Context Travel Bangkok
I was told that it was to be a Bangkok tour to a local market. As to how local, I did not know, until our taxi took us a good half hour away from Central Bangkok to the Lat Phrao neighborhood. My first impression when arriving at the spot, was how small our group was, which was a nice surprise as I never take tours due to the fact that I always felt hoarded and always felt ridiculous following a person hoisting up a small banner or umbrella. This was different.
We were introduced to a docent. This word seems to be thrown around a lot lately giving tour guides more cachet, but in this case, it was true to the definition.
Ours’ was a law graduate from England with an MBA and Doctorate specializing in Sustainable Tourism Management from Australia. She had personal experiences, interest in culture and love for local food, which makes her worthy of her title. After just a few words, I knew we had the right person to show us the way in an otherwise, very foreign place.
This, off the beaten path, Thai Market was frequented mainly by locals. So there were very few Westerners per se, and selfie sticks floating about. Unlike most markets that cater to tourists, there wasn’t even a smattering of English heard anywhere, idiomatic or otherwise. We were all non-speakers, so most everything needed to be translated. This resulted in an authentic and immersive encounters throughout our walk.
This was, and is the Context Tour experience. We were on a ride to being immersed in the market culture of Bangkok.
The scent emanating from the spice traders were particularly alluring. Equally, as strong an aroma or odor, depending on how you looked at it, came from the catch of the day, and the dried salted fish that was ubiquitous in the market and seemed to have been the local perennial favorite.
Pad Thai to Pig Trotters
Pursuant to working our way through the market, we all garnered an appetite. In hopes that we learned enough, we were given “meal tickets”, and were set free to tackle the prepared food stands. The offerings were diverse as you can imagine. We sampled regional specialties from the quintessential favorites such as Pad Thai to dishes not often found on restaurant menus. For me, the highlight were the pigs trotters which they described as German, but the palate was all Thai. Cemented in the taste profile are all the spices that make the cuisine so powerful. That strange and dysfunctional dichotomy of sweet and spicy made this and many other dishes addicting and hard to stop eating.
Meeting the Street Vendors with Context Travel
The highlight, above all things, was the opportunity to personally meet the vendors. On one specific stand, that sold pre-sliced local fruit, which included some of the sweetest pineapples, there was a multi-generation family. The kids, as always, were adorable, and the parents of those said kids, very hard working. It was, however, an elderly lady in the group that caught my eye.
She smiled at me as I passed and waved me over to sample some of the fruit she sold. Wanting to capture the moment, I asked if I could take a picture of she with her family by pointing at my camera and nodding my head. She nodded back and brought the family together to fit the frame. As I counted to three, she went from local grandma to fashion model, as she sucked in her cheeks, reminiscent of Zoolander’s Blue Steel, as I clicked.
My belly was full, but it was this moment, above all, that left me satisfied. A moment that may not have been experienced if it were not for the kind of personalized tour we took. Being shown around by a docent that was well connected with the society of vendors, allowed me and the others in my group to become closer to the heart that is Bangkok – it’s people.
Thinking of traveling to Bangkok soon? Don’t miss Context Tour’s Authentic Thai Market Tour.
The tour takes about 3 hours and is $50 per person, quite a great deal. You can book it here: Authentic Thai Market Tour.
Street Food in Bangkok is a phenomenon, to say the least. It may be the one single reason why people visit this Southeast Asian City. There are a lot of food options in Bangkok, but the best are always the ones recommended by a local. There’s a company named, With Locals, that facilitates the process by connecting you with a person that actually lives in the town to help you get the best and most authentic experience. There’s a lot of things to do in Bangkok, but whatever you do, make sure you don’t miss out on local experience.
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Brenda’s Short Travel Guide to Bangkok:
We flew into Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport on Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur . The flight took almost 2 hours. The flights cost us $75 one way for all 3 of us. If you’re flying internationally from another continent, the airport used is called Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
We took a taxi from the airport for $20 into the Lat Phrao neighborhood (on the outskirts of the city center), which took us about 45 minutes.
Where to Stay:
Dusit Thani in Bangkok is a legendary 5-star luxury hotel located in the Silom area. It has remained at the top of the luxury end of hotels in Bangkok and we had the pleasure of staying there for 2 nights. If you’d like to read about our experience in more detail here is: The Dusit Thani – A Legend in Bangkok.
At the time of this writing, the Dusit Room was 6,800 Baht a night excluding fees and taxes, which is about $191 USD a night.
This was the first time we’ve chosen to stay at an AirBnb because we were going to stay an extended time and Bailey was really keen on having her own bedroom and actually so were we. We chose Jaz’s apartment after many listings because it accommodates up to 3 people and it had a pool and wifi. Also, after reading many great reviews, we chose to book it. Jaz met us right at the front of the building after she directed the taxi driver on how to get there. She brought us up and showed us around the apartment and the building. She also greeted us with a basket of fruits, some snacks, water and juice!
The apartment is painted mostly white and with touches of wood. It was perfect for a hot city like Bangkok! It has an awesome balcony and a coin-operated washing machine (each load is 30 baht), which was a welcome addition. Jaz has thought of every detail, we never had to purchase any essentials, she provided plenty and a very nice touch is she messaged us almost every day to let us know the events around the city! Last and most importantly, it’s super clean.
Then there is the coffee shop and the mini-mart downstairs on the third floor, which were both great and inexpensive. The pool and the gym were both also fantastic!
Here is the link for this apartment: The Room at Lat Phrao with Jaz.
Here’s a gift: $20 credit for your booking.
And a few more pictures from us. You’ll see plenty in the airbnb website but most of the pictures don’t give the apartment justice. You’ll have to see it for yourself.