Bangkok, Oriental Setting

So, I’m secretly mad that the timestamps in my phone’s photo gallery tell me that Tinder Boy and I definitely spent at the very least two nights in Bangkok which meant I could not title this post “One Night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster” in a nod to the Murray Head tune from ‘Chess’ as I had initially hoped. And now we’ve set the mood for the post, let’s talk about another individual who was arguably not-so-secretly mad. My mother.

You may recall in my last post of the now aptly dubbed ‘Tinder Travels‘ series, that Tinder Boy (ffs, Sam, give him a fictional name already!) and I got rather intoxicated in a Barcelona square, decided we had had more than enough of Spain and came to the reasonable conclusion that we should just jet off to Asia instead. And there we were, 72 hours after setting foot on Spanish soil, we were back at the airport.

Now, I mentioned that the initial plan was to spend a nice weekend away together. We had essentially fulfilled that task in Barcelona, whilst simultaneously causing chaos at every hotel we stayed in, so naturally friends and family back in ol’ Blighty were expecting us home very soon. One person eagerly awaiting my return was, of course, Mama Kilford. So, imagine her surprise, when her freshly twenty-one-year-old daughter video calls her up from Dubai International Airport announcing that she’s waiting for her connecting flight to Bangkok. Because that’s how Tinder Boy and I decided to break the news.

It’s safe to say she was livid. For an Asian tiger mum, she saved face very well when talking to Tinder Boy and was ever the polite lady even though she was absolutely without a doubt horrified deep down and likely wanted to grab both our shoulders, shake us, and ask ‘what the hell we thought we were doing?’ which would have been fair given the circumstances. Alas, she was all the way in Wales, so there wasn’t too much she could do apart from wish us a safe flight to Bangkok. Don’t worry, I’m still making it up to her for the emotional stress caused.

You’ll be surprised to know that Tinder Boy and I only stayed in one hotel throughout the duration of our little Bangkok sojourn. After the stress of our many Spanish abodes, we decided we wanted to live in luxury for a bit and thankfully, in Asia, you do tend to get more for your cold, hard cash. We checked in to the Lebua at State Tower, a five-star all-suite hotel with the most breathtaking views of the city.

We were fortunate to have been given an upgrade on arrival. Now, I am not proud of the means in which we obtained this upgrade, but I may argue that it was worth it just so we could have a suite with a balcony that overlooked not just the cityscape, but also gave us a glimpse at the Chao Phraya River. Basically, Tinder Boy and I lied. I know, this puts my Catholic school girl roots to shame – if the nuns could see me now! We may or may not have said the stay was to mark our momentous-and-definitely-not-real engagement. In fairness, we only asked for the hotel to maybe give us a little something special like a bottle of champagne or rose petals. Neither of us expected a room upgrade! So, if the staff at Lebua are reading this: Thank you and I’m sorry.

It did, however, set us up on this two week long façade that came back to bite us on the arse many times on the trip.

THE VIEW FROM OUR SUITE AT THE LEBUA:

Realising that our Barcelona wardrobe simply wouldn’t cut it in the 35°C Thai heat, we took to the streets in search of some new, weather appropriate clothes.

The Robinson Shopping Mall situated a few minutes walk from the hotel turned out to be far too spenny for our liking, so we decided to peruse the small stalls that lined the streets. I was initially quite sceptical as I am the type of person who doesn’t mind splashing out on a piece if I know that it’s going to serve me well quality-wise in the long run, but we did manage to find a few pieces on the stalls that survived partially, if not all, of the trip and are pieces that I would wear again if British weather ever permitted me with the chance. Unfortunately, Tinder Boy did not find the same luck on our shopping spree. This is not a dig, by the way, the boy is in more than acceptable shape, but I just guess that they don’t sell many clothes in Western sizes out there.

While the search for fresh new garms was a success for me, Tinder Boy left with one light blue, knock-off Tommy Hilfiger shirt which became a staple piece of fashion on the trip. Largely because it was the only item of clothing he had acquired that suited the weather. Defeated, we headed to the food portion of the stalls and grabbed a mango and banana shake to ease the blow.

After a busy morning, we wandered around aimlessly seeking a place to sate our grumbling stomachs. Eventually, we stumbled upon a place on a street corner that served some chicken satay, a dish that would end up being our main go-to on our Asian adventure. Sitting down, we basked in the afternoon busyness of Bangkok, people watching while he smoked and I sipped at a piña colada.

Before we knew it, the evening was fast approaching. Let’s just say, in the week that I’d known Tinder Boy prior to our travels, it was glaringly obvious that our hobbies, ideas of luxury and our lifestyles were very different. On our second date, a day or two before we jetted off around the world together, he took me to a spa. I wasn’t sold on the concept. While traveling, he spent countless hours whining about not having any moisturiser for his face and practically rejoiced when we finally found some Nivea in a Bali airport kiosk – I have naturally oily skin so never really carry any around with me… I can feel beauty gurus everywhere recoiling in horror. Later, when we stopped over in Germany for our flight back to London, he was eager to try out the aloe vera face masks he’d bought at a Thai 7-Eleven and, I quote, felt “very refreshed” afterwards. So, to say that Tinder Boy is a pampered princess would be an understatement.

