Finding Manila in Bangkok


It is like Manila! That was my first impression of Bangkok. I said so because…

Malls sprout like mushrooms

When you look around, malls, bazaars, and shops are everywhere, left and right. From high-end to low-end specialty stores, you will never miss a thing. These shops exist alongside the street vendors’ tents or make-shift corners forming around late afternoons until late evenings. Whatever you need, you can find it! I went to Platinum, Siam Paragon, Central World, and MBK. I enjoyed shopping at the thrift shops where I bought a durable leather pouch bag costing me PhP 150 only. It lasted for a few years and maybe longer if not for the broken strap.

One of the many LED billboards in the city.
Bata is a famous shoes and bags brand in Thailand and Malaysia. Bata literally means “young kid” in the Filipino language.
 The train ticket machine.

Smoke signals come from food stalls

This is very Manila. Even if your stomach does not signal hunger, you will be tempted to follow the smoke and track down the colorful and good-smelling street fares on every corner. All kinds of on-stick, charred, broiled, boiled, steamed, and even raw food are sold in the streets. Office workers flock during the break, lunch, and after-office hours. Passersby and students add to the frequenters. I also saw a few tourists stopping by.

Among the roasted fruits sold in the streets are bananas and sweet potatoes.
Stick-y food situation.
Yummy and colorful street food. My friend and I are in a good place. 😀
A schoolboy buying drinks from a street vendor.
Crabs and other seafood are staples in Asia. Thailand has its own crab cooking that is uniquely theirs.
 I saw a Hello Kitty House! But I did not go in. I had a heavy dinner.

M is for massage

Thailand is a massage nation. In the Philippines, a Thai massage is even included in the spa menu. One of the highlights of my trip was getting a foot massage hours before I headed to the airport. My feet suffered from all the walking, so it was a great relief to be at Touch Therapeutic Massage which is a stone’s throw away from Conrad Hotel where I stayed. Mind you, the first few strokes on my toes were already magical! I found myself slowly closing my eyes and dozing off. I woke up after 30 minutes of bliss. I sometimes heard myself snoring! Haha! Embarrassing! Imagine if it were a full-body massage. Maybe I’d wake up the next day.

Noise? What noise?

Since Bangkok is a very busy city, the noise seems to be something unnoticeable at all. Honking buses, cars, and especially tuk-tuks, ply the streets, not mindful whether they were fast or slow. I dreaded that tuk-tuk ride I took (sorry for the pun hehe). It was racing as if the driver was being chased by a ghost. Tuk-tuks are like the Philippines’ version of tricycles, that small yet bold three-wheeled motor carriages. I felt that tuk-tuks are not safe at all.

The blur says how speedy he is.
We are just smiling but this tuk-tuk is one hell of a ride!

Pais tropical

Just like Manila, it was so hot and humid in Bangkok. There was never a day outdoors that we did not perspire. I know I should be so used to it. But that time, I felt that the heat stopped me from doing tours around the city, so I only went out late in the afternoons.

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Ronald McDonald’s unique Thai pose is cool.
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 So there’s Dakasi, one of the popular milk tea brands that are also in Manila.

Would I go back to Bangkok now that I know it looks and feels like Manila, my hometown? Yes. I’d go back for the tom yum and the fantastic massage knowing that the prices won’t break the bank. But I feel there is more to Thailand than Bangkok.

When I go back, may this funny sign serve as a reminder that when in Bangkok…

I found this in a restroom in one of the malls in Bangkok. Hehe…