MY CITY: BANGKOK
Why Bangkok? A friend invited me to his hotel in Thailand and I had a stop over in Bangkok. There I met colleagues from the Dutch airline KLM; they invited me on a journey through the capital’s many hidden and forgotten places. The day after I realized this is my city.
Your first memory: One of the first was celebration of the Thai New Year, also called Songkran Water Festival. For a whole week they celebrate that the rainy season is coming. But I didn’t know that the Thai people through buckets of water over everyone and anyone. And certainly no one told me that they had ice cubes in the buckets.
My romantic memory: After a perfect day out a friend and I visited Sirocco on top of the State Tower building, just in time to watch the sunset, With a cool breeze at the world’s tallest roofless restaurant.
Best meal? In Sukhumvit Soi 11 is the restaurant Oscar. They serve fine Italian cuisine. I suggested reserving a table.
Where do you eat? I can not wait to eat the tasty food served on the streets of Bangkok; you find it on almost every corner. One main cost € 1.
What do you eat? Thai people eat hot meals four times a day. My favourite is Pad Thai Gai. It is fried noodles with vegetables and chicken. My best start of the day.
Out for a drink? Am Bar, the rooftop bar at Four Points Sheraton, Sukhumvit Soi 15. In addition the food here is exceptionally good. And great views in the very heart of Bangkok.
Favourite bar? Route 66 located in the RCA. RCA is a street with clubs just a few minutes from the tourist traps in the center. Many locals make this place great. Bangkok’s top DJ’s playing here, and the atmosphere is always on top.
Place for a secret meeting? One of the best streets, or soi as it is called in Thai language, is Sukhumvit soi 55, also named Thong Lor. Soi Thong Lor 10 on the street between Ekkamai and Thong Lor is the nicest corner in Bangkok and the place to enjoy a glass of wine. In one of the back streets you will find a world champion of drink mixing.
Best advice? Never insult a Thai! They have a well hidden temper.
Favourite Stores? The mall Terminal 21 at the Asoke BTS Station in the central part of the city. Here you will find locally designed clothes and not copies found on the cheapest places. Prices are low and quality high. The mix of well-known brands makes this the best shopping experience in Bangkok.
Your funniest buy? A Speedo and a”mayor-chain”.
Taxi or other transportation? The Skytrain BTS. Traffic in Bangkok is a nightmare, but skytrain is “flying” over the streets and makes it very easy to move around. Unfortunately only two lines plus airport train so far, but this is the future.
What should we avoid? TukTuk, the 3-wheel motorcycle will take you wherever you want. But the problem is that the prices are very high and they are just as stuck in the traffic as a taxi. In addition, you risk being driven to a tailor or a brothel. Test such a trip, but only once.
What would you eat for your last meal? The Thai salad Somtam. Always ask for the Thai style, so they don’t make it milder because of your western appearance.
Any big mistake? The worst mistakes are made by other tourists. The worst by those who don’t check air tickets and dates carefully enough. Most planes to Europe leave few minutes past midnight. Every night passengers arrives a day late for check-in. Another thing, budget airlines fly from the old airport, Don Muang.
Any new plans? I have a bonus ticket to Bangkok by SAS Business. Starting with a few days in Bangkok, before heading on to Vietnam or Cambodia. I always use Bangkok as a base for my travels in Asia. From here it is easy to continue wherever I want, and in Bangkok I find the best prices. To stay at some of the best hotel chains at a fraction of the price in Europe, makes my holiday even better.