So, Bangkok. One of my favourite cities. It's huge, messy, noisy, dirty, colourful, creative and stylish. Perched on the precipice between wealth and poverty. Chaotic yet deeply civilized. And it feels like a true crossroads of the world, thanks to a melting pot local culture and a huge population of expats, traders, businesspeople, tourists and criminals from everywhere between Los Angeles and Seoul, Hong Kong and Lagos, Cairo and Berlin. The only other place I've been that feels similar is the Dubai airport.
I've been to Bangkok half a dozen times yet this is the first time I've posted any photos (aside from my Asia by iPhone
thread from a couple months back). So here they all are, in three threads that span more than two years. I'm posting them in chronological order, starting in 2010. I will include a few notes as I go along.
We start around Chit Lom in a sudden and unexpected downpour – this is supposed to be the dry season.
A fortifying meal before plunging into the crowds of the Chatuchak Weekend Market, which has about 5,000 stalls selling pretty much everything you can imagine.
Chatuchak is like a miniature city; each neighbourhood has its own character. Section 2 is the trendy spot where girls buy high-waisted shorts and hipster blouses. Section 19 is where you buy flying squirrels.
This is Asoke, a downtowny kind of area that is part office district, part entertainment zone and part sad-old-man-meets-Thai-hooker area.
The dearly departed Ratchadapisek night market, where vintage collectors gathered to sell/show off their antique motorcycles, LPs, glassware and so on. It's now being redeveloped into a shopping mall. Luckily night markets in Bangkok never die – they just move elsewhere.
Bangkok is criss-crossed by canals, which used to be how people got around, but the car is now king. Most of the canals are fetid.
Apparently a majority of people in Bangkok have at least some Chinese ancestry, but there's still a big Chinatown, where I guess more-than-averagely-Chinese people live.
Taxis in Bangkok are insanely cheap. Tourists often complain about getting scammed but as long as you flag down a moving taxi, rather than pick one that's waiting outside tourist traps, you'll do fine.
I've never been anywhere with as big a hard-on for vintage things as Bangkok.
Bangkok is an integral stop for Israelis on their drug-fueled post-IDF rampages across Asia.
The BTS SkyTrain, which is pretty much a toy train serving a city of 15 million people. (There's also a one-line metro.) That said, it works, even if it's always crowded because the trains are too short.
7-Elevens and their ilk are among the most important places you'll encounter in any Asian city. In Bangkok, they also serve as street food hubs and motorcycle taxi depots. Buy a beer, grab a meal outside and hop on a bike home. Brilliant.
This is the Khlong Saen Saep, a canal that runs the length of central Bangkok. It's served by express boats – they're the fastest way to get across town. You'll see more of this in the next thread.
Part 2 is next