Like every large city, there is the good, bad, and ugly. And like most metropolises, Bangkok is congested with lots of traffic, pollution, and undesirable aspects. Such is the nature of megacities anywhere outside of oz.
But there is also a richness to this city that runs deep. The people are gracious, the culture is embracing, the food delectably complex & spicy, the shopping expansive (from the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market with over 8,000 stalls to malls like EmQuartier housing some of the worlds most exclusive brands), and the weather deliciously hot. Bangkok is centrally located with flights to almost anywhere in SE Asia and globally, it has a unique cosmopolitan feel, it’s raucous yet sophisticated, has a clean & organized public transportation system, plenty of parks, a lively and dynamic street-vibe appeal, it’s attractively affordable and relatively safe. It’s a city damn hard not to like.
For those reasons, if I have an excuse to pass through I grab it without hesitation. I usually find myself staying somewhere in the lower Sukhumvit area (between Nana and Asok) for several reasons: 1) to take advantage of the backdoor, greenway route to Lumpini Park for daily morning workouts, 2) it’s a walking area with no shortage of almost anything, including many one-of-a-kind uniquely cool coffee shops (many found from The LeeDay blog) offering seriously good hand-crafted brewed coffee and a variety of expressos (not for the frozen frappe crowd), and 3) the extensive variety of mouthwatering street food is crazy good.
But don’t take it from me. To love Bangkok means spending time there, sniffing around and getting lost, not in a hurry, not trying to see too much, or too little.
Backdoor route to Lumpini & Benjakiti Parks from Sukhumvit Road
At the end of Soi 10, past the guard and over a small wooden bridge, is a direct walkway to two parks. A right after the bridge lies a one kilometer cycling/walking green path direct to Lumpini. Or, straight after the bridge dumps you directly into Benjakiti Park, with it’s 1.8 km loop walking/running/bicycling loop around a serene lake.