I fell in love with Bangkok the moment I stepped into the city. As soon as I landed at the Bangkok International Suvarnabhumi Airport, I knew I was going to have a good time – there was something positive and energetic about the place that I hadn’t witnessed in a long time.
The drive from the airport till my hotel was blissful – the well manicured trees and sidewalks, the smooth roads and even the traffic! I was enjoying the drive while watching some of my favourite sports cars zoom past and the taxis in bright yellow and pink made them look like cotton candies.
I was staying at the Grand Centre Point, Ratchadamri in the heart of Bangkok and I loved the area mostly because everything was at a walking distance especially the Sky Train and malls. I would set out in the mornings with my haversack and window shop, eat and shop some more!
More than Breakfast
The breakfast was the best at the Grand Centre – they seriously know how to pamper their guests – I mean, through their stomachs. The breakfast is usually lavish and fit for a king – with ham, bacon, eggs to order, waffles and pancakes, fried rice and chicken, sea food, fruits, patisseries, tea, coffee, milk – you hungry yet? After a sumptuous breakfast like that, a walk into the city is divine. Well fed that I was during my trip to Bangkok, I would spend time walking through the streets and enjoying the morning sun.
Since the Grand Centre Point at Ratchadamri is a service hotel, they had an excellent well-equipped kitchen with pots, pans, spoons, plates and serving bowls. I couldn’t resist and decided to cook for myself.
If I hadn’t thought of cooking something, my trip would have been such a waste, especially when the food and veggies available is so brilliant and fresh in Bangkok. So I bought sausages, mushrooms, garlic, olive oil, onions, seasonings, bread, milk and fruits and would cook up a hearty breakfast every morning.
Room with a view
My room was on the 41st floor and it was a surreal feeling watching the world below over a cup of Ceylon Tea. I wonder if God feels the same way watching the world go by. The sky trains looked like toy trains, the sky scrapers looked gorgeous, each one having its own character and personality.
I really liked how huge advertisement banners covered these giant sky scrapers that could be viewed even from a distance. When it rained, I couldn’t hear the raindrops, but watched hundreds of water droplets hurry down the huge glass windows and it was a breathtaking experience watching it from my room. At night, once you switch off the lights, a view of the dazzling city skyline was breathtaking. They twinkled bright like hundreds of stars far away yet strangely so close to you.
My walks through the Ratchadamri area gave me some idea about the city. It was neat, clean and bustling with life. More importantly, I liked how everyone in the city was well dressed, hair neatly combed and whatever they wore looked so trendy and classy on them. It was picture perfect. I loved what the girls and boys wore – especially how their shoes and accessories matched their clothes perfectly.
During my drive through the city, my guide Michael, retired from the army, a math teacher by profession and a tourist guide by hobby was a very pleasant and an interesting man. His eyes would light up every time I asked him about the city. Here are a few things I learnt from him.
Garuda – The Symbol of Wealth
The people of Thailand believe that the Garuda (the vehicle of Lord Vishnu in the Hindu mythology) is the symbol of wealth and if you’re looking out for a bank in Thailand, look for a Garuda hoisted on the building and you’ll know you’re looking at one. And but obvious, you will find a Garuda on one of the most well known local banks in Bangkok – the ‘Bank of Ayutthaya’.
Most schools in Thailand have Pali, an ancient Buddhist dialect and Sanskrit in their curriculum. I really liked the balance of the old and the new, how they weave their ancient cultures into the modern world so beautifully.
While driving through the city, I spotted a roundabout with statues of white elephants. Michael explained that a white elephant is considered lucky in Thailand and if anyone finds one has to offer it to the king. And hence, in order to symbolize good luck and fortune, there is the statue of these gorgeous white elephants holding a lotus and the emblem with their trunks.
Indra – The God
Their main deity is the four faced Lord Indra and luckily there was a beautiful shrine very close to my hotel. Every time I passed it, I would watch how the locals buy flowers, fruits and incense sticks outside the shrine (just like we have in India) as offerings to their Lord.
The Lion and Lioness
Michael was also kind enough to share another interesting trivia about the lion and lioness stone statues (that we usually find outside most up market Chinese restaurants in India).
You’ll usually find a lioness with a cub which symbolizes motherhood. While the lion holding a ball symbolizes that the man of the house has control over his world – the ball is the world!
Bangkok is magical and it gradually opens up to you if you make it a point to listen and know more about it.