with the finest in modern Thai art. Alongside extravagant pieces created by aspiring new artists, there are also creative cafes and an arts library to be visited, artistically decorated craft shops to be inspected, and even a pantomime school to be marveled at. The icing on the cake? When I left the building, I just happened to come across a giant Thai rock-concert!

I decided to mingle for a while with the many relaxed and stylishly dressed Thai youngsters that had gathered in front of the stage and I enjoyed getting carried away by the unusual and melodious Thai language and musical sounds. In general, the Thai music-industry ventures far out of the mainstream, especially Indie-bands are setting the trends in Thai music-land. Keen on a taste of that yourself? Head to Brick bar (265 Khao San Road, downstairs at rear of Buddy Lodge complex), where fun house bands take to the stage every night, playing a lively mix of ska, bouncy pop covers and Thai-indie!

That´s all for today, my friends! Stay tuned for the next posts, in which we will discover why a visit to the fishmarket at 6 AM is the best way to end an incredible night out in Hamburg, and how it feels to hang out with a giant reclining Buddha that´s a humble 46 metres long in Bangkok!

Back to you, dear readers: Have you ever been to Bangkok, or Thailand for that matter? What surprised you most about its culture?

Categories: Posts in English, Reiselust- Hungry for travel, Reisen | Tags: , , , , , , | 31 Comments

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31 thoughts on “Sawadee Bangkok

  1. Never have been there, but you certainly made me feel like I have. You gave us the tastes, colors, and personalities of this vibrant city. You gave elegance to the lady boys and succulent juive to the dragon fruit. It is such a pleasure to travel the world with you.

    Hope you are doing well Amiga. Mucho abrazos.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Drew, you are too kind! Thanks so much for your delightful words of appreciation, so glad you enjoyed coming along on this trip! This is why I blog – to enrich and inspire lovely beings´hearts and minds and to be inspired and enriched by lovely beings´ (como tu) art and viewpoints Hope you are having a great time in the Dominican Republic? Muchos abrazos y gracias de nuevo por tu tremenda amabilidad:)

      Liked by 2 people

      • I have more of your posts to read in my email. I will get to them soon. I am traveling the world reading your beautiful blog.

        Loving the beaches here. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Drew, your support is so much appreciated! No hay prisa, cuando te venga bien:) Love having you as my co-traveller! Just checked out some pics of the Dominican Republic, the beaches do look amazing! Te mando muchos abrazos y te deseo todo lo mejor siempre! Blessings


  2. beautiful
    much different
    than my visit
    40 yrs ago 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, so glad you joined on this virtual holiday! I am very intrigued, David, it must have been a different world back then – what are some of the things you remember as to how Bangkok was 40 years ago? If you don´t mind sharing 🙂


  3. Sounded a bit like Mumbai… Ladyboys not as flamboyant though.
    Loved my sojourn with you. You have a way with words that makes me want to travel with you. 🌻

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting, India must be an incredible place to visit as well! Thanks so much for your kindness, so glad you enjoy traveling with me:) The pleasure is truly all mine, dear Kavitha, great to have you onboard! 😉 Hugs to you in beautiful South Africa

      Liked by 1 person

      • India is really incredibly amazing, her people is full of heart and soul.
        Now South Africa is another delight. Let’s hope 2020 makes our dreams come true…!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can only imagine – India must be a place of magic and true soul, as you said. Yesss, fingers crossed for fabulous South Africa in 2020!!:) Have a lovely evening over there!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I have never gone there but know about their culture which are mostly same as in Laddakh,India.but that country is most beautiful and amazing.awesome the lady boy and dragon have learned many Thai words.marvellous.enjoy your trips,my Gypsy soul.🌹🌹🌹🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    • India must be incredible! I´ve watched so many beautiful movies set in India and love Yoga philosophy and practice so much, hopefully I can visit one day. Thanks so much for your warm words and kind feedback! Where in India are you? Enjoy your day, many blessings to you, dear Aruna 🙂


      • I am from Rajasthan, are Yoga philosophy and for it many meditation centres are presented here.really India is most incredible.i hope-you will most enjoy here.welcome to visit India,my dear gpsy soul..

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ah you are too kind, dear Aruna! Of course, Rajasthan, I have heard so much about it, and yes I would love to visit sometime. Fingers crossed that it may happen in the future:) Would be most wonderful for sure!!


