You might have heard of Thailand. It’s beautiful, diverse and awesome. Rich in history and culture, it should be on your itinerary if you’re heading to Southeast Asia. Everyone gloats about the island of Phi Phi and Phuket in the south and Chiang Mai and Pai in the north. But not everyone gets excited about how Bangkok. Many skip the capital and head elsewhere. But I would urge those reading this. Do not follow the crowd on this one. If you want to understand Thai culture and history, you must see Bangkok in all of its glory.
I spent 7 days in Bangkok. It was a crazy ride, but one I will never forget. I arrived just a few days before the Thai New Year festival, better known to Thai people as Songkran. Songkran is a water festival that celebrates the new year. Think of it like Christmas in Thailand because that’s how important it is to Thai people. Kids, teenagers, working professionals, dads, moms, grandpas and grandmas line up to have monks splash them with water to cleanse them of the past year’s sins. But people also take to the streets to soak each other in water. And as you can imagine, it gets a bit crazy. There are all out water fights that last for days. Similar things happen in other parts of Southeast Asia. Cambodia has Bon Om Touk and Myanmar has Thingyan. But I think most would agree that Thailand gets the wildest and wettest of them all. Every corner of the country partakes in full fledged water fights, especially the centres. You can’t walk any city block without being soaked to the bone. And no one is innocent. There are no bystanders, so prepare to get soaked! Even young kids and seniors take part. Imagine if everyone on your block had a super soaker and a bucket of icy cold water. Everyone then piles in to a truck and takes to the street, looking for victims. It’s quite interesting. And in Bangkok gets the most wild of all. On one street in particular: call Khao San Road. This legendary street gets wet n’ wild.
So why is Bangkok beautiful? Well, I wouldn’t say it’s because of its natural beauty. There aren’t any surrounding mountains or towering trees. There is a giant river running through the city, but it’s surrounded by a concrete jungle of high rises. Bangkok is beautiful because of its rich and diverse culture. From the bright lights and mouth-watering food in the countless street markets, Chinatown and the villages surrounding the outskirts of the city you won’t go hungry in Bangkok. It’s cheap and damn good. And it’s hard to go anywhere without getting a few big smiles. But what might stand out the most may well be what Bangkok is known for worldwide, and that’s fantastic set of temples and pagodas. The architecture is stunning. You’ll see some of the most exquisite and well kept temples around anywhere in Bangkok. The temples and pagodas are speckled in glass and mirrors and giant Buddhas. It’s level of public art we don’t see back in Canada. It’s a sight worth seeing.
So the next time you hear someone speak bad about Bangkok, tell them, maybe they need to go see it for themselves before they hate on it.