I had never been to Thailand before so when my boyfriend and I jetted off to Bangkok in early July I had distorted expectations, or fantasies, of what the peninsula would be like. I fully expected white sandy beaches and turquoise lagoons glimmering under rays of scorching warmth, heat that melts away your stress and every day burdens. But I also expected tons of tourists, pollution and poverty.Β  As an American once said (don’t ask me who), “Boy was I wrong. And I’m glad.”

Having grown up in Jakarta, I expected Bangkok to be much like the big Durian (sweet little nickname people use for Indonesia’s capital city), congested streets filled with honking cars, traffic cops looking to make some extra cash, beggars streaming up to your window in such numbers you start to wonder if ATM is printed on the side of your car.

But no, Thailand greets its visitors to a capital city that not only boasts a modern, clean and spacious international airport, but an even more state of the art (dare I say high-tech? I mean the SkyTrain is pretty crazy), well-kept and groomed city with nightlife that is out of this fucking world and enough malls and markets for you to shop until you drop, and very happily at that.

And the food, needless to say, will have you checking prices for a round-trip ticket to Bangkok before you’ve reached home.

Trust me, if you haven’t eaten in Thailand you haven’t lived.

Thai food will blow you out of that crystal clear ocean, it will bring you above and beyond your wildest daydreams and will surprise your sense of smell, your sense of taste, your sense of being.

Raw – Variety – Imagination

Street food takes on a whole new meaning when fresh ingredients and passionate cooks collaborate in what may be some of the tastiest meals of your life.

Beef noodle soup (Gwaytio Nuea Nam) eaten at a street stall in Koh Phangan.

We came back three times for the delicious broth, noodle soup, meat, fresh vegetables and Thai basil, as well as plenty of Thai condiments (sugar, chilli, vinegar, fish sauce etc.).

All for 40 Baht (1.20 USD) – and served with complimentary ice water.

Thai glass noodle seafood salad.

Fresh, healthy, spicy and really, really good. Won’t cost you more than 100 Baht (3 USD).

Grilled lemongrass shrimp served with a fresh Thai salad and balsamic vinegar.

There are no words. Divine.

Eaten @ Beach Lounge Thong Sala in Koh Phangan. Best restaurant in Koh Phangan, 5 star food and 5 star service.

The Thai kitchen uses super fresh ingredients, and birds eye chilli will be in at least every other dish. Make sure you can take the heat, or ask for your food not spicy, or you’ll be sweating, not eating your meal.

Black pepper ribs served on the beach with plenty of Singha beer.

And what goes better with beer than crispy fried prawns?

Perhaps Hong Thong and crispy fried prawns?

Hong Thong is a Thai rice whiskey (but tastes like rum).

And at risk of sounding cliche, a trip to Thailand wouldn’t be complete without a plate of Pad-Thai would it?

Remember that 4 condiments must always be served with it: the spicy (chilli), the sweet (sugar), the sour (vinegar) and the salty (fish sauce). Dressed with peanuts.

Pad-Thai

The King of all noodle dishes.

The perfect meal in Bangkok.

So after that scrumptious meal, and a few beers (not to mention several Gin & Tonics – but only because they work against malaria), what does one feel like doing?

Why, getting a few more drinks, not so? Now there’s just one problem when you are out in Thailand, especially Bangkok. At around midnight many of the bars close, the restaurants pull down their shutters and 7-11 stops selling beer and alcohol until 4 am.

So why do they call it sin city?

Well one reason is this. And the rest are up to you and your imagination.

“Street bars”. aka. stalls that sell beer and booze on the streets of Bangkok at night.

I like it.

And if you get hungry, some late night Pad-Thai is the perfect munchies killer. Expect to pay 50 Baht (1.50 USD).

If you’re in the mood for something crunchy, scorpions and other insect delicacies can be bought from vendors on the street. These bad boys cost 280 Baht (9 USD) for one!

On a budget? Stick to crickets and other cheap insects.

After a hard night out, with plenty of Singha beer and late night snacks, nothing beats a slight hangover than a greasy fry up.

And all this can be yours for the low, low price of 100 Baht (3 USD)!

Sweet jasmine iced tea to quench the parchment in your mouth.

Breakfast made to your liking, for an agreeable price. Served with coffee and tangerine juice.

The perfect way to end a mini-food tour of Thailand!

FIN.

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