Petite Traveler

Bangkok – Expectations vs. Reality

Hello, my lovely petites!

It took me a while to find the words to describe my petite traveler adventures in Thailand, so this is the first article of a series because there is a lot to recount.

When you say Bangkok, you probably picture glorious skyscrapers, green parks, fascinating temples, friendly people and the world’s best food. At least, this is what I thought about it.

I’ll be honest: Bangkok is nothing like I’ve imagined.

Thailand was on our travel list for a long, long time. Actually, when we started freelancing in the summer of 2019, we were sure we wanted to move to Thailand for at least three months. But obtaining a 60-days Tourist Visa from the Thai Embassy in Bucharest is a burden and bureaucracy is a mood killer so, after the first failed attempt to obtain the visa, we decided to go to Tenerife.

Read: Our Adventure in Tenerife

The thought of going to Thailand still haunted us even after the Tenerife adventure and we decided to do it, but only as a test to see if it is for us.

We booked a full trip with an agency with four days in Bangkok and ten days in Phuket, the perfect combo to discover new places and relax by the beach. Plus, it was the 2020 Chinese New Year and our hotel, Hotel Royal Chinatown, was right in the middle of Bangkok’s Chinatown – one of the largest Chinatowns in the world – which was about to offer us a unique experience during such a big holiday.

We did a lot of research about the culture, the climate, the food, the threats in the Thai capital, but it wasn’t enough.

For the first time, Bangkok surprised and shocked us in so many ways and it was unlike anything we’d ever experienced before.

Shock 1 – the heat

I will remember all my life what I’ve felt the moment I stepped out of the airport. It felt like entering hell or something like that. Even though we visited during the cold season, the heat in Bangkok is intensified by humidity, pollution, and high traffic, and if you are not accustomed to high temperatures, the chances to feel uncomfortable during your trip are very high. So, prepare to sweat a lot and take as many showers per day as possible.

Tip: stay hydrated, wear loose, light-colored clothes, and don’t forget the sunscreen.

Shock 2 – the smells

Bangkok is a combination of smells, and no, I don’t mean pleasant smells. After only five minutes spent outside you stink; it feels like the bad smell sticks to your skin. This is a thing I couldn’t get used to, on the contrary. Every time I had to go outside, I got sick. We stayed right on Yaowarat Rd. known for its energy and delicious street food, but the smell of food combined with the ones coming from the sewage, the garbage, the gasoline, the pollution, and the DURIAN which is everywhere somehow breaks the entire experience. But, I guess, this is how the “exotic” smells like.

The only place where you don’t really feel the smell so bad is by the river.

Chao Phraya River boat ride.

This was the first time in my life when I wanted to have a stuffy nose.

Street food in Bangkok.

Tip: wear a mask or a bandanna.

This is how you avoid the bad smell.

Shock 3 – the smog

I knew that Bangkok was one of the most polluted cities in the world, but I’ve never imagined it was so bad. The air is simply chocking you and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Our experience in Thailand was also influenced by the coronavirus outbreak and a personal event that kept me indoors for a while, so we didn’t visit everything that was on our list.

Love it or hate it, no matter how much you prepare for a visit to Bangkok, this city like no other will surely surprise you.

This article reflects my own beliefs and experiences.

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