As a Singaporean, Bangkok remains a place that charms in terms of cuisine, culture, lifestyle and price point. While prices for designer labels in upscale malls like (Terminal 21) are similar worldwide, the crowd-drawers are the night markets.
I am indeed fascinated my their modes of transportation. A tuk tuk ride costs more than a cab/grabcar ride. However, it’s worth noting that vehicular transport is inefficient as their jams are legendary. The subway is a better way to get to your destination on time. We had almost missed our flight due to a jam on the road, and thankfully managed to catch the check-in time by the skin of our teeth. Singaporeans may view Changi Airport as another mall in the east, but after stopping by foreign airports, I do appreciate the poshness and organisation of Changi. On the same point of transportation, while Singapore has only recently embarked on bikeshare as a complimentary mode of transport to walking, Bangkok already has an established bikeshare network. Also, people there get around via boats that stop at regular stops just like buses.
En route Ratchanda Night Market via boat, we passed by rows of attap houses and element-worn parapets coated with graffiti. It was an interesting insight into a different way of life, one that metropolitan city dwellers are unfamiliar with. Pollution tends to be evident with the skyline sometimes muted with a hint of grey. Trees are sparse as well.
Street food stalls packed with locals are a must-try – an authentic taste of local Thai fare like salt-grilled tilapia and Chang beer, which was rather palatable due to its subtle malt taste that does not overpower the senses, from a perspective of someone who does not fancy beer.
When I visit a foreign land, I always make it a point to source for ethnic garments that compliment my style. I managed to get a Thai print maroon wrap skirt, and I find the silk finishing so enchanting to look at. A very classy and artistic piece of fabric that offers my wardrobe some variation. I also got myself and my mum a jade-coloured cashmere shawl with gold threading. I thought the intricate patterns looked really regal and expensive, like something worn by royalty. I even had a chance to haggle prices with the ladyboys peddling these wholesale goods. Just a random thought; there are people out there who so badly want to be a woman. Perhaps I should embrace the beauty of being born as one, instead of secretly lamenting and gender favoritism that exists in today’s world?
All in all, it was an interesting eye opener. I don’t expect myself to visit Thailand in the next 5 years, but the hospitality of the people had genuinely warmed my heart. Good morals and consideration for the sphere beyond self are not entities that can be engineered by textbook education or instructions. I believe it comes from an observant, reflective and restful heart, which understands the beauty of enjoying the present and appreciating everything in life as a gift from above. This insight is the most valuable thing I have brought back home, an experience that surpasses manicures, massages, shopping or feasting.