Altogether, we’re 68 Macromedia Students in Bangkok right now and after three months of studying and travelling, everybody has had different experiences in this city as well as in Asia so far, but there’s one point in which we all agree: Bangkok never gets boring. It’s a city of contrast, as it connects tradition and modern spirit, bargain and luxury, party feeling and Buddhist religion – all in once.
The most impressive sights and must-see attractions in Bangkok are the numerous temples spread around the metropolis. They clearly represent Buddhism in the most beautiful way and are always unique, individualized by characteristics such as decoration, type of construction and size. However, one of my favourite temples until now is „Wat Saket“ or the so-called Golden Mount as you can see a lot from the big city when you’re on the top, plus the whole experience of walking upstairs is truly memorable. Another great temple and therewith an escape from busy Bangkok is „Wat Pho“ – the place where the 45m long reclining Buddha is lying – which is, seen in real life very impressive. There are insanely many of these pretty buildings around whole Bangkok, so that even we, as „long-term“ students find it hard to discover each one of them during our stay, but therefore we always know what to do on a lazy Sunday when nothing is planned – visiting a temple!
The Chulalongkorn University is really ambitious to give us German students an understanding of Thai culture and people, that’s why we approximately have one university weekend-trip each month to different regions of Thailand. Last weekend we’ve been to Kanchanaburi – a province about four hours drive away from Bangkok – we had a lot of fun activities to do there, including water rafting, swimming and visiting a museum. It’s a great way to get to know the country and its people better and spend some time with all students from Macromedia over the weekend. Additionally, we were invited to a Thai-Class the other week and got to learn the most important phrases and useful words in Thai, taught from local students as our personal „Buddys“. Actually, it’s very important to know at least the basic phrases in Thai, otherwise you’ll be lost in Bangkok as just people with higher education can speak English here, but the major part of society you’ll get in contact with in supermarkets, taxis/TukTuks or restaurants don’t understand a word in English. They’re just nodding and smiling – friendly as they are – when you’re trying to communicate with them. That’s sometimes really frustrating, but we got quickly used to it and are trying to speak with the few Thai-words we know and our hands – funnily enough, it’s working pretty well this way!
I guess everybody has – at least once – tried Thai food in Germany, but the original food here is still surprisingly different. Almost everything you’re eating is very spicy, even if you tell the vendors to add just „a little bit“ of spicery – it’s still strong. You really have to stress that you want the dish without any chillies, pepper or the like, so that it’s getting bearable for European tongues – but then, you can truly enjoy Thai food as it’s delicious as well as pretty cheap. Street vendors are literally found around every corner and are selling everything from soups, over vegetables and meat, to desserts in a high quality. Although you might think they’re not as hygienic as restaurants, they’re often even more careful and tidy. I think when you’re in Thailand, you’ll always find something that’s matching your taste and maybe discover unknown delicacy, you’ve never heard of before.
From Bangkok, you can easily travel around whole Asia, as flights are usually very cheap. Most of us have already seen several islands, travelled to different Asian countries or even flew to Australia. My personal highlights are always the trips to beautiful islands in Thailand itself, as they’re reachable within a few hours, giving you the specific „holiday-feeling“ as well as a good taint – and let’s be honest: what can you not love about an island trip? – beach, sun, coconut drinks and the sea – it’s all there waiting for you to enjoy. That’s truly the best way to take some time off from university and relax, even if it’s just for the weekend. My favourite places so far: Kho Chang, Kho Tao and Kho Samet – all stunning islands located in Thailand.
Bangkok is known for its crazy nightlife through several Hollywood movies, and they don’t exaggerate – you can truly party all night in this city. Although most of the clubs and bars are closing at 3am, there’re still some venues left to keep partying and dancing till the sun is getting up. The most special places to have a drink with friends are the numerous Rooftop Bars in Bangkok, which offer an impressive view over the whole city by night and very good cocktails that are – to be fair – super expensive as you’re secretly paying for the stunning sight. Nevertheless, this experience is totally worth its price!
All in all, I’m really glad that Bangkok turned out as my place to be for the semester abroad and I’m sure, I’ll never forget all the experiences that I’m making here – looking forward to the remaining six weeks!
(If you’re interested in more reports straight out of Bangkok and Asia, you’re welcome to visit my private Blog about the semester abroad in the country of smile)