Hello Uberding interwebusersofthesocialportalworld (English version of a German compound word)!
When Mia & Thies asked me to introduce myself to the uberding readers, I felt absolutely out of my element. I’m not fond of writing about myself and saying “Hey world, look at me!” Nevertheless, the reader must, under any and every circumstance, get what the reader wants and I’m happy to oblige. The following is a list of all the vital information that you need to know about me: I’m 5ft 9″ and I have several profiles on Tinder and go out on dates often, my instagram is filled with pictures of me wearing bikinis while eating ice cream and working out, my heroes are Pamela Anderson, Jocelyn Wildenstein and Malibu Barbie (they’re all just so pretty)… Are you still with me? Just kidding! I make music. I perform. I write. I’m obsessed with good food and service. I cook well and the only things I love more than a damn good meal are my husband, my family, and my friends. Nice to meet you. Say hi in the comments section. Now let’s get to the real reason why you’re all here, THE STORIES!
Travel highlights in Bangkok
Thailand has always been on my list of places to go. I was there several years ago while on tour so when I got the opportunity to travel there for uberding and spend a week, I jumped at the chance. You don’t have to ask me twice to travel for good food and Thai cuisine happens to be one of my favorites. I arrived at the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport at 6:30 a.m. My tour guide in Bangkok, a sturdy and compact Thai gentleman by the name of Tee, was already waiting for me. He was full of stories, useful information, and was very open and welcoming; this openness and welcoming spirit is something I now consider to be synonymous with Thai culture. We chatted for a bit while stuck in traffic and went over the plan for my two days in Bangkok. The first thing on the list was checking in at my hotel, the Sofitel So Bangkok.
Sofitel So Bangkok
What can I say about the Sofitel So Bangkok? It’s fabulous! It’s everything you’d expect from a five star hotel minus the uptight atmosphere, which is sometimes inextricably intertwined with luxury hotels. It’s located right in the heart of Bangkok so you have easy access to restaurants, clubs, street food, public transportation (hello Sky train), shopping, and more. Having lived in Germany for the past several years, I tend to rate every major city based on how efficient and clean the means of public transportation are. Back to the Sofitel So Bangkok – the architecture is modern but warm with a mixture of materials; a design aspect which is also evident in the interior design. Everything about the hotel is a combination of Thai culture, modernity, and French sophistication. It’s a result of a collaboration between the acclaimed Thai architect, Smith Obayawat, five celebrated Thai designers, and Christian Lacroix. The 238 rooms at the Sofitel So Bangkok are designed based on the following themes: Water, Earth,Wood, Metal, and Fire.
I stayed in one of the Water themed rooms on the 15th floor. The selling point of my room was definitely the unobstructed view of Lumpini park. The public areas of the hotel, for example, the 9th floor reception area, the restaurants, pool, bar, and smoking lounge, all take advantage of the views. The highlight of my time at the Sofitel was the friendly staff and especially my server, Tanya, at the Red Oven restaurant. His personality is magnetic and the service was excellent. He even walked me to the elevator after my meal. Thanks Tanya. If you do decide to have the dinner buffet at the Red Oven, opt for the sushi, cold dishes, and dessert (try the sticky rice with mango – a traditional Thai desert). The hot dishes, as is the case with many buffets, weren’t that spectacular.
Lumpini park is Bangkok’s equivalent to Central park and it is every bit as functional. Every morning and evening large groups of people attend free aerobics classes in the park. The usual activities, like relaxing and reading, also take place in the park.
Temples and Tradition
The temples in Thailand are beautiful. You don’t have to be Buddhist or religious to appreciate the sanctity of these spaces and the level of creativity and ingenuity needed to create such functional works of art. Tee, my tour guide, and I visited several temples. The most impressive temple I visited was Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha). It’s located in the Phra Nahkong district of Bangkok and houses a 46m long, golden-reclining Buddha. Tee, who is Buddhist, had to remind several tourists of proper etiquette while visiting the temple. Among other things to note, Wat Pho is at the top of the list of six temples in Thailand classed as the highest grade of the first class Royal temples.
If you don’t want to be reprimanded by Tee and you want to respect the Thai culture, please observe the following while visiting temples: remove your shoes before entering, dress modestly – no exposed arms, chest, stomach, legs, etc., and do not touch the walls because you can ruin the hand crafted wallpaper with the oils or dirt form your hands and fingertips.
