bangkok: the redux

Since being on the road, we’ve been introduced to a term previously unknown to both of us: the “flashpacker“. Usually a little older with a decently paid job at home, this subset of independent travellers is often on a shorter trip and fills the category of accommodation at the upper end of “budget”. The flashpacker is, of course, in stark contrast to the old-skool “backpacker” who will seek out a city’s cheapest fleapit so they can instead spend their hard-earned pennies on beer/buckets and tubing*.

We find ourselves somewhere in between these two species. Most of our accommodation leaves a bit to be desired, but we rarely end up sleeping at the dodgiest joint in town. And while we’re generally happy with our budget digs, we are by no means beyond a bit of luxury every now and again.

Linds’ parentals, Richard and Mary, recently embarked on a SE Asian epic journey of their own and kindly invited us to join them in Bangkok before they jetted home. Needless to say, our second jaunt in Bangkok turned out a little different from our first. Deluxe buffet breakfasts; room service; World’s Comfiest Bed™, and a list of complimentary cocktails which we systematically worked our way through. Highest recommendations to the Grand Millenium Sukhumvit and massive shout-out to Richard and Mary for a few days of uncompromised bliss (and for being tireless camera-purchasing companions).

Our return to Bangkok also allowed us one final opportunity to seek out the much-fabled restaurant, Chote Chitr. Linds read a review of this restaurant ages ago on the New York Times website and armed with nothing but a completely useless set of directions (and umpteen internet reviews commenting on how difficult it is to find the place), we had attempted to track it down on our first visit to Bangkok. It would be an understatement to say that it didn’t end very well: both exhausted, hungry, sopping wet and on the verge of a homicidal rampage. However, in some sort of freakish omen a map was published in the Bangkok Post but a week after we left the city and as it turns out, the place is actually quite easy to find… if you have a map (funny, that). Even better, the food lived up to the hype so we dragged Richard and Mary back there a few days later.

And so ended our time in Thailand. She is a fickle mistress, both frustrating and lovable, and stark contrasts confront you at every turn – hardened tuk-tuk shysters crumple and coo at the sight of a chubby baby; amazingly liberal programs for prisoner rehabilitation exist in a country that has no qualms jailing those who contravene extreme lese-majeste laws. The New Internationalist’s country profile gives a pretty good round-up of the social-political issues.


*Tubing: a backpacker phenomenon apparently unique to Laos. Combines floating down a river in an inner tube with a lot of beer. Incredibly dangerous and have a little think about the river, kids: I’ve seen where SE Asian raw sewage ends up and it ain’t in a sewer.


Tags: , ,

3 Responses to “bangkok: the redux”

  1. bubba Says:

    Hate to say it: I’m a flashpacker.
    So is the wife.
    We both had our glory days.
    From grunge to glam.
    Love your blog BTW.
    I thought it would be crap at first.
    But now… you guys are all right.

  2. foodhoe Says:

    thanks for the useless plug!

  3. Marshie Says:

    Nom nom nom. Inspired by you guys we are going to get dumplings for breakfast this morning (from din tai fung – where you guys went when you were here – the dumplings with the soup on the INSIDE), and then are going to get some BBQ Chinese pork to mak Kway Teow tonight. Yummy!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: