The years have gone by so quickly! 2008 marks my 5th year of stay in Bangkok which is also the length of my employment outside the Philippines. I can still remember how exciting it was for me to work abroad. I gave up a flourishing career in the Philippine entertainment media just to try a different avenue that is to become an International civil servant.
The first 3 months of my stay in Bangkok was filled with pure observation of the city simply because Thailand has a completely different culture. I was very careful of my activities and interactions with people. The religion was not an issue for me. In fact it was a good opportunity to come closer and discover a different belief. The sophisticated architecture of temples, golden statues, spirit houses and early morning merit making for monks were my reminders that I am really in a different country.
While I still do not consider yet of staying longer in Bangkok, there are a few things which I will never forget should I decide to leave or be reassigned in the near future:
1. Thai Food - I must say that I am impressed with how the Thais prepare their food. It is basically everywhere. You step out of your place or Soi (small street in Thai), you'll surely find a mobile restaurant (Noodles in particular). My favorite Thai dishes which I always crave for if I am on vacation in Manila or whenever I travel are Som Tam (papaya salad), Pladook Foo (fried cattlefish with mango salad) and Tom Yam Goong (hot shrimp soup). The unique blend of sweet, sour and most importantly "hot or spicy" tastes of these dishes are always a craving for my taste buds. I eat a lot here and needless to say I gained 10kg since I stayed in Bangkok.
2. The Lumpini Park and Queens Park Emporium - My early Saturday morning habit is to jog or briskwalk in either of these two national parks. It is a lot of fun to exercise in Bangkok as you will never be alone. I got to meet a lot of people who are so engrossed about exercising and being healthy which I think is a good hobby. Unfortunately though, lately I do not go to these places that often since I started taking up my Masters.
3. Jatujak Market - This is a one-stop shopping place. It is a weekend market where you can find almost everything. From garments, house ornaments, sports gadgets to pets which include puppies, cats and birds. (hehe) I enjoy looking at the puppies being sold at a very cheap price. I even accompanied my visiting friends to purchase one.
4. Carrefour Rama IV - This is perhaps the biggest branch of Carrefour supermarket chain in Thailand and I would say that this is the most popular in Bangkok. I enjoy buying groceries from this shop since I get a free round-trip shuttle bus ride. A shopping so convenient!
There are quite a number of destinations in Bangkok since it is a huge busy city. However, you may not be able to visit them all in one day given the notorious traffic situation on the roads of Bangkok! This is an ultimate scene one can ever think about Bangkok. But once you got used to it then it becomes a fun all of a sudden and a part of your normal daily life in Bangkok. At night, the traffic jam becomes a nice scenery of lights as cars and other transportation queue up in a lane and form a pattern of lights and objects.
If you feel like partying in Bangkok, I would recommend the best hang-outs near my place (Ekamai Road) which includes "The Curve", "The Piano" and "Santika". As of writing, the most popular hang-out place both for teens and young professional Thais and foreigners like me is the Bed Supperclub located on Sukhumvit Soi 11. They have musical themes for each day. My most favorite is Thursday -- a night of 80's rock and disco music. Bed Supperclub is known for its unique design and concept. It is a restaurant at day time and a loud techno club at night.
If you are a shopping fan, Bangkok is a place for you! It offers both high-end and cheap but classy shopping experience. You can find cheap garments in Pratunam Market, Bobae Market, MBK Mall and Jatujak Market. You can also try Lumpini Night Market where you can find good Thai restaurants as well. High-end shoppers can enjoy discounts of signature items at Siam Paragon, Central, Central World, Zen, Gaysorn and Erawan. As for me, if I need to buy something special and expensive, I always prefer to shop at the Emporium. Shopping is not too busy and I think the merchants and items at Emporium are more organized compared to the other malls in Bangkok.
The above is just an overview about Bangkok. Just like any other places, you will get to discover more of it once you are actually in the place!
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