Naturally, he suggested we go for a Thai massage. From the blissful smile on his face every time I glanced over at him, one can only surmise that he had a relaxing time. My memory of the Thai massage is anything but. Days before, I messed up my foot falling in a jacuzzi in the Bristol Marriott (a sentence I never believed I would ever type in my career) and the lady giving me the massage went in on that foot. I was in so much pain afterwards that I fell to my knees – and not in the pleasant way – on our way back to the Lebua which I hope explains the bruised pins you see me sporting in the photos. And by the way, there was no happy ending. Especially not for me. Ever. Make of that what you will. 🙈

After enjoying the nighttime view from our balcony for a little bit, we decided we’d see what the Lebua was saying when it came to food and drink. Boasting Bangkok’s highest rooftop Sky Bar, the highest alfresco restaurant in the world and a restaurant with two Michelin stars, they did not disappoint.

Unbeknownst to us, in order to gain access to Lebua’s sky high amenities, there was a dress code. I, fashion icon that I am, already fulfilled their dress code. My travel companion, on the other hand, wasn’t winning the hearts of any staff with his shorts and t-shirt combo. After much quarrelling between the boy and ruthless Lebua staff, in which he insisted we should be allowed because it is our honeymoon (The response: You should’ve dressed better for your honeymoon 🤣 ), he relented and changed into the one pair of trousers he had and ditched the flip flops for normal shoes.

One quick costume change later and the busiest couple in Thailand – I mean, we did supposedly get engaged, married and manage to be on our honeymoon all in the space of six hours – were finally given the greenlight to get some food and beverages.

I honestly wish we’d had someone filming our exit from the elevator because it was the most surreal moment of my life. I just know the way I write it is going to sound incredibly hyperbolic, but I promise you that is exactly how it went down…

The doors opened, my eyes were greeted by rows of elegantly dressed staff members who started to bow before us. My ears were filled with a chorus of “Sawadee ka!” and the smooth hum of a jazz band. We were hurried to an ornate staircase where, in my dumbfounded state, I tried to steal glances at the panoramic views of the glowing city before me while staff members shone torches at the steps to ensure I didn’t slip in my five inch heels – could you imagine the entrance that would’ve been if I did!

We could hardly believe it. I think we spent the next hour or so in actual awe. And when we thought we couldn’t be any more gobsmacked, they gave us, the “honeymoon couple”, the menu. Our jaws really hit the floor then.

“£7,000 for wine?!”

“No! Shut up, are you sure you don’t mean 7,000 Thai baht?”

“No, it’s pounds!”

“Well, shit.”

That was the exact exchange that took place between Tinder Boy and I. Cue us spending the next ten minutes fending off persistent waiters whilst converting wine prices from Thai baht to pounds, our eyeballs nearly falling out of their sockets every time the converter returned the price. We later had to go through the same ordeal when choosing food.

When we finally placed our order, the judgement coming from the waiters towards my date was evident. After all, it was our ‘honeymoon’ – something that happens realisitically once in your life – and oh, what a cheapskate he seemed. Nothing says romance like espresso martinis, the cheapest bottle of red on the menu and two servings of chicken tacos. I had myself a keeper.

 

 

Save for another couple with a suspicious age gap, we ended up being the last two standing on the rooftop bar. Breathing in the crisp night air, we allowed ourselves a few more moments to soak in the stunning view before our eyes. Every time I think about this moment I get oddly emotional. I suppose if I had to pinpoint a specific moment on the trip where I really ‘fell’ for Tinder Boy, it would be this. While the staff started getting ready to shut up shop, we slow danced and he attempted to teach me how to salsa to the wistful music playing in the background. Spontaneously jetting abroad, midnight swimming under the stars, dancing on a rooftop with a cute guy; all of that was something that I believed only happened in movies and certainly would never happen to someone like me.

If I could pick a moment to stay and live in forever it would be that night on the rooftop because it was such a fairytale. And before I get all misty-eyed reminiscing it, I’ll move on…

In the morning, we ventured down to the pool to attempt to get some admin done. As you can see above, we succeeded… in acquiring more espresso martinis. Hey, it was our engagement/honeymoon after all.

In Spain, we had the rose in an Evian bottle, so what romantic gesture was Tinder Boy going to pull in Bangkok?

A huge fan of baths, he was desperate to test out the one in the Lebua. Romantic bubble bath with some red wine? Yes, please. How terrifically on brand for us. Alas, the only candles the hotel had to offer us were birthday cake ones and without a cake to hold them in, as you can see, we had to improvise with a KFC box. I am actually still astonished that we didn’t manage to burn the place down.

Also, Thai KFC is spicy as hell and we were not prepared. It was almost heavenly to get back to England and have popcorn chicken that didn’t kill our tastebuds. That being said, our candelit KFC bath is up there with our rooftop dance as a highlight of the entire trip. Still makes me a little giddy inside thinking about it.

A somewhat conossieur of Asia, Tinder Boy recommended we leave the bustling city and head out to the islands. He’d already been to some of them and like I said in regard to Barcelona, it saves money on a tour guide, so who was I to disagree? We might have been drinking when we made this decision, we probably were, but the flights to Krabi were already booked!

We rounded up our final morning in Bangkok with the biggest buffet breakfast I’d ever had in my life. Not going to lie, I didn’t get through much of it because I felt a little ill after downing a glass of wine at 8am that was leftover from the KFC tub sesh the night before. I’m a classy broad, fellas, form an orderly queue.

Once more, I’ve compiled a playlist of all the tunes I listened to on the way to, from and whilst in Bangkok. The playlists-per-post were more so I could capture the mood while writing the blogs for this series, but I like them too much to not chuck them in as a little bonus:

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