We only had a quick 36 hours in Bangkok (16 of which were spent sleeping) before we had to fly out to Hong Kong. Trying to explore in the over 100-degree heat and with limited time proved to be more challenging than expected. There were so many temples and museums and sights to see, and even more delicious things to eat!
One of the first things we did was the city boat tour. Mattia and I had the entire boat to ourselves so we felt a little like royalty. We soon came across a friendly but aggressive lady on the floating market, who tried to push us to buy everything from cigarettes to random tourist pendants to beer for our boat captain. My Italian boyfriend was very excited to get these pointy, straw hats, which he assumed was a Thai tradition. I rolled my eyes at the hats, but sported them around proudly for the remaining duration of our trip anyway. Throughout the day, the locals came to us to ask about them, and laughed at us for buying some random, Asian-looking hats that definitely were not Thai. Vietnamese, maybe? But maybe not. We never really found out, but Mattia was extremely pleased with his purchase anyway.
We spent a lot of time bonding with, and then arguing with, tuk-tuk drivers. They definitely have a penchant for overcharging tourists. And for needlessly taking the tourists to tailors or jewelry stores because the drivers will receive commission for bringing potential customers. Mattia and I got sent to a total of four in just one day.
"A ring for the lady, my friend?" one jewelry store owner asked Mattia, pointing to me.
"No, no, it is too early," he replied, shaking his head.
"But it is already 3pm!" the owner said, confused, incorrectly interpreting his reply.
"Besides, these styles are too old," Mattia said, looking at the excessive, gaudy pieces, crammed with emeralds and 40's style detailing.
"For your mother, then?"
"Not even for my grandmother, my friend!"
We exited the store laughing. Everyone in Thailand did seem to think we were married and on our honeymoon though. We're way too young! I guess they tend to get married pretty young so they expect us to as well. Our first tuk-tuk driver was only 28 and was showing us pictures of 6-year-old son!
Bangkok is a vibrant and unique city. At first glance, I was amazed at the income inequality in Bangkok. On one hand, there were numerous shanty homes teetering on the edge of the murky waters, while only a few miles away there were modern high rises and luxury department stores. Scattered in between were the beautiful Thai temples. They were so different from anything I've seen throughout my travels in other parts of Asia--so different and mystifying! It was too bad I only had a few short hours to take everything in the first time around. I'm definitely hoping to come back again, especially for a comprehensive food tour. I only got to try two out of the ten must-eats on my list!
Have you guys been to Bangkok? What is something I definitely should try the next time around?