I try to never hate anything, hate is a strong word. When it comes to travel, I especially make every effort to step outside of my comfort zone and open up to different worlds, experiences…but despite my best efforts I could not make myself fall in love with Bangkok.
It’s kind of like the single guy who looks great on paper but when you meet him he’s a dud and there’s no chemistry. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but Bangkok was my dud. Great food, beautiful temples, ping pong sex shows, what more could I ask for?! I just couldn’t get past the smog and pollution (Thais even use surgical masks when they walk down the roads or ride on motorbikes), the dirty squalor, the humid heat with no wind, and the coldness of the people who were only superficially nice. I’m from FL, so I know a little bit about humidity and heat, but Bangkok was simply oppressive. Thailand is supposed to be the land of smiling faces, but that was not my experience in Bangkok.
Chiang Mai, the second largest city in Thailand, is in the northern part of the country and is completely different. I liken it to the difference between New York (Bangkok) and Chicago (Chiang Mai). The people are genuinely friendly, the weather pleasantly cool, the air clear enough to breathe, surrounding nature is stunning, and the food even better.
The next time I go to Thailand, I’ll skip Bangkok and spend lots of time trekking around Chiang Mai (plus head to a less populated island in the south). If you’ve never been, you should definitely go to Bangkok. I just wouldn’t go for more than 3 days.
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