In case it got lost in translation, that’s a reference to The Hangover II.
We always envisioned jumping off the plane in Bangkok, Armageddon style, with wide-eyes and ready to take the city by storm. However, the reality was a little less glamorous. Jet lagged and absolutely exhausted from our 30+ hours of travel, we stumbled off the plane and somehow managed to find our way to the hostel, where we fell asleep immediately.
While we did not find Chow during our five days in Bangkok, we did have a few memorable highlights…
The Bourbon Street of Bangkok
The most famous street (for tourists at least) is Khaosan Road. A mile long strip of bars, massage parlors, street food, and trinket vendors gets you most of the way there in getting a feel for the place. Brian kept saying if you swapped all the strip clubs in New Orleans with massage parlors it would feel pretty similar. It was a great place for us to spend an afternoon and New Year’s Eve. Before counting down to midnight, which happened to be in English, a DJ had the music blasting and the crowds roaring as people from all over the world came together to celebrate by singing, dancing, and jumping around to the hottest beats right in the middle of the street. In addition to the DJ’s party, all the bars lining Khaosan Road were competing to see who could play the loudest music so it made for quite the NYE street party! Khaosan Road is a unique experience and definitely a must-do while in Bangkok.
Don’t Touch the Monks!
With 95% of Thailand’s population practicing Buddhism, temples flood the country. They provide a lot of character, history, and beauty to the otherwise smoggy, dirty city. If you venture to the temples, just remember not to touch the monks or make eye contact (especially women). Being fresh off the boat (quite literally since we took a water taxi to the area with the temples), Alison failed to follow the first cardinal rule of visiting Buddhist temples – cover your legs. When visiting these sacred places and major tourist attractions, women are required to wear pants or long shorts and cover their shoulders as monks take a vow of celibacy. There is no guessing what kind of excitement might be had if one of the monks catches a glimpse of a little knee or ankle. At the entrance to the first temple, Alison’s shorts were quickly deemed too short. J.Crew, you’ll be hearing about this one. Alison had to scurry over to a station marked exclusively for scandalous women where she was covered in the trendiest of items, a sarong. Pick up the latest copy of People magazine, all the celebrities are wearing them. It’s a must-have item for 2014!
Delicious, Cheap Street Food
In the States, we have the unhealthiest and most processed “street food” known to man. Hello, Burger King. Need I go any further? I didn’t think so. However, in Bangkok, their version of fast food is called “street food” and these dishes are fast, fresh and healthy! Street food is made with the most flavorful produce and meats that are bought right down the street at the market. It’s a really neat experience to walk down the block and see one street food vendor after another selling such a wide range of mouthwatering dishes. However, buyer beware: some dishes have a spicy level so high they make siracha look like a sweet sauce. Even despite how delicious Thai dishes are, when a burger craving hits, McDonald’s never tasted so good!
Ping Pong Shows
After a few short days in Bangkok, we gained insight into what a ping pong show entailed from other travelers. These ping pong shows are not a competitive sporting event either. Two words – sexual circus. We’ll let you do your own research on this one because Grandma is reading. When in Thailand…
One of the qualities that Alison has always admired Brian for is his negotiating skills and boy can he negotiate. Alison often endearingly refers to him as Brian “The Negotiator” Kohn. Fortunately (and unfortunately), Brian was able to put his skills to work when we spent an afternoon exploring Chinatown as well as an evening at one of the night markets in Bangkok. Envision the items (i.e. junk) you sell in a garage sale and then instead of placing them in your garage, put them on the street in a somewhat organized fashion and you have just made your own street market. Once you acquire some knock-off purses, wallets, and sunglasses, your street market will be in business!
After Alison’s experience at the temples, she decided she wanted to invest in a sarong of her own and Brian was ready for the negotiating challenge. After finding the perfect print for her new sarong at the night market, Alison began haggling with the woman on the price. Meanwhile, Brian was providing background commentary on the price and for whatever reason, it wasn’t resonating well with the woman. The woman proceeded to abruptly push Alison aside and charge towards Brian while raising her voice and intensely shaking her pointer finger in his face as she passionately yelled out in broken English, “Why you do this to me? No happy new year to you!” It could have aired on an episode of “The Real Housewives of Bangkok.” You better believe we walked away without a sarong.