Posted by: Carolyn ODonnell | March 9, 2013

Thailand: A short, efficient bite of the Big Mango

Green chicken curry: One very good reason for visiting Bangkok

Green chicken curry:Just one very good reason for visiting Bangkok

I’d never thought of Bangkok as being particularly clean, quiet or pedestrian-friendly, but after India it certainly seemed that way. It was blissful to be on streets where motorists drove more or less silently and on even attempted to run me down.
Pus you can eat pretty much whatever you fancy on the street and it won’t make you sick. I did a two-month trip in Thailand in 2010 and ate street food all the time, and apart from a couple of hangovers – these days I stay away from Chang – I always felt fine.

Futuristic: The SkyTrain is a great way to zip around town and avoid the traffic

Futuristic: The SkyTrain is a great way to zip around town and avoid the traffic

That’s one of the great things about Thailand – you are never more than about 20 meters from a food cart. This was a short stopover, time to decompress after India, finally buy a Smartphone at MBK and have dinner with a friend who has become a diplomat and has been posted somewhere where I can get at him.
I discovered a great hotel – the Park Plaza Sukhumvit – which gives excellent value for money. It has what urban travelers need: comfortable rooms, a great breakfast and efficient Wifi, along with a pool. No shops with crystal roosters or dry-clean only swimsuits.
There is more about the stopover here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carolyn-odonnell/bangkok-thailand-hustle_b_2637554.html
More food: Coconut icecream at Chatuchak Market. I know what readers want

More food: Coconut icecream at Chatuchak Market. I know what readers want

Though I’d probably get lost if you plonked me down in the suburbs somewhere, I’ve been to Bangkok so often it feels comfortingly familiar. I used to stay near Soi 11 so I usually cruise up and down that party street to see what has changed. It was good to see the cambodian guy who sells BBQ for 10 baht a stick was still there. Villa Supermarket is still there too, where expats hunt for cheese and ryebread. I used to shop there until I realised it was easier and cheaper just to eat on the street than to try and prepare food myself.
In India I had constant comments and offers to buy my sunhat, which can be purchased at the huge weekend Chatuchak market. I have fond memories too of the sparkly sandals I bought there for 100 baht (a bit more than $3). No time for big shopping expeditions.
Cosy: The khlong travel experience

Cosy: The khlong travel experience

In my blog for Huffpost I talked about traveling by river taxi up the khlongs (canals). And I found a photo from last year. No one looks terribly happy, they are all scared of being sprayed with khlong water, which will probably give you TB, bubonic plague and AIDS. Only joking, it is very dirty water so it would probably only challenge your washing machine and give you bubonic plague. It is interesting to see the city from the khlong though, and I like taking Bangkok first-timers on it. I discovered it on my own, thinking there had to be a better way than driving of getting across to the odl part of town. First time I went, the Red Shirts were camped out at the other end, and it was so crowded I couldn’t tell what direction I was walking in and had to give up and return to Sukhumvit to sit in an air-conditioned room with a large gin and tonic.
Someone will probably accost me with a horror story now, but I always feel very safe in Bangkok. There are just too many cute Thai girls in hotpants wandering around for anyone to ever bother me.

Park Plaza Sukhumvit: Rooftop pool with Bladerunner view

Park Plaza Sukhumvit: Rooftop pool with Bladerunner view

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