While in Bangkok for a one-week training for work, I remember one of the new people I met asking me, “so how do you find Bangkok?” My answer to that question was equally memorable. I think Bangkok is a lot much like Metro Manila, in so many aspects. Spending a week in BKK did not feel like I was in a strange place. It felt very familiar, for a lot of reasons:
- Almost all of the locals look like Filipinos. If you would just pass them by and not need to talk to anyone, I could easily forget that I was not in the Philippines. Well, most southeast Asian people look very similar due to the fact that most have very similar ancestry. A number of times I was also thought to be a local.
- Infrastructure, at least in the city area, looks very much like it would have been in Metro Manila. The only stark and obvious difference are the many ornate Buddhist temples and altars that are around almost every-other corner. Being where I was, the hotel that I stayed at and the training center nearby, it felt like just being in another area of Metro Manila.
- The weather and temperature is almost the same, the tropical heat that I am very acclimatized to.
- Money value and the cost of money is not too far to my daily pesos. Grabbing lunch for THB60-THB150 feels just so worth it.
- Shopping. ‘Nuff said.
Well, aside from that, I still had to remember that it was my first time to visit Bangkok. However, most of my week was spent inside the training room, and I had very limited time to go around and see places. I had a few things in my list that definitely had to experience though:
- Thai food. Tom yum, Tom ga, and what not. I was trying to avoid eating at fast food, other cuisines (e.g. Japanese or Italian), or at the hotel (except for the default free brekkie, of course). I was able to taste some local food ranging from the “turo-turo” (or side-street) eateries, mall food courts, and good restaurants. Would have loved to get to eat more though.
- Thai massage. I am familiar with the style of Thai massage compared to other massage types, but I have only tried the “Manila” version of it. I just had to try the authentic Thai massage, the real thing. I was not disappointed.
- Shopping. I had such limited time to go around to shop. I was only able to go to MBK twice, and once to Platinum, Pratunam, and Palladium (but just as the stores were about to close for the day, huhu).
- Sightseeing. Of course, I needed to do even just a little bit of sight seeing. Fortunately, on the afternoon after the end of our training, I was able to go around some key places with our trainers and some co-trainees. We went to Grand Palace, rode a boat around the Klong (canal boat tour), and ended at the Wat Arun. There’s probably much more to see around BKK, and even in other places in Thailand, but that’s about all that I could fit in my schedule.
I must admit though that my BKK trip was really mostly about the training. I do wish I had more time to go around as a real tourist. Perhaps this warrants scheduling a trip to BKK next time on a personal adventure.
Some photos of the limited “touristy” activities below.