I visited Bangkok last year, while the city was battling horrific flooding - but hang on, only Bangkok? The parts that weren't shown by the western media were:

a) all of nothern and particularly central Thailand were affected much worse than the capital - areas that have worse roads, few brick houses, less of everything, except ancient ruins. Of course, this didn't make the news, only the floodings in Bangkok did, because European and Japanese companies were fearing for their factories with cheap labour in the outskirts of town (what, do you think they were seriously worried about Thai people?).

b) The flooding didn't affect the city centre. While everybody was a little afraid and shops, hotels and restaurants (the fancy ones) had barricaded themselves behind sand bags (very fun - climbing sandbags to get into the 7-11), I didn't see any water where it didn't belong, except when I took the bus route north and we were already about 8 miles from the centre.

But that's not my point (though it had to be said - international news are crap).

Bangkok is a big metropolis, with everything a big metropolis has to offer, and suprisingly, it has much more in common with Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei or Seoul than with Ho Chi Minh City, Manila, Phnom Penh or other South East Asian  capitals. It has a clean and functional subway system, shopping malls and all that - also, traffic congestion, snooty teens, lots of scams and higher prices than elsewhere in the country.

Is that why people don't like it - they fly into BKK on their way to a supposedly backwards country, to paradise islands, and are hit smack bang by a modern city, much more modern than most Western cities?

Or is it the whole ping pong show sex tourism thing? Because to be honest, Patpong and touristy markets are just a teensy corner of this amazing, colourful, vibrant city. Even in the side streets around the central station, life still seems to have stopped circa 1950. There are thousands of markets, of tiny local shops, of neighbourhood commununities. It's not just another Singapore.

From my month spent in Thailand, I spent almost two weeks in Bangkok, and that was a choice - and there's still so much I haven't seen there!

Have you been to Bangkok, and did you love it or hate it?


  1. I love Bangkok. I always choose to spend time here whenever I'm in Thailand. Usually as much time as I would spend anywhere else in the country. I can't understand why more people don't love it.

  2. exactly! I think I might even spend an entire Thailand trip there... but then, too much time doing touristy stuff in any big city makes you a little crazy.


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