For many reasons, Bangkok will always have a special place in my heart.
There’s something about this place; the hustle and bustle of locals flooding the train stations, their niche for art and fashion, the language, the blaring horns of colourful taxis and endless choices of street food that I will never get enough of.
Last month, I flew across the globe to return to this city that was once my second home to attend a beautiful beach wedding. This time, someone special came along with me.
It could not have been better than for us to kickstart our holiday at Pattaya, where we were guests of Fern’s much anticipated wedding with her husband David. It was a wonderful reunion of friends coming in from different parts of the world; childhood friends whom I haven’t seen in years.
This is actually my first time experiencing a beach wedding and weather that evening turned out to be perfect – Sunny skies with a gentle breeze to combat the warm temperatures, and we witnessed the couple exchange their vows just as the sun started to set.
The resort where the wedding was held at was equally a good experience for us; we had a more than comfortable stay at the Garden Villa that was at a separate compound from the main building and even had a pool right at our doorstep!
Throughout our stay in Bangkok itself, we stayed at the Lebua at State Tower where we enjoyed a splendid view of the city skyline from our balcony. If you’re feeling fancy, you could consider having a drink up at the hotel’s Sky Bar, apparently known as the best rooftop bar in Bangkok.
Conveniently, the hotel is within walking distance to the Saphan Taksin BTS station. This train station is also right beside the iconic Chao Praya river where there are ample water taxis or boats that you can hop on and off to wherever you’d like to go.
We made full use of the sky trains and river transport, visiting national landmarks as this is Jeff’s first time in this city. It’s been a good five years since my last visit and I was overwhelmed with nostalgia to be back on familiar grounds.
The Grand Palace & The Emerald Buddha
Definitely a must visit during your first trip to Bangkok. It is a stunning work of art and within its grounds is Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of The Emerald Buddha.
We braved the extreme heat of 34 degrees (and the insane massses of tourists) to admire its architecture and the loyalty of the people of Thailand towards their late king. His demise occurred in October last year and up till today, locals still mourn over his passing and would even travel from other provinces to pay their last respects.
Price: 500 THB
*Visitors must be modestly dressed in accordance to the strict dresscode
Wat Arun, The Temple of Dawn
This is easily one of the most stunning temples I’ve been to in Bangkok. It was a shame that refurbishments were being carried out during our visit.
Food Hunting at Chinatown, and everwhere else.
When in Thailand, food hunting becomes a big part of your visit. Our days in Bangkok may be short, but we sure stuffed ourselves silly with spicy foods, noodles, soup broths, local fruits and desserts. In fact, it was actually my frequent visits to this city that made me fall in love with spicy food!
During the day, Yaowarat is a haven for wholesalers where you’d get to buy things in bulk at very cheap prices; they sell almost anything you could possibly imagine! I spent quite awhile just looking out of interest, until we stumbled upon a good bowl of duck noodles. Yum!
On a more personal note, I love how the city has remained the same as how I remembered it to be, with the never ending crowds of people, traffic, noise, disorganised stalls, peddlars insisting that you buy their goods, university students in their standard uniforms, good food… I am also surprised at how I still could speak a little of the language and people still mistake me for a local, just like how they did all those years ago.
I could not be happier to be back, and this wedding was the perfect reason for this trip to happen.