I usually take few short trips throughout the year and really save my PTO for one major trip in November. This past year was my first time venturing to SE Asia. My main purpose for the trip was to visit Angkor Wat but since it is a bit out of the way, I decided to add in a few other destinations while there.
Flying out of LAX gave me the best options for flight times and airlines and so I decided to start my trip in Bangkok and end in Singapore. From there, I just filled in the blanks and made a list of places I’d like to visit and started to whittle down the destinations to meet my timeframe. Unlike Europe, SE Asia presented a logistical nightmare of sorts. Since there really is no rail infrastructure connecting major cities, my only real option is bus or plane. Since I didn’t have the time spend eighteen hours on a bus to get from one city to the next, I had to fly. It really wasn’t bad since those short hour long flights were very cheap and some instances, the taxes for the flight cost more than the actual ticket. However, there is something really nice about being able to show up at a train station and being in a completely new city in a matter of a couple hours without the hassle of security.
The flight from LA to Bangkok was easily the most comfortable flight I’ve ever been on. I flew business class in Singapore Airlines (with my miles) and chose Singapore Air specifically because of their seats and service. That truly did not disappoint. Getting around the city is a breeze as their transport system is easy to navigate and gets you to most points of interest pretty quickly. The only drawback to my timing was that the king had passed about a month earlier so the country was in mourning with certain sites closed to tourists.
Being a lover of street foods, I was in a semi paradise when it came to vendors and markets. A definite point of interest is the Chatuhchak weekend market that not only has a myriad of stalls selling all kinds of items but an extensive food area as well. If you’d like to see more street food photos and commentary, please check out: Sad News for Street Food Lovers.
Walking around town, you’ll see tons of little food stalls lining the streets at all hours of the day and night. Chinatown is definitely popular at night (if not a little shady to get to if you’re walking like I was) but from my perspective, the most interesting food I ate was definitely durian. I’d heard about this fruit before but had never eaten it. I can honestly say that once you get past the texture and the smell, the taste is actually quite good. But it’s easy to understand why the fruit is banned in many places including subways and hotels. It’s a very distinct odor.
A few travel tips:
Stay hydrated and keep a bottle of water with you. It gets pretty warm and humid and it may not always be easy to find a convenience store to get some water.
If you’d like to buy a handmade suit, this is a great place to do so. I got a couple suits and shirts and it was all handmade and tailored for around $300 total. You’ll have to go for at least 2 fittings but they’ll typically be able to do it for you in about 3 days. I can’t complain about the quality and the price is drastically cheaper.