Lest anyone think I am ignoring the three well known entertainment areas in Bangkok, Thailand on this blog, well, I am … kinda, sorta.
There are tons of web sites that deal with them, not enough that deal with all the other interesting happenings that go on in Bangkok and beyond. My focus is on the latter. Traffic is not my guiding light.
But truth be told these three areas can never be ignored, entirely. Density and velocity is how artist Chris Coles described the attraction of the Bangkok night. The reality is, of the 14 to 21 million visitors Bangkok gets ever year – a number growing by leaps and bounds – more go to these three zones than all the temples combined, despite what you may read from the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Bangkok, Thailand has now been recognized as the top travel destination in the world by Lonely Planet Travel Guides and Mastercard International.
So herewith I present all the cultural advice you will ever need to know about Nana Plaza, Soi Cowboy and Patpong:
1. Never, ever go to an upstairs bar in Patpong even if you are, hypothetically, with a good mate that is Thai from your hometown in the USA.
2. If you do go to an upstairs bar in Patpong you will be ripped off, even if you are, hypothetically, with a good Thai mate that had lived in Bangkok for over twenty years.
3. By all means check out the culture of Nana Plaza. Everyone has. Mick Jagger has. Anthony Bourdain has. Husbands and wives have. Christian fundamentalists have. Groups of white women have. Groups of Arab men have tried. Go. Check it out. Be appalled. Be titillated. Don’t be a jerk but be something and go.
4. Soi Cowboy: Walk up and down the small street. Be surprised how small the street is. Be amazed at what goes on in such a small street. Eat outside. Look at the people. Some will look back. It’s not always easy to differentiate the animals from the spectators at this holy city zoo. Eat the street food. Eat an insect just so you can say you did. The pyropus pesticide levels in one or two grasshoppers won’t kill you. After that you are on your own.
5. Don’t drink too much alcohol. It’s poison to the body just like the pesticide in the insects. The body treats them both the same way – let’s get rid of this stuff before It does anything else. Moderation in eating insects and moderation in drinking alcohol. Take the middle path or the deep fried larvae. “Up to you” as the saying goes.
So there you have it. After you’ve been to all three entertainment areas or as Meatloaf says, “Two out of three ain’t bad”, eaten your insects and been in the same places as Mick Jagger and company, congratulate yourself. You’re in Bangkok, Thailand. And there are at least one-thousand other things you can see, eat and do. Better get started. Life is short. And economists can be philosophers, if you listen.