I’ve spent a lot of time in Bangkok over the past few years. From my very first visit in 2013 to four weeks living there whilst training in a Muay Thai gym and numerous stopovers inbetween.

I started out not really liking it, finding it too much of a culture shock, but there are just so many great things about Bangkok that I inevitably ending up falling completely in love with the city, the people and the culture.

CHINATOWN

Talking about culture shock…I don’t think there is anywhere that is more true than in Chinatown.

Me and Chinatown have a troubled history. On my initial visit in 2013 I found myself wandering down a tiny Chinatown alleyway mere hours after stepping off the plane, severely jet lagged and a bit nauseous.

I’d been walking a full 10 minutes down that alley before the street food vendors gave way to meat stalls selling various animal parts floating in water – stomach, intestines, brains. I could go on. And then the smell hit. That raw meat smell you get in all Asian food markets that is now so familiar to me but was once so foreign.

I don’t have a strong stomach at the best of times but this time my jet lagged body really couldn’t cope and I immediately started retching. Holding my mouth I looked around frantically for a way out only to find that the only option was to run all the way back the way I had come, trying desperately not to throw up the whole time, and trying even harder not to look so distressed as to offend anybody.

The next time I ventured to Chinatown was two years later for Chinese New Year, dealing with pickpockets and busy crowds; an experience that I aptly named “Chinese New Year in Bangkok…A Disaster Story”.

But despite my bad experiences, it is undeniably one of the most culture-rich, vibrant and energetic parts of the city and you can’t help but be swept up in its infectious atmosphere.

Chinatown, Bangkok

A Chinatown street

Traffic on Yaowarat Road, Chinatown

Traffic on Yaowarat Road

Wires in Bangkok's Chinatown

Decorated building in Chinatown, Bangkok

Chinatown buildings decorated for Chinese New Year

Dragons in Chinatown

Chinese New Year souvenirs

Temple in Chinatown, Bangkok

This little temple  was tucked away at the end of a tiny alleyway

Bangkok's Chinatown at night

Chinatown at night

THE GRAND PALACE

The Grand Palace, Bangkok

Colourful roof of the Grand Palace

Golden pagoda at the Grand Palace in Bangkok

Golden Buddha in the Grand Palace, Bangkok

Gargoyle at the Grand Palace, Bangkok

Incense at the Grand Palace, Bangkok

Lotus flower at the Grand Palace in Bangkok

WAT PHO

Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho

The giant reclining Buddha at Wat Pho

Monks at Wat Pho, Bangkok

Traditional spirit house in Thailand

A traditional spirit house in Bangkok. These are found outside nearly every building in Thailand. Offerings are left to keep the old spirits happy so that they don’t cause problems for the new owners.

LUMPINI PARK

Lumpinee Park, Bangkok

Lumpinee Park – one of my favourite spots in Bangkok

MARKETS

Local market in Salaya, Bangkok

The local market in Salaya, near Bangkok

Tamarind on sale at a local market in Bangkok

Tamarind on sale at Salaya market

Dragonfruit for sale in Bangkok

Chatuchak-Market-Lights

A lamp stall at Chatuchak Market, one of the largest weekend markets in the World

Statues in Chatuchak Market

Human-like Buddha statues in Chatuchak Market

Chatuchak-Market-Necklace

Hundreds of necklaces

Paella in Chatuchak Market

A taste of Spain in the centre of Chatuchak Market, Bangkok

SIAM

Bangkok-Siam

Siam area, Bangkok

Siam Centre, Bangkok

Skytrain station in Siam, Bangkok

Siam, Bangkok, at night

Siam at night

Bangkok Siam at night

Construction in Bangkok

FOOD

Aaaah the food! Surely a highlight for any visitor to Thailand. It’s a country famous for its delicious cuisine, and for good reason (although admittedly there is the occasional delicacy I am not quite so keen on).

The good…

Pad thai and Chang

I can’t think of many meals better than pad thai from a street vendor washed down with Chang beer

Tom Kha Gai in Thailand

Delicious Tom Kha Gai, Thai Coconut Soup

Thailand dried shrimps and peanuts wrapped in a leaf

Make-your-own snack – dried shrimp and peanuts wrapped in a leaf

Freshly cooked fish from a street vendor in Thailand

Freshly cooked fish from a street vendor

Juice vendor in Bangkok

Vendors selling pomegranate and mandarin juice – so sugary but sooo refreshing

The bad…

Durian fruit in Thailand

Durian fruit from a local food market – would probably be much more enjoyable if you could get past the smell of rotting flesh

Chicken for sale in a Thai food market

Chicken for sale in a Bangkok food market

Frogs on sale in a Thai food market

Frogs for dinner anyone?

And the ugly…

Fried insects for sale, Bangkok

Fried bugs for sale in one of the local markets

Fried crickets in Thailand

Fried crickets – yes, I did eat one and no, I won’t be doing it again

 

NIGHTLIFE

Khao San Road in Bangkok

Khao San Road in the daytime, before the debauchery begins…

Khao San Road at night

…and once the debauchery is well and truly underway

Nest rooftop bar Bangkok

The rooftop bar at Nest in Sukhumvit

TUK TUKS

Tuk tuk in Bangkok

Tuk tuk in Bangkok

MUAY THAI

Young Muay Thai Fighter

A young fighter preparing for his fight

Muay Thai fighter stretching inbetween bouts

Stretching inbetween bouts

Gamblers at muay thai

Prime position for placing bets