There are so many great things in Bangkok, but sometimes all it takes is a song, a picture, a smell, something that triggers a memory deep inside and reminds you how far you are from family and the things that hold a lifetime of familiarity. All I can think of at the moment are those cold crisp days in London, I blame the stupid John Lewis Snowman advert. We’ve just had friends visit, which makes the memories of the UK come back into focus, things at a distance do tend to blur and smudge after two years away.
It’s on days like these that I need reminding about why I love Bangkok so much. It’s not quite toppled the big smoke as my number one city, but it is doing its best to catch up.
- Christmas is coming fast, and usually it’s a time where people want to be with their families. Screw that, come to Bangkok – to them it’s the huge trees, bigger buffets and the perfect excuse to spend money, not recreating childhood memories. Who doesn’t want to giggle at all the ladies of the night wearing sexy Santa outfits?!
- Rediscovering Siam Square. When I first arrived I wasn’t sure how to navigate this area, with so many shops it was hard to work out where to go, and I usually ended up down bad quality alley with purchasing fake goods my only chance of escape. But since writing this article I have totally fallen in love with the place, especially the quirky upstairs gallery at Siam Vintage.
- Twitter. I love the English speaking community on Bangkok twitter and although I still haven’t quite got my head around tweeting, hearing about other people and their journeys in the city is both entertaining and reassuring.
- Visitors. Okay, it can be stressful when people expect you to know everything about a place, but they do allow you to rediscover the city beyond your commute to work. I always try and save the touristy things till people come and stay, so I don’t have to do it twice so it’s nice to see some of the more famous parts of Bangkok, including the Sky Bar at Lebua.
- Tom Kha Gai (coconut chicken soup) and mango sticky rice are my Bangkok comfort foods, the Thai equivalent of a hug in a bowl – I could eat them every day.
- Cheap manicures. I now alternate between two nail salons on Sukhumvit. My favourite Nailista, only has three seats and recently they just haven’t been able to fit me in. So I’ve headed to Ten Ten near Phrom Pong BTS, more room, great YSL inspired French manicure in green and purple and free ginger tea.
- The cool weather. I am ecstatic when I wake up and it’s cloudy. It means I can wear jeans AND not have to worry about getting sunburnt or dehydrated.
- How cheap and easy it is to escape from Bangkok. I’ve just spent a week on the Islands, fallen in love with Koh Tao and plan to return to attempt some Grand Bleu style free diving whilst holding my breath for three minutes.
- BKK Bagel Bakery. I’ve started going here at least once a week, who ever thought you could stuff so much goodness into a ring of dough? (518/3 Maneeya Center, Ploenchit Road, Bangkok 10330)
- Thailand Creative & Design Center (TCDC) at Emporium (BTS Phrom Pong), a great library to get your head down and get some work done, or procrastinate with photography and design books.