We arrived in Bangkok sleepy from a long 12-hour drive from Koh Pangan . We had marked the place where we were going to sleep through booking and since it was in a recommended area but we had no idea where it was. We got off the bus, looked at the GPS and we were a short walk from the hotel, as soon as we turned the corner we felt like we had entered a movie. We were on Koh San Road, I dare say the busiest street in the world. There was loud music in all the bars, street food vendors everywhere, people dancing, tourists, backpackers, locals,... on the way to the hotel we saw everything, everything. if we weren't in the land of lady-boys, Bangkok.
The hotel, a modest hostel, where we had a room with a private bathroom, would be our refuge from the city for the next few days. And our room was so ugly that it felt like we wanted to push it to that city.
I've always liked visiting cities that don't have any obligations... "wow, if you're going to Rome you can't miss the coliseum, and Paris: run to the Eiffel tower now, they are beautiful places but getting lost in a city is the best of all ... And that's how we got to know Bangkok, without obligation or rush. The city scares me, it seems that we can be swallowed by it and that no one will ever find us if we get lost. Remember the movie "The Hangover 2" they really say that about Stue's brother-in-law... have they lost him? Now it's the city that has it, they may not see it again...
During the day we visited the city: the reclining Buddha, the crematorium, the impressive temples, clean, full of meanings, we went to the shopping centers, markets outside and inside the city and at night we always returned to that street where everything can happen. We chose to travel by Tuk-Tuk, we learned the art of negotiating, we didn't pay more than €2.5 to go anywhere. And there we went on a trip that allowed us to see more of the city but that became uncomfortable due to the barrage of different, often bad, smells and the pollution that consumed our lungs.
There hasn't been a day that we could see the sun shining brightly, the cloud of pollution is so dense.
The city has charisma, personality, if I had to give it a character it would be a teenage monk; because he has wisdom, he has the advice of his ancestors but he has a young spirit, of freedom, of “I do what I want” and of discovery.
We had two different days: one where we went to see Star Wars in 4d, it was a fantastic experience, and the movie theaters were a real luxury and another where we went out of town and went to see two markets.
The train market, where people line up with their tents along the line and whenever the train passes, several times a day, they take everything out and put it back after the train... it feels like magic. The market, despite being full of tourists, is still a real place and I even got a little punch in the leg from an old lady who wanted to do her shopping and just wanted me to get out of her way. Damn tourists!
Then we went to the floating market, this one really seemed only for tourists, but the area is impressive because it is a village on the water and there we can see how people live outside the city.
And in the midst of all this there was still time to eat, and to eat very well. If there's any research I do before going to a place, it's the places to eat. And not even 10 days ago, Mrs Jay Fai had won a Michelin star. The first street restaurant in Bangkok to have this distinction, joining another in Singapore and Japan. And we did, of course we did.
But the driver of our Tuk-Tuk left us about 50 meters ahead and when we saw a huge queue we thought it would be that one and in good Portuguese we went to the queue. Remember this stinky cat sketch? It was more or less this. We saw that the specialty was Pad-Thai and we ordered it, but I found it strange because I had read that other dishes were made. It was when we were already eating that I saw that the name had nothing to do with the other place. But it was delicious.
We walked a little further and there was the lady, cooking with her goggles. In a restaurant without quirks, without signs, without pretensions, and without long lines. This is because people have to name and wait for their turn. The next day we got there at 4pm and there was already a 2 hour waiting list. The lady is the one who prepares all the dishes, with only one helper and that's why it can take a while.
It was a dream come true, to go to a Michelin star restaurant. We ate a lot: 4 courses but we wanted to try all the specialties and we were not disappointed. These Michelin people really know what they're doing. The place is clean but the lady cooks right on the street, with her goggles on because of the fried food. We paid €50 for both, drank two half-liter beers each and ordered two of the specialties plus another two that we thought were too good. We know that this is only possible in places like Bangkok, where street food is really an institution.
We ended up skipping some food places that I had seen because either they were too far away or they didn't make sense like this one of the biggest ice cream ever with 20 scoops of ice cream. We still went through the door but for two people it was ridiculous. Will stay for next time.