      • Yeah.your wish will definitely fulfil.bless you ,my dear!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Aruna! I hope so, and for you to travel to all the wonderful places you wish to see as well! Blessings


      • That is depend on my destiny but as you are saying-may be i go to around the of luck,dear!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you 🙂 What is the word friend in your language? What language do you speak in? Is it Hindi? Blessings 🙂


      • Mitra-in Hindi language and Dost/Yaar in Urdu language.perhaps i speak mostly in hindi/urdu main language is Hindi.English language is compulsory subject for student in school and college/all competitions examinations.bless you ,my dear!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for these interesting insights, dear Mitra 🙂 Love learning about different cultures and love to transmit knowledge about it. Thanks for teaching me! Blessings, Dost Aruna 🙂


      • You are most welcome,my dear dost!!❤

        Liked by 1 person

  5. You really do give us all a taste for the city with your writing and photographs ~ and the “Wild. Young. Inspiring. Pulsating. Passionately alive. Pure adrenaline…” That´s the Bangkok to see and enjoy which you’ve done well, and makes me wish to return if not to Thailand than another place to get lost in the culture and sights 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Randall, thanks so much, or gracias, if you want to start communicating more in Spanish, hehe:) So happy to read that my post stirred a longing in you to visit or revisit vibrantly alive places, and that you find my description/ impressions of the place to be authentic and helpful. Any new places that you feel particularly drawn to at the moment? Enjoy your weekend 🙂


      • Ha, I think I will have to wait a little while longer to be able to communicate in Spanish 🙂 I think there is still a bit to explore in Europe (Portugal and Spain) and then Eastern Europe, and I will always feel at home in Asia – really a diverse set of countries and cultures, but if there is a newest draw for me, it would be Central and South America… 🙂 How about you?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bueno, that´s totally fine 🙂 – “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, right? It will definitely come in handy for those Central and South American travel plans 🙂 Sabes (you know), if you ever need any travel tips on Spain, let me know and I am stoked to help! There is definitely lots to discover here, there is so much variety within Spain to enjoy! And the climate is definitely helpful, I know you mentioned you love the warmer climate in SEA…

        My travel dreams…mmh would say top of my current list are Ireland and Scotland, Budapest, Ibiza, South Africa, India, and yes – Central/ South America are also on my list, as I´ve not been to the Americas so far! And back to Asia/ discover Japan / maybe HK again..ahh…once you´ve caught the travel bug, there´s no coming back from it! You would probably know 🙂 Btw, I managed to smuggle another Lao Tzu quote into my last post – stoked to be able to share my passion for Asian wisdom traditions with ya! Enjoy your evening 🙂 Ta


      • I will definitely let you know when I travel to Spain, I’ve only been to the northern areas (San Sebastian, Bilbao, Navarra region) so I need to Barcelona at least 🙂

        Ireland and Scotland are awesome, I felt very at ease there and Budapest is one of my favorite European cities… and you are so correct, once you have the travel bug there is no limit to the number of places to visit and experience. Wishing you a great Friday and weekend – and look forward to reading your new post.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Great to hear about your Ireland and Scotland impressions! The culture there really calls to me. And Budapest must be stunning also! Dreaming myself there already 🙂

        Awesome, yes just let me know when you come to Spain. Barcelona is a must and an incredible place for artlovers. If you have time left, I would also always vouch for Andalusia/Southern Spain as a spectacular travel destination. Am currently based here and the cultural mix of Moorish, Christian and Jewish heritage is very unique and noticeable in architecture, music, art, and language. And the folks in Southern Spain are definitely mostly upbeat and funloving. Enough PR haha 🙂 Have a great weekend as well! Great chatting with you 🙂


  6. Also, I am tempted to return to Bangkok to try out this restaurant which I read about last week in a post These treasures that can be found in the places travelled are always a bit inspiring… And I think tasting one of these famous crab omelettes would be reason enough to explore the area again 🙂 Cheers to a great weekend ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, muchas gracias! Thanks for sharing that post with us – you won´t believe it, but I actually saw that pocket-rocket of a lady chef doing her magic on the documentary “Street Food” that´s mentioned in the article! 🙂 It would definitely be an interesting experience to try her Michelin- star-worthy crab omelet in person, totally agree. Cheers to a great relaxing weekend with good food 🙂


  7. Pingback: Calming Chiang Mai: An elephant always remembers | A gypsy at heart

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