I’m in Bangkok, Thailand – what am I up to?

This place is what I consider my second home. The warm weather, crazy traffic, and bustling environment deeply satisfies my soul. You know how people love the magic of New York for similar reasons? Yeah, this is it for me — but in Asia.

Self-development focused trip

Normally when I’m in Thailand I’d be gung-ho going out and exploring hard, it’s definitely a lot of fun and there’s always something new to experience. But this time I’ve made a decision to recede to living like a local and flow with whatever that may.

So far on this trip I’ve been spending a lot of time working on self-development. I’m at a point where I’m due for a big self-care moment. The last 2 years of life during the pandemic equated to murky soup — clouded with no real sense of identity. My soul feels neglected and I’m working on a changing that on this trip.

Choosing to stay in calm and spacious hotels over busy jam packed hostels has been an effective way to keep distractions at bay. Allowing time and personal space to think, reflect, and reshape my mental thoughts. All good things.

Living to my full potential and taking action

You can call it an epiphany.

I just woke up one day and realized that I’m off-track to what I want to do and who I want to be. The spice of life seamlessly escaped undetected until the absence of it was obvious. Pursuing things solely for the sake of money is soul sucking and it’s what got me here.

Time to rewind, step back, and really take a listen to myself. I can happily say I’ve soul-searched my pathway and have immediately started a course of action. I’m feeling in control again and it’s putting the hop back into my steps.

Burning the midnight oil reflecting, learning, creating an action plan.

Aside from all the internal experiences I’m having, externally these are the things that are happening right now for me in Bangkok:

‘Test & Go’ and Thailand Pass experience

On my first night I arrived at a newly built hotel called Gate43 Airport Hotel. I specifically chose this hotel out of sheer convenience, since my flight was scheduled to land around midnight and it was only 10 mins away by car from the airport. Their “test & go package” seemed to have good online reviews and now that I have stayed, I’m happy to report that they turned out to be accurate!

They were quick to message me through the Agoda app with clear instructions on how to apply for the Thailand Pass, what the procedure was when I arrive, and where they would pick me up from the airport. They reassured me that they operate 24/7 and that at any time I land in the country, they will always have someone take me to the hotel.

PCR testing was done at the hotel on arrival with a nurse on-site to administer it and had a staff set me up on the MorChana tracking app. It’s the app you need to be notified of your test results the morning after. It all ended up working seamlessly.

By 10am, the front desk called me to let me know that I had tested negative and was free to roam around if I wished.

UPDATE: Thailand’s Test & Go program was cancelled 4 days ago and tourists are allowed to freely enter into the country with very little documentation. Proof of vaccination and $10,000USD insurance coverage of Covid-19 insurance is what I’m aware of now.

Revisiting places I used to frequently go to

The best part about going somewhere previously travelled is knowing all the right places to go and being able to live it out like a local. It sets a path of relaxation, which is key when you’re only on a short vacation and want to return to daily life in tip-top shape. Here are a couple of my favourite places that I’ve gone to in the past few days here:

Pier 21 @ Terminal 21

When in Bangkok you must go eat at Terminal 21’s food court called ‘Pier 21’, get off at Asok BTS station and you’re there. Pier21 is situated at the very top level of the mega mall and is the place to go for a wide variety of quality Thai food for insanely affordable prices. My recommendation is to the try the Salted Egg Corn Som Tum, sort of like a corn version of the popular papaya salad everyone knows. There’s only one place that sells it and it usually has a sizeable queue of customers. Worth the wait for sure if you have an adventurous pallet.

BBQ Plaza Restaurant

This is a chained restaurant that serves up a la carte of assorted raw meats/veggies and you cook them up on a Thai styled grill called a ‘Mu kratha’. It’s a unique dome-shaped grill allows the juices of the meats to run down from the top portion to the grill and into the bottom ring collector, which you can then use as a soup base to boil veggies or noodles in. The common thing to boil is shredded cabbage. I’ve made it a tradition to visit here early on my visits to Thailand as a way to ease myself into the country’s flavourful culinary. Also admittedly because I love the dipping sauce, garlic (I put a heap of it in my dipping sauce), and I’m allowed to eat as much shredded cabbage I want since it’s bottomless. Sure does makes it feel healthy when I have a lot of it!

Putting my Thai learning into use

The best part about travelling is being able to learn something new and having the courage to try different things. Although my Thai handwriting looks as if it was written by a child (have to start somewhere!), I managed to write a thank you note to include with the gratuity for the hotel cleaning staff. They respond with a little drawn picture every time. It’s a lot of fun.

Also in my day-to-day interaction with locals, I try to squeeze in the limited amount of Thai vocabulary I know. It’s snowballing into useable sentences now and I’m able to pick out details in conversations to figure out the general message. The human mind is extraordinary.

Khob Khun Krap – Thank you!

Thanks for reading, come back again soon.

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