42. Visit ThailandRead Now
I had too much to drink. Everyone had too much to drink. I was wrapping my arms around anyone and everyone I could put my arms around and screaming nonsense at anyone and everyone whose face came close to mine. One point during the night, I was group-hugging one of my co-workers, who is Thai, and her fiancé. The couple was due to marry in Thailand in the coming months. I do not recall how the conversation came about. In short, my co-worker invited I and a few other of her co-workers to her then upcoming wedding in Bangkok, Thailand.
"If you are serious about the invite, then I am serious about attending." I yelled something along those lines.
Oh, she was serious.
The following Monday, she came by to check on us, to make sure that our acceptance to her invitation was not mere drunk talk. Of course it was not drunk talk. How often in a lifetime does a person gets invited to attend a wedding in Bangkok to relive the glory of The Hangover II?
Before long, she planned a trip itinerary for us. Soon after, we booked our plane tickets to Bangkok.
The Prelude to The Prelude
Every item on the bucket list has a story. I am trying to remember, as I am writing this, who had prompted me to include "Visit Thailand" on the to do list. An old friend of mine studied abroad in Thailand. I remember seeing her beautiful pictures on Facebook. Maybe it was her pictures that sold it to me that I must visit this breathtaking country and experience it for myself.
Khao San Road
We visited Khao San Road on our first and second to last night in Thailand. Khao San Road has that Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras feel, flooded with tourists and natives alike. The road is not particularly long, takes no more than ten minutes to walk through. However, do not underestimate the road's short length, the amount of life that goes on rivals that of Times Square.
The street is mostly comprised of bars, restaurants, and gift shops. In the midst of these establishments, you will also find many food and gift stands. Toward one end of the street, I remember seeing an outdoor foot massage station. If you are a male, particularly a fit, foreign male, be aware. You will likely be solicited by questionable salesmen harassing you to purchase suits. While enjoying a cup of beer at one of the many outdoor bars, you will likely be approached by young women selling wristbands with English phrases embroidered on them that you question if they know the meanings to. Let's not forget the men selling Tasers. Yes. Tasers. And last but not least, you will most definitely encounter men advertising for the notorious and controversial ping pong show.
If you are traveling with friends, beer towers are the way to go. There were seven of us. Each person gets about two to three cups of beer per tower for approximately $3 per person. In addition, make sure to pick up some cheap goods at the gift stands and shops while hopping from bar to bar. Be sure to haggle. Try the this-is-all-the-money-I-have trick. It worked for some of my co-workers.
As the night goes on, the street evolves. One of the co-workers I was traveling with described it as such: the street evolves once at eight, again at midnight, and one last time at three in the morning. I did not have the stamina to make to the three in the morning to witness the last evolution on neither nights. A co-worker who did, well, he was robbed.
Khao San Road, a street so sinful, if you stay late enough, you might just see the demons rise.
The Grand Palace + The Marble Temple + Wat Yai Chai Mongkol
Thai architectures is stunningly beautiful. There is really nothing like it. What I love the most about the architectures is the details. They are absolutely exquisite. I cannot possibly imagine the amount of time it takes to create those minor components, so fine compare to the building as a whole, yet in a way I cannot describe, those small elements elevate the overall majestic presence of a structure.
We zoomed through the Grand Palace. I wish I had more time to truly appreciate its magnificence. The Grand Palace is like the Thai equivalence of the Forbidden Kingdom of China, though significantly smaller. Note that the Grand Palace has very strict dress code requirements. You are prohibited to reveal your shoulder, and your bottom should not show more than your ankle.
While visiting the Grand Palace, be sure to also check out the City Pillar Shrine, which is located across the street.
I was looking through my phone for pictures to share. However, there were not a single shot that I took that truly justified the Grand Palace's striking beauty. I will refrain from posting any of my pictures for now. Please check back later. In the meantime, Google?
To make up for the lack of photographs of the Grand Palace, here are three shots of the Marble Temple, another popular tourist attraction. I will let the pictures do the talking for this one.
Next, we have the Wat Yak Chai Mongkol, an old temple that was burned to ruins in a fire. The photograph shown below is the only photograph of the temple that I captured that I like. The structure to the left of the Buddha statue is the main attraction.
When I visit a Thai restaurant in the States, Pad See Ew has always been my go-to dish. However, I was not impressed the authentic Pad See Ew that I had in Thailand. I actually preferred the Americanized version of the dish. I was not blown away with the Pad Thai either. Then again, I was never a fan of the Pad Thai to begin with. Anyways, here are some food that I had while I was in Thailand that I enjoyed and that I highly recommend.
Pork Satay + Fried Chicken
Every morning, our host's Dad makes a trip to the market to purchase breakfast for us. Our usual breakfast consisted of pork satay, fried chicken, and sticky rice (not pictured). What I love the most about the pork skewers and what makes those pork skewers different from the ones I have had in the States are the alternate layers of fat between the layers of lean meat. Pork fat is delicious!
The fried chicken does not taste any particularly different from other fried chicken. Nevertheless, it is fried chicken, and fried chicken always deserves a spot light on my blog.
Warm, sweetened, homemade soymilk sold in a plastic bag. Yum. This is not a product exclusive to Thailand. I have had soymilk in a bag when I was in China. It was so very tasty with just the right amount of sweetness that would not leave your mouth dry afterward.
Yes, you are looking at a coconut. And yes, it tastes like any other coconut - delicious. After you are done sipping on the juice, you can bring the coconut to the vender and ask the man or the lady to "scrape off" - I am probably not using the appropriate verb - its white meat from the coconut shell.
Homemade Coconut Ice Cream
We were walking through a floating market in Ayutthaya, Thailand, when we came by a lady and a boy, who I speculated is her son, selling homemade coconut ice cream on a boat by the walkway of the market. The son cracked open a fresh coconut and poured its juice into a bucket. I supposed that the collect coconut juice will be used as a base for their next batch of ice cream. Subsequently, the boy, again for the lack of better term, "scraped off" the white meat from the coconut shell with a spoon. The white coconut meat served as a bedding for the ice cream. Each serving came with four scoops of ice cream and is topped with peanuts.
And last but not least,
I know what you are thinking. Who goes to Thailand to eat pizza?
Well, we thought the same thing.
Returning home after the morning wedding, we were exhausted and hungry. The bride's sister suggested pizza for lunch. We laughed. "Unless there is pizza with exotic toppings, like seafood pizza," I joked.
The sister left the room to make the order. We were all surprised - well, I was definitely surprised - a half hour later when the pizza delivery man showed up with boxes of seafood pizza.
The picture on the left is the seafood pizza. Its topping included imitation crab, mussel, shrimp, squid, and green pepper. The seafood pizza was okay. It was not mind blowing.
The picture in the middle and on the left is an altered version of the Hawaiian pizza, where the ham was replaced with imitation crab and shrimp, and that was divine.
The altered Hawaiian pizza was the first box we opened. I snatched a slice before sprinting upstairs to grab my phone that was charging. I needed my phone to document this phenomenal lunch. The pizza was gone by the time I came back down stairs. However, it seemed like the pizza was not as big of a seller with the guests resting in the adjacent room, where I managed to snap a photo of their leftovers.
Next, I would like to visit Phuket, Thailand and the Phi Phi Islands.
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OLIVER FEIST is a start-up lifestyle blog managed by Bikang Zhang, a Civil Engineer based in New York, New York.