A doozy in a good way, of course. We went to Bangkok for four days, went on our first three-day motorbike road trip with our friends Nini and Jack, and my entire family came to Hanoi for a week-long visit. After my brother and his fiancée left, Joff and I went to Hoi An with my parents for a few days. I haven’t had a month this busy in a while; it was a nice change of pace, but of course, also had the introvert/recluse in me longing for an extended breather.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized one of my favorite parts about going on vacation are the few days after coming back home: decompressing from a whirlwind itinerary and settling back into life and routine. It’s really become something I’ve started to relish lately. Those first few delicious days being back from vacation, when everything’s still ripe with potential and possibility, like a second chance at a clean slate, or just being able to enjoy the minutiae again. Quiet mornings spent making eggs and reading, being able to go for a run in my favorite park again, going to bed embarrassingly early. Yup, I am basically an octogenarian in a 32-year-old’s body and I love it.
Being on the road and away from home for extended periods has always made me crave familiarity. It’s been this way since I was a kid. Even as a 16-year-old at Art Camp, in between reading books on Wicca and drawing pentagrams on the wooden floor of the room I shared with my best friend, I remember calling my mom to tell her I wanted to go home. I guess people don’t really change. That being said, I loved every minute of this month, especially the parts that took me out of my comfort zone (see: three-day motorbike trip).
I’ve fallen hard for this city. This was my second time in Bangkok and I can still say I’ve barely scratched the surface on everything this city’s got to offer.
We stayed on Sukhumvit Road, one of the city’s busiest roads, at a hotel that was a stone’s throw away from the Asok BTS station. It wasn’t the nicest hotel but it was reasonably priced and the location was perfect. It got a bit noisy at night but by the time were in bed we were too tired to give a shit.
All we had planned for this trip was eating and shopping and we did plenty of both. Here are some highlights:
Sit and Wonder
We loved this place so much we ate there twice. It was our first and last proper meal in the city. My favorites were the noodles with the sweet black bean sauce and the winged-bean salad with coconut milk. The best part was everything was cheap as fuck! Each meal cost us roughly 10 dollars, and each time we ordered about four dishes and left feeling stuffed to the gills. Don’t sleep on this place if you’re ever in town.
The best bingsu I’ve ever had was at After You, a cute little dessert place our friend Cayo took us to after dinner at Soul Food. They’ve got multiple branches across the city but the one we went to was in Thonglor. We ordered the strawberry bingsu and honey butter toast; they were both so good I swear my eyes rolled back every time I took a bite.
Kinda glad there isn’t a branch in Hanoi because I might eat here every day if there was.
Paragon Gourmet Market
The Siam Paragon is a high end shopping mall just off the Siam BTS station. It’s flanked by three other malls, MBK Center, Siam Square and Siam Central. As we were in Bangkok to do some shopping, we did end up spending a lot of time here. But aside from clothes shopping (mostly to prep for our first Hanoi winter), we knew we had to hit up the Gourmet Market at Paragon. The Gourmet Market is a grocery/food court that spoils you for choice; whether you’re looking for sausages, sushi, milk tea, or just something to snack on while you’re perusing their insane selection of fine foods, they’ve got it (and a bag of chips). When we were there last year, we took home a few bags of fried insects (that were flavored with different seasonings, too). So if you’re looking to test your mettle on the food of the future, you know where to get them. This time we took a hard pass on the bugs and, instead, hoarded packets of spices and curry marinades, bottled shrimp fat, and a huge disc of coco sugar.
BAKE CHEESE TARTS
Thank glob our friend recommended we grab a few cheese tarts from a place called Bake. THEY WERE GLORIOUS. I could’ve eaten six, but stopped at one. I deserve a damn medal.
THE FOURTH BEST PAD THAI IN TEH WORLD
Not wanting to leave Bangkok without getting our pad Thai on, on our last day, we grabbed lunch at this place that served the crispy kind. They had a sign outside saying that their pad Thai was the fourth best in the city, which was a bit strange. Who brags about being fourth best? Still, it was pretty darn good. So good we both had two servings… each.
Ugh, I miss you already, Bangkok!