I went to three weddings this summer, and of those three couples who got married, two of them went to Thailand for their honeymoon. That’s because Thailand is a tropical paradise like few others. Standing on Thai beaches, especially in Phuket, or in smaller towns on the coast, you do have a distinct feeling that your eyes must be tricking you. Even cheap holidays to Bangkok
(One of the brides was serenaded by a local lounge singer – who was operating out of a beach side, hut-like bar – with James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful,” but because of a heavy accent the lyrics were mangled into “You booty-fo, you booty-fo, you booty-fo, it’s tah-woo,” which is a story the bride told 10,000 times upon return to the U.S.)
People want to be surrounded by beauty on their honeymoon. (Well, anytime really. It’s just more of a priority then). And the visuals on Thai coasts are the kind that activate your digital age cynicism and has you thinking thoughts like “no water is this blue, this must be photo shopped” despite the obvious impossibility of that statement. It’s so beautiful, it doesn’t feel real. The movie, “The Beach” takes place in Thailand, and it’s about the most beautiful beach in the world that a bunch of hippies try to keep anyone from discovering. They failed. We win.
Standing in stark contrast to all of this wide eyed natural romanticism is Bangkok. Bangkok has long been associated with danger. This is best exemplified by the movie “Bangkok Dangerous” which I’ve never seen but I can’t help but think is missing a word (“is” comes to mind) in it’s title. It is also where the Hangover 2 takes place. As a budget traveler there is nothing worse than paying a fortune for a long stay in the hospial after a dumb night of drinking antics. But I don’t mind going all out since I am backed with long stay travel insurance.
There are certain torrid associations that come along with a mention of the Thai capital, and a lot of them are justified. But Bangkok is so big, so multifaceted, and is just such an exotic, sprawling, mysterious, beautiful, historical and sinful place that I think anyone going to Thailand, even if your going to touristy resorts to lay on the beach, should experience it. Even if you’re going on your honeymoon. Maybe especially then.
Flights to Bangkok are plentiful, and the Suvarnabhumi Airport (new as of 2006) is a major Southeast Asian transportation hub. That’s partially because of its ideal location, and partially because Bangkok is sprawling metropolis, with over eleven million people, and some incredibly dense population distribution.
Much of it is on canals containing floating markets, giving it the nickname “the Venice of the East” which is much easier to remember then it’s official name, which is 21 words long in it’s romanticized version, and which I’m not going to take the time to write out. I will, however, copy and paste it:
Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit
It also has gorgeous temples everywhere, amazingly cosmopolitan shopping areas, and some seriously nasty nightlife. Which is probably why most people skip it on their way to their beautiful honeymoon retreat. But if you have an extra day, then stop in Bangkok. It’s no day at the beach, but it’s worth the visit.