street food

One Night in Bangkok

Bangkok is a modern city thriving with culture, art, music, food and anything else you could ask for. 

When we landed in Thailand's capital we didn't even know where we were going to stay. The trip happened so spontaneously we hadn't figured out any details. Luckily our good friends and fellow bloggers HandZaround were already there, and they booked us a room in a great little hotel where they were already staying called Eco House. Small but clean and private rooms with shower go for 500 baht or $15 in a great central location. 

The Tipsy Gypsies Tip: If you're traveling through SE Asia, is your best source for online bookings. Better deals can always be arranged in person, but unlike India or Europe Agoda beats on prices almost every time.

The Tipsy Gypsies Tip: Public transport is an easy and convenient option but it doesn't always work out to be the cheapest here depending on where you are going and how many you are traveling with. Auto Tuk Tuks are a must try experience in Bangkok with their neon lights and lavish decorations but also know that Uber is available. Sometimes you don't want to haggle or have to explain your final destination so having this option is nice. And unlike many other countries, we tested and found that normal taxis were typically the same price as an Uber so don't be afraid to flag one down either.

Our arrival in Bangkok was unlike many others foreigners experience, as we had just come from nearly 6 months in India. Most people who arrive in Thailand from the west feel overwhelmed with exotic and foreign excitement. We felt like we had just returned to the U.S... and that was a good thing! As our other blogging friends YesKamp once said, Thailand is "Asia Light". 

The city was so clean, organized and people actually followed the rules of the road! We saw our sheets were actually clean when we checked into our budget hotel. We couldn't believe it!

All the stress, that had built up from the awesome insanity of our previous adventures in India melted away instantly. 

Having been on the road so long we skipped many of Bangkok's "must do's". Bangkok has more beautiful temples than you could ever want to visit. And having filled our thirst for temples months ago, we agreed to visit one but that was it.

We visited Wat Pho with two amazing new friends Karol and Agnieszka from Poland we had met at our hotel. The temple is absolutely beautiful. The architecture and the giant statue of sleeping Buddha are breathtaking. It's a huge temple too so if temples get you hot and bothered, there is plenty to explore at Wat Pho. But again, we've already seen so many temples in India, we pretty much dine and dashed.

What made us fall in love with Bangkok was the street food. From Chinatown to Chotochok weekend market (both must do's), to a hundred others we can't remember the name of or didn't have time to visit, there is an endless supply of new and exciting markets and dishes to try. 

The Tipsy Gypsies Tip: Spend an evening in Chinatown stuffing your face with as many dishes and beers that you can manage, and then proceed to digest your horrendously gluttonous consumption with an hour long foot massage for 150 baht or about $4.

The Tipsy Gypsies Tip: People touching your feet not your thing? Then after eating, settle down at Chinatown's Soulbar for a drink at let the sweet jazz melodies serenade you.

Our next activity is not something you necessarily need to do in Bangkok, but we do feel it's a must at some point during your trip. The Thai cooking class in an awesome experience if you are a fan of Thai food. From going to the markets to learning about the ingredients, to making your own curry paste to finally cooking and eating your freshly made dishes will most definitely inspire your cooking creativity for when you get home. We went, per a friends recommendation, to Sompong Thai Cooking School and they were fantastic. The teachers were really friendly and spoke great English. For a budget traveller it was a little pricey at about $30 per person, but we found it worth the cost. 

with Hanna and Zach from HandZaround travel blog

with Hanna and Zach from HandZaround travel blog

Our last great adventure was again, thanks to our friends HandZaround. They had interviewed a local artist who was also in charge of what are known as Trasher parties. These are events thrown in large venues for Bangkok's LGBT community and they are awesome. Through a special invite we all attended one of their concerts and it was an amazing night. Gay, straight or anything in between, the people and community are amazing and we highly recommend you see if an event is happening when you are there as you'll have the best night partying possible.

After recovering from our Trasher party hangover we said goodbye to our new friends and headed south for amazing island adventures you can read about here. Bangkok is most definitely a city worth exploring as it has a lot to offer before you head to the beautiful Thai countryside.

We look forward to visiting this city again some day and can't wait to discover what else it has to offer. 





Part 1: A taste of the Himalayas

After weeks of  dealing with one of the most populated cities in the word we were ready to spend some time in nature.We traded the hot and humid weather of New Delhi for the cooler temperatures of the north. Our journey begins in Shimla, the beautiful mountainous town, famous for it's spectaculars views, friendly and hard working people and delicious organic apples. The Tipsy Gypsies are on a journey to explore the spectacular Himachal Pradesh, and more....


Delhi to Shimla

On an early morning, we boarded a train from Delhi to Shimla. This was our first long distance train ride, and we cautiously decided to sit in an AC cart with reserved seats. We almost missed the train because we got into a car accident with a crazy uber driver, which you can ready about it here

Still shaken up after the uber drive we ran into the station a few minutes before 5:15am and just in time to catch our train. The ride was very pleasant and comfortable and perfect for catching up on sleep. 

After a few hours we arrived in a town called Kalka and boarded the Himalayