Monday, May 6, 2024

Bangkok, Thailand: Solo Adventures of a Lifetime

Returning to my cozy room at Pathumwan Princess Hotel after a day brimming with exploration in Ayutthaya, my craving for more of Bangkok led me to the doorstep of the travel agent's office (Chonburi to Pattaya). With eager anticipation, I decided for the world of entertainment with my first-ever Cabaret Show experience. Flashback to my youth, na├»ve and wide-eyed at 19, when I innocently tagged along with colleagues to witness a baffling Tiger Show during a trip to Hat Yai. Oh, the memories! But now, in my seasoned years, I was ready to embrace the sophistication of a Cabaret Show.

Before diving into the spectacle, I made a necessary pit stop at MBK Mall to satisfy my hunger. Laden with the quick bites, I returned to my room, relishing them before braving the infamous Bangkok traffic on our way to Calypso Cabaret Show. I traveled in a van alongside the other foreign tourists, as transportation was part of the package deal.

As the lights dimmed and the curtains rose, I found myself captivated by the dazzling display of colors, the captivating allure of seduction, and the graceful artistry of the performers adorned in stunning costumes. An hour flew by in a whirlwind of excitement, leaving me longing for more. It truly was a remarkable ladyboys show – worth every penny, every moment spent braving the traffic, and every effort made to be there. If you find yourself in Bangkok, experiencing this show is an absolute must.

Back at the hotel, I barely had time to reflect on the evening's enchantment before another adventure beckoned. Early the next morning, I embarked on a tour of Bangkok, starting with a thrilling long-tail boat ride from the pier. The journey felt like a trip into a miniature water world, the splendor of nature unfolding around me with every passing moment. The gentle sway of the boat and the rhythmic sounds of the water were a soothing balm to the senses, offering a serene escape from the bustling city.

Arriving at Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, amidst the hundreds of foreign tourists, all Westerners, even disembarking from the boat was quite a wait. With my stomach grumbling, I treated myself to fluffy coconut pancakes from the boat vendor and a comforting cup of coffee from the stalls in the seated area along the pavement, replenishing my energy for more exploration. Roaming through the market's abundant stalls, each offering a variety of Thai goods, I couldn't resist buying two packets of saffron strands, a cherished memento of my time amidst the lively floating marketplace.

After reveling in the vibrant energy of Bangkok's markets and the serene beauty of its waterways, I joined the others and boarded the coach to the Royal Thai Handicraft Center. Though I must admit, it wasn't exactly my thing. Despite the undeniable mastery evident in the wooden craftings on display - from intricate wall decos to majestic statues  - my interest waned. Yet, such diversions seem inevitable on guided tours, don't they?

Next on the itinerary was Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhon Pathom, nestled in one of Bangkok's oldest cities. Towering above the landscape, this pagoda stands as the largest in Thailand, a testament to the region's rich history. Ascending the marble staircase, I marveled at the golden Buddha. The pagoda's bell-shaped Lankan style, adorned with shining brown tiles, stood as a majestic sight. 

Within Phra Pathom Chedi's grounds, a treasure trove of Buddhist relics awaited discovery - from the monumental golden reclining Buddha to the serene white circular gallery housing countless representations of Lord Buddha. Amidst the chapels and museum, a bustling market offered an array of Buddha amulets and tantalizing Thai delicacies. Yet, the scorching heat began to take its toll, and my enthusiasm waned.

Thankfully, lunchtime beckoned, and I found respite at the Rose Garden Riverside. Welcomed by the vibrant hues of blooming roses, the restaurant nestled amidst lush greenery and serene ponds. With a menu boasting a fusion of Western and Thai delights, I indulged in the rich flavors of authentic Thai cuisine. From creamy coconut milk desserts to crispy crackling pork skin, each bite was a culinary delight that rejuvenated my spirits amidst the tranquil beauty of the Rose Garden.

After a satisfying lunch, I ventured across the road to a theater for a Thai cultural show. Before the performance began, I browsed through the exhibits in a mini museum and admired the assortment of herbs in a nearby garden. The show started off promisingly, but soon became dreary, nearly lulling me to sleep. Despite my urge to leave, I hesitated, fearing I might lose track of the coach. So, I endured until the end, only to be swiftly ushered to the waiting coach by our tour guide, before returning to the hotel.

Next morning, with half a day to spare, I indulged in some shopping at MBK Mall. The deals on Triumph undergarments were irresistible, and I stocked up on bras and panties to my heart's content. Returning to the hotel, I packed my belongings and hailed a cab to Amata Golf and Country Club. Though the driver initially seemed unsure of the destination, he eventually found his way with the help of fellow cabbies. Reuniting with my bestie at the golf club, we spent a delightful evening catching up. 

The next morning, it was time to bid farewell to Bangkok as I headed to the airport, feeling a sense of pride at having navigated three days in the bustling city on my own, amidst strangers.


For fellow female solo travelers in Bangkok, I offer a few tips gleaned from my experience: 

Steer clear of the nightlife, heed the advice of hotel and travel staff regarding street safety, and opt for accommodation in a reputable establishment to ensure your peace of mind. 

And let's not forget about the topic of being approached by men in Bangkok. With the abundance of vibrant Thai ladies around, the men certainly have no shortage of company. 

Your behaviour also plays a significant role in whether or not you attract unwanted attention from them. It's important to conduct yourself with respect and dignity, especially if you're in Bangkok for reasons similar to mine - touring and exploring the city. 

So, always remember to dress modestly and focus on uncovering the wonders of Bangkok, rather than inviting unwanted advances.

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