Chao Phraya river
The river cruise along the Chao Phraya river is a must do and was a much needed break from all the running up and down in the heat. You get to see a different side of Thailand from Luxury homes to river shacks. The highlight was feeding the catfish. There are little stalls along the riverside selling bread to feed the fish. It’s really a spectacle. Once you throw a piece of bread into the water, schools of catfish surface and devour it immediately. To organize a cruise on the river, simply visit the pier at Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang – Grand Palace. The pier is located near the Wat Pho temple so you could just walk over once you’ve finished visiting the temple.
The Divana spa is an organic spa offering a variety of services including face cell therapy, IV detox, massage, and much more. I had the Spa Sensational treatment (foot scrub and aroma therapy body massage) which lasted 130 minutes and costs 2,650 THB (€66). I’m not usually one for spa treatments. I have a hard time relaxing on a table while a complete stranger massages away my aches and pains and I can never seem to rest my head in a comfortable position (Note to self: Relax!). Nevertheless, I had an amazing experience at the Divana spa. The staff is professional, friendly, exude the welcoming spirit of the Thai people, and I was immediately put at ease. Pleasant people always cause me to relax immediately. After the massage, I was refreshed and I finally found a comfortable position in which to rest my head during the session. I even fell asleep at some point. That was a first for me.
The weather is humid and the temperature is 38 °C. My hair is now a mess of curls and frizz underneath my helmet as we go on a bicycle ride through Bangkok’s Chinatown. Our SpiceRoads cycle tours guide, Boro, leads us through narrow alleyways past temples, food stalls, rivers, and residential areas. We squeeze by trucks, cars, motorcycles, and Tuk Tuk’s while riding on the road. We stopped here and there to sample some durian (regarded by the Thai’s as the “King of fruits”), or a freshly squeezed pomegranate juice from a street vendor.
We visited several temples but the markets were the highlights of Chinatown. You can pretty much buy anything in the markets. There are live fish flopping about on trays desperately gasping for oxygen in an environment devoid of water. One fish took a dive from a tray straight onto the sidewalk. The fish vendor asked me if I wanted to pick it up and put it back on the tray and of course I said yes. She was delighted by the fact that I did it with such ease but I’m an island gal so fish don’t scare me, that is, unless a particularly large one swims up right next to me and in that case, I’d give Usain Bolt a run for his money as the fastest Jamaican on the planet.
Tips for Thailand:
- Write down the name, address, and phone number of your hotel on your arrival cards. It makes things so much faster and easier. There were several people who had a difficult time clearing customs quickly because they didn’t have this information handy.
- Don’t litter. Even throwing a cigarette on the ground could get you in trouble. There’s absolutely no littering allowed.
- Stop whatever you’re doing and stand still when the “Peng Chat” (The Thai National Anthem) is being played. It is played twice per day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Thai people have a great deal of respect for the national anthem and visitors are expected to honor that tradition as well.
- Whenever you take a taxi make sure they turn the meter on. No one likes to pay tourist prices.
- If you’re adventurous, try a motorcycle taxi. It’s cheaper, quicker to get around in, and I damn near peed my pants bobbing and weaving between cars while holding on to my driver. I did it twice without a helmet. I must have been possessed by a different person that day because I’m not the risky type. Apparently several hours spent outdoors in a hot & humid climate renders me incapable of making logical decisions and I become Ms. “Hey, why not? Sure, I’ll try it.”
Drinks and Dining
- Park Society (the rooftop bar at the Sofitel So Bangkok) – Stunning views of the city and excellent service. (expensive)
- Northeast (local restaurant right across from Lumpini park) – the food and service are top notch. (not expensive)
- Khao San Road (backpacker district) – lots of cheap and good local restaurants (also good for shopping, accomodations and traditional Thai tattoos)
- River Vibe restaurant & bar – located in Chinatown, Sampanthawong, Bangkok.
Hi again uberding readers aka my new besties ;-) I hope you’re all eating ice cream while wearing bikinis (male or female). Thanks again Tanya, I’ll never forget you.
Thanks for the invitation, the great time and the huge load of impressions! If you still didn’t get enough info for your next trip to Bangkok, you will find everything else here.