My Bangkok Struggles

Some of my closer friends know the story as to why I didn t quite enjoy Bangkok as much as I thought I would, but I feel it s a story worth sharing. Before I proceed, please bear in mind that Kieran and I still LOVE Thailand and will probably be there at least once a year every year for the rest of our lives. All the tales of friendly and polite people and delicious street food remains true. But this was my experience of Bangkok when we visited it in August.

My Bangkok Struggles

Coconut ice- cream yums

In general, I tend to be mistaken for a local at most places I go. Some are pretty expected, like Thailand, Latin America and South Africa, due to my skin tone, but this has also happened in Vietnam so who knows what s up, really. In any case, this usually works in my favour because I m less likely to get ripped off etc. When Kieran is around, he s also less likely to get ripped off because they think he has a local girlfriend. However, things were a little different in Bangkok.

I ve been to Bangkok on my own before and I enjoyed it then. It was just a short couple of days but I was well- treated and for the most part I was left alone. When I went to Bangkok with Kieran, two things happened: some/ more Caucasian men stared at me/ us, and some locals in the service industry gave me the side- eye and/ or served others before serving me. And while this is me jumping to my own conclusions, I believe it s because they think I m a social escort . To put it politely.

My Bangkok Struggles

Here, lemme escort you to madness. And it would make sense. I hate stereotyping and obviously not all Caucasians do this and I d be the last person who would want to perpetuate the notion that all Asians with Caucasian partners are social escorts . Because this is the 21st Century, I think society has more or less caught up with the concept of inter- racial coupling. But the fact of the matter is Bangkok has a colourful sex trade industry.

Perhaps there was something about my appearance combined with my being with a Caucasian that made it seem like I belonged to that industry. Who knows. What I know is, a few times every day for the 4 days we were there, we/ I would be stared at by a Caucasian man. Even on my last day, after I went through passport control and was waiting for Kieran inside the airport transit area, a few walked past me and looked at me in such a way that I felt like I needed to take a bath immediately. A few times at restaurants, the servers would give me the nastiest look you might reserve for a child murderer, and sometimes choose to serve the people standing behind me first.

And that does not contribute to an enjoyable holiday. I enjoyed every meal we had except for maybe the one we had on the last day. This was at a restaurant where the waiter had given me a dirty look before another waiter chose to give the group behind me a table first without even acknowledging me in any way. Kieran didn t know this then, but it took a lot for me to not just blubber into my tom yam as I ate it. It s hard to explain but it s just incredibly upsetting. I don t expect to be treated like a princess, but nor do I deserve to be treated like dirt.

My Bangkok Struggles

The tuk- tuk life

So while I would gladly go back to Ko Lipe and Krabi and Chiang Mai a billion times, Bangkok is going to be on the back burner for me for a while. In none of these other places have me being with my partner become an issue or source of consternation in any way. We loved our days in Satun, Ko Lipe, random villages we cycled through in 2011, Trang, Krabi, Phuket

My Bangkok Struggles

Honeymoon in Ko Lipe 🙂

It took me a while to write this down because in light of all that s happened in the capital, I didn t want to contribute to any backlash their tourist industry might face. And it really shouldn t.

This was my personal experience and it probably happened due to a confluence of factors (my dressing/ looks/ my skin colour/ my husband s skin colour -___-) that doesn t affect most others. But it s also my story and something that I ve never encountered before. Perhaps that too contributed to my (mild) distress. I hadn t anticipated it, so it felt particularly unpleasant. Next time we head there, I d probably have thicker skin and know certain areas to avoid, maybe, in order to avoid such judgement. And yes, obviously I will return. There s so much more to Bangkok that we didn t get to see in the short 4 days we were there, and to write off such a dynamic city due to one bad experience seems a bit premature.

So yes, for those who wondered how was Bangkok? , that s how it was for me.

But it was still a good break of course, as any Discount Holidays © holiday with this dodo is 🙂

My Bangkok Struggles

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