Sunday, November 18, 2012, sweat, smile

We arrived in Bangkok not quite knowing what to expect, but I can't say that our expectations were high. It's a big, polluted, foreign city, and I had read and heard that people pass through more out of necessity than a draw to the city. That said, it is known for fantastic food and some stunning temples. So we set out to explore.


Eating was what Martin and I most looked forward to in Bangkok. We both love Thai food, and no better place to start than Bangkok, known for scrumptious street food, fabulous mall food courts, as well as high end restaurants. As backpackers the latter was not on our agenda.

The first night we arrived late, hungry, and I had a banging headache. We knew that the hotel restaurant would be overpriced, but I was in no shape or mood to explore. The food was fine, but not extraordinary, and I have paid less for better in the US.

The next morning, after yet another late start, the hotels staff directed us to the food court of a nearby mall to get some local grub. We ended up at a different, smaller mall than she had suggested, but we were starving so we checked out the various stalls. There were no other tourists in sight and English menus were limited, which seemed all the better to us. We both enjoyed delicious meals, with Martin going back for seconds. And Simon happily ate off of our plates, apparently a big fan of pad Thai.

It's actually rather embarrassing to recount how much time we spent in malls in Bangkok. But we had read that it's a good place to enjoy the local food. In addition, Jiro, a former colleague of Martin's who lives in Bangkok, suggested we check out the mall food courts for good food. They were cheap, had great variety, and were packed with local Thais as well. (Althogh some were also eating KFC, which Martin of course approved of). Between food courts and local restaurants, we quickly discovered that our mediocre first meal at the hotel restaurant was around 10 times what we could eat for out in the city.

The most impressive food court that we encountered was on the top floor of the Terminal 21 mall. It is comprised of primarily China-town food vendors that were hand selected by the mall's owner. They are each given space rent free, in return they have to keep their prices the same as on the street of China-town. As a result, it's dirt cheap and authentic food. Meals were between 30-60 baht ($1-2). Not bad.

One of the best meals we had, however, was not on the streets or at a restaurant, but at Jiro's house, prepared by his mother-in-law. It was a traditional Chinese chicken dish (hainan chicken) served with rice and a spicy ginger sauce. Not surprising that the best food is always homemade.

(Also, not sure if I should admit this, but I have had 2 chocolate dipped cones from DQ since arriving. In my defense, we don't have DQ in Germany.)


It's hot here. But from what I understand, it's actually not nearly as hot as it gets, but for us pasty Nordic folks, it's hot. Especially when you are lugging around a 2 year old, a stroller, and a backpack full of diapers. But luckily the heat did not prevent us from exploring some of the great sights of the city (including air conditioned malls as previously mentioned).

For both of us, this is our first trip to SE Asia. I have traveled a bit in Central and South America, having seen my fair share of Inca and Aztec ruins. But they are nothing like the Buddhist temples here in Bangkok. Intricate, ornate, brightly colored and covered with gold, they are simply stunning. The Grand Palace was mobbed with people, but it's still worth the visit. I think I enjoyed nearby Wat Pho more, because it was much less crowded it simply made for a more enjoyable experience.

At the Grand Palace


Thai people are friendly! They smile at you and they are sooooo friendly to us (I think because we have Simon.) when maneuvering the stroller through crowded sidewalks, people move out of the way with a smile on their face. We definitely know we are not in Germany anymore!

It's quite fun to watch people react to Simon. I love that it's not just women and young girls, but men and young boys also really smile and wave and talk to him. And take pictures. Oh my, the pictures! And it's not just the Thai, but Chinese, Japanese, and Indian tourists as well. They come over and ask to take pictures with him. The most entertaining was definitely Friday when we ran into the Mr. International 2012 competitors. They think he is a future Mr. International!

Now we are off to Chiang Mai, and very happy about it. We have had fun in Bangkok, but we're ready to check out the countryside and maybe ride some elephants!


  1. fantastic photos & good stories! thanx for sharing...i enjoy reading what's up!

  2. Love the photo of Simon holding hands with the statues!

  3. I agree with Bryden, I love the pic of Simon holding up the statue. Can you put it on FB so I can share it?