For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return…
Leonardo da Vinci
Our vacations most often are pre planned with a lot of thought into the destination,food,sight-seeing etc.However, I love it when a travel plan happens just out of the blue,spontaneously,sort of an impromptu one so to speak.Well the dear husband had work related travels to Singapore and suggested that my son and I come along and we could club it with a short trip to Bangkok too he said.
It’s always fun travelling to the Far East,for one the travel time is fairly short, and of course the food,night life and shopping,admittedly make it an alluring proposition,albeit revisited.We have travelled to both cities a couple of times, Bangkok several years ago.The city has changed and modernised is what I heard from friends who travelled there recently.So yes of course, I jumped at the idea of a quick family vacay. Our time in Singapore was short and I spent it mostly catching up with some friends. Of course the highlight was being able to watch the Broadway production of Les Miserables,which was a spectacular performance and a houseful one that too.
Our flight to Bangkok was a short one.My husbands colleagues recommended staying around the Ploenchit – Sukhumvit area as it is quite accessible to shopping malls and easy to get around to various sight-seeing spots around the city. So we booked ourselves into the Novotel hotel.The location turned out to be just perfect as it had a Metro right outside and a short walk to most of the malls and areas of interest.
Things To Do In Bangkok:
1.Boat ride on the Chao Phraya.
I very much recommend this boat ride as it has multiple stops that include the Floating market,Grand Mosque,Vat Pho and Vat Arun.It’s a fairly in expensive ride and offers some great views of the city.
Our first stop is Wat Pho which is a large Buddhist temple complex that houses the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.This 46 meter statue of Buddha is quite spectacular indeed,the body is gold-plated and is decorated with mother-of-pearl inlay on his eyes and the soles of his feet. The large grounds of Wat Pho contain more than 1000 Buddha images. The grounds are split in two by Chetuphon road. The northern section is generally the only one most people go to, and it includes a large bot (temple hall), enclosed by 394 bronze Buddha images. There are also a massive 91 other temples along with chapels, gardens, and various types of statues too. The library is nearby too, decorated impressively with figures and pagodas made of porcelain.
A short boat ride takes us across the river to Wat Arun also know as the Temple of Dawn best know for its huge Prang or tower.We admired this architectural wonder as it’s certainly quite a beautifully made temple with fine craftsmanship and intricate work on each of the spires.We were unable to climb the spire as the temple seemed under restoration, all though it is possible to climb right to the top which offers great views of the river Chao Phraya.We decided to walk around the complex and admire the other buildings in this pavilion.
4.Must Eat In Bangkok:
- Tropical and delicious Fruit:
While walking down the numerous streets in Bangkok,one can’t help notice the huge array of exotic fruits being sold by street vendors.They seem to don almost every corner of this city.A great way of beating the heat and staying hydrated,we shuffle between various carts and sample quite a few varieties of Mango,Durian,Pineapple,Papaya and delicious tender coconut.Most of the vendors have the fruit chopped and neatly displayed on their carts and seemed fairly hygienic too.
- A Hidden Gem:
On our way to Wat Arun we stopped by a small hole in the wall kind of place with very unpretentious interiors.It seemed to sit no more than 7-8 tables,but seemed brimming with tourists and doing brisk business.Quite hungry we decided to wait in line to be seated and were ever so happy that we did.This small family run place seemed to serve up some great Thai delicacies that kindled our taste buds with fiery spice and intoxicating aromas.We decided to share a Pad Thai (spicy rice noodles with bean sprouts and peanuts), a Chicken green Curry with rice and some vegetable spring rolls with a honey dipping sauce and a chilled tender coconut to cool us off.
Rising some notches above street food and casual eateries,we discover Nara at the Erawan complex,noted for a fine and sublime Thai experience.This place is busy as we arrive around 8pm on a friday night.The menu is fairly extensive.I let the husband guide us with the selection as he had dined here on a business dinner.He suggested the Satay, Chicken in Pandan leaves as appetizers and some Green Curry with rice which seemed perfect.All though I was hungrily eyeing some soft-shelled crabs on a neighbours table and ask that the Stir fried Crab with fresh peppercorns be added to our repertoire.Our dinner is very enjoyable and we finish it off with some Fried banana fritters served with warm honey and a dollop of vanilla ice-cream.Thai gastronomy indeed!
- Street Food and Trucks:
Street carts and food trucks offer a huge variety of mouth-watering Thai delicacies and seem to be a great open air dining option.They serve up some Noodles,Satay sticks,Curry rice and salads.Hand churned tender coconut ice cream too seems to be a great favourite with most tourists here.
- A Tuk Tuk Ride around the city is a fun and inexpensive way of seeing the city.
Some Must Eats in Bangkok:
Bangkok is indeed a foodie paradise with a cuisine which combines a multitude of flavours that incorporate a happy balance between spicy and sweet.The list is endless,however I’ve listed a few of my favourites that are a must eat,be it street food, casual or formal dining.
- Green Curry with Chicken( Geang Keow Wan Gai)
- Thai Papaya Salad (Som Tam)
- Spicy Shrimp Soup (Tom Yum Goong)
- Panang Curry (Panang Curry)
- Chicken in a peanut sauce ( Massaman Gai)
- Grilled Pork with Rice (Khao Neow Moo Ping)
- Thai Fried Rice (Khao Pad Goong)
- Thai Rice Noodles (Pad Thai)
Now I do cook some fairly decent Thai meals off and on, as the family does enjoy it. I thought I’d leave you with my favourite recipe for a Thai Green Curry with Chicken.I have used a ready curry paste that is great to keep handy in the pantry.You may choose to use either Chicken,Shrimp or even Beef for the base.The use of some lemon juice and some Thai bird chiles over the curry definitely elevates the flavours in this curry.
- Recipe For Thai Green Curry with Chicken
THAI GREEN CURRY (CHICKEN)-GAENG KEO WAN (Serves 4-6)
- 400 g chicken breasts (boneless)
- 1 tin coconut milk
- 2-3 Thai red chilies (diagonally chopped)
- 1 tsp. ginger-garlic paste
- 2 green onions (finely chopped)
- 2 tbsp Thai green curry paste
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 3-4 tsp. fish sauce
- ½ cup baby Aubergines
- ½ cup chopped mushrooms
- 1 small red capsicum chopped
- Baby corn (optional)
- Few Basil leaves (torn)
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- ½ cup veg Stock (Maggi veg stock cubes)
- Salt to taste
- Chopped coriander
- 2 tbsp vegetable Oil
- Slice the chicken into thin fillets and chop into medium pieces. Fry this in a little oil and keep aside.
- Add a tbsp. of oil in a pan and fry the white parts of the onion. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for a couple of minutes. Then add the green curry paste and fry for about 4-5 minutes.
- Next add the chopped mushroom and green capsicum and sauté till cooked. Now add the baby Aubergines and cook for a while .Add the chicken pieces.
- Add the fish sauce and sugar and stir.
- Now lastly add the coconut milk and bring to a boil.
- Add the stock and salt and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add salt and garnish with chopped coriander and basil leaves
- Serve hot with Thai Jasmine Rice.