After getting about an hour of sleep, we somehow miraculously got ourselves up and headed out the door for the Bangkok Food Tour. If we had known that we’d be out until sunrise the night before, we would never have signed up for it, but since it was already paid for, we just sucked it up and marched on over. I can’t imagine what the other folks on the tour thought of us at first when we showed up looking obviously like we’d clearly been partying hard just a few short hours earlier. But we did end up enjoying ourselves quite a bit and despite being aggressively hungover it was real nice having some great conversations and getting to know everyone else on the tour.
However, my review of the Bangkok Food Tour is this: if you’re already typically an adventurous eater, I wouldn’t bother. This is not a criticism of the tour itself. Our guide was great, and like I said, it was actually amazing that we were able to get along and have fun with all the other tourists in our condition. But for my buddy and I who are already always trying exotic foods on the menu, the food at the stops that we made didn’t really live up to what we already do on a regular basis. But I’ll give you an overview of the tour anyways and you can decide for yourself whether or not it’s worth the 1200 baht.
The tour stops at 5 local spots and here’s the food that each offered:
- Pig leg at a Chinese restaurant.
- Rice Noodle in Yellow Curry with Egg, Coconut, Milk, Peanut, and Beef along with a Chicken pastry at a Middle Eastern/SE Asian fusion place.
- Thai Salad (very spicy), Deep Fried Chicken with Lemongrass, Pork and Mushrooms at a very local, alleyway place. This was probably the best of the stops in terms of food and getting to go to a real “local” eatery.
- Green Custard Buns and Thai Iced Tea at a Chinese bakery.
- Green Curry Chicken w/ Roti and Coconut Sorbet at an Indian/SE Asian fusion restaurant owned by a member of the Thai royal family who has an affinity for Indian food.
So like I said, it was a perfectly fine tour, but not worth it if those food options don’t “excite” you.
After that, we napped for a good while and then headed to the Sky Bar at the Lebua Hotel. If you’ve ever seen the Hangover II (ironically, we went hungover as well), this was the bar featured prominently in that movie and in turn posters of the movie are featured prominently in the hotel’s lobby. It is easy to see why the movie producers chose this for the film. Bangkok is known for its multitude of rooftop bars, but I can’t imagine one with a view more spectacular than the one at Sky Bar. From the bar you can see a solid 270 degrees over Bangkok. We showed up at sunset and had a perfect view of the sun coming down in the West. The drink prices are expensive, probably even a little expensive for Western standards, but this is to be expected because the clientele are all wealthier tourists. But a drink or two is a small price to pay for the relaxing atmosphere, great view, and surprisingly not too packed bar area. There is a smart casual dress code, so make sure to shower and change before you go.
From Sky Bar we made our way to Chinatown for dinner. It’s here that you can really find street food central. The chaos isn’t all that much different from a lot of other Chinatowns around the world, but the difference here is that the sidewalks aren’t for walkers – it’s for all the tables set up for the street food carts. So essentially the road is full of cars, cabs, Tuk Tuks, and pedestrians (Keep Your Elbows In!). I can’t honestly say for sure I knew what some of the food was that we saw, but we kept it relatively safe and tried a bunch of different carts featuring food I recognized including:
- Roast BBQ Pork noodles.
- Shrimp at this one cart where the cook was putting on a ridiculous fire show with his wok.
- Pad Thai — the best Pad Thai we had on the trip. Word of advice: look for the Pad Thai carts that throw a whole fried egg on top of the noodles.
All of this food cost 300 baht per person ($1 = 30 baht).
A couple of other quick places we stopped in on our way back to the Landmark on Soi 11.
- Oskar Bistro: Typical expat bar with a good amount of porch seating to watch the party scene on the streets of Soi 11.
- Levels Club: We came in here to see what the club scene is like and this place is the place to go if you want to dance. You take an elevator up to the second floor club consists of two floors. Go-Go dancers perform at the front by the DJ and there are multiple bars making the wait for a drink very short. There’s also a large outdoor porch area if you want to get away from the loud music for a bit. Folks keep in mind, there are prostitutes lined up along the edges of the dance floor ready to pounce.