Bangkok is one of my most beaten paths and it’s also one of the most sensuous food cities in the world. I love being bombarded by the smells and tastes of ingredients that flow to the capital from all over Thailand. I’ve visited nearly two dozen times over the years and I still learn something new on every visit.
The first thing I learned about this city is that you truly need to bring an open mind in order to enjoy it - that goes double for food. Sure, you can find plenty of top-rated, tony restaurants in this city of 8 million people, but I’ve grown to enjoy most of my meals from Bangkok’s endless street markets. By embracing your curiosity (and courage), you could find yourself sampling ant larva or pork brains in the city’s largest street market, Khlong Toei. I’ve spent hours wandering this market and the one in Chinatown (Yaowarat), eating grilled catfish or boat noodles, and I still don’t think I’ve seen half of what it has in store.
Which brings me to another lesson about Bangkok – be an explorer. While the city’s sky train system can get you from one neighborhood to the next, Bangkok is best experienced on foot. Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for a first-hand look at how the city operates. The galleries at the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre are a fantastic place to spend an evening, as are the city’s sporting events like Muay Thai boxing.
One final thought that truly helps me enjoy my time there – take off your watch. While you may prefer to follow an itinerary when you travel, both traffic and the flow of the city move at their own pace. Be present. Accept that there is some humility in learning to navigate this complex city and society.
More posts on Bangkok can be found on AndrewZimmern.com.
Photo courtesy of AndrewZimmern.com
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