There’s something peculiar about the first time you’re mistaken as a prostitute…by a prostitute. Or by a hoard of prostitutes.
For me, that moment was in a dirty, grungy, underground bar/club/live music venue at 3AM in the morning in Bangkok, Thailand. We had just finished up a few hours worth of boogying at Route 66 and were looking to prolong the night. Bangkok’s clubs are meant to close at 2AM, and any place that’s open and filled with people after that tends to be on the seedier side.
In any case, we paid the $5 entry fee and entered a room full of what seemed like only white men and young Asian women pulsating to an Asian cover band doing Bruno Mars (and doing it surprisingly well).
At first I mistook the groups of women staring at me and whispering for genuine admiration for my outfits, until I realized with a sinking heart that I was in a group of white men and I looked exactly like the women looking at me: small, young, Asian, in a tiny dress.
I didn’t like Thailand as much as I wanted to like Thailand. Maybe it was because I shut down in the face of humidity (Bangkok may as well be an open air swimming pool), and maybe it’s because I hate waiting in traffic (the same reason I didn’t like LA). I didn’t get a chance to explore anywhere besides Bangkok and Ko Samui and the underlying seediness of it all really turned me off.
The food was some of the best I’ve eaten in my entire life (although I’m bummed I didn’t maw on some pad see ew like I wanted to, but I’m sure that’s not even a real Thai dish). There were so many flavors that it all seemed like some sort of technicolor taste dream. There were these rice noodles deep fried in egg and beef that we watched a man cook up in a literal alleyway (health code? Never heard of it), there was ‘the best pad thai’ in Bangkok, that was lost on us after a 6-stop eating tour that made my bottomless stomach concede defeat. There were skewers, and there was Gaggan (rated #1 restaurant in Asia, as seen on Chef’s Table) There was coconut. Holy moly, was there coconut.
If you ask my boyfriend, the two things I tend to get inordinately excited about: animals (specifically any dog) and coconuts. My travel snaps to him could have been the hashtag stream for #coconut on Instagram. There were cocktails served in coconuts. There was coconut in food. There was COCONUT ICE CREAM SERVED IN COCONUTS. And so so, so so so so many fresh coconuts. When I worked at ASTRSK I lived in a diet of a coconut (don’t forget the flesh – the best part) every morning, which is definitely an unrealistic breakfast routine but in Asia, it costs you about $2 to live out your dreams. Go get ’em.
I would definitely go back, and I’ll try to remember a list of the best places we ate – but I’m going to stop now because this is just a stream of consciousness at this point.
The temples are beautiful, but I would recommend hitting them as soon as they open to avoid the literal hoardes of people, opt in for the 2-3 hour self-guided listening tour (it’s much more engaging that wondering around and guessing what all the intricacies are about). Coming here after dark is also beautiful. Cover knees and shoulders.
Our foray into street food that resulted in bouts of minor to major food poisoning on all fronts.
We went to the local park (I forgot the name but it’s the huge one in the middle of the city) and it turned out to be one of the best attractions in the city. We saw these giant Komodo dragon type creatures (We later learned they were actually poisonous, andI was hellbent on getting as close to them as possible) but they were just CHILLING in a public park. Insane. There was also your standard selection of Asian street workout equipment.
I don’t care what you’re doing, but find this beer. It’s a locally brewed pale ale and straight up one of the best things I’ve ever drank, beer-wise.
Thailand is nothing if not the land of coconut desserts. It’s a total delight. This coconut ice cream in coco-shell is the meta dessert of my dreams, and I got this from Chatuchak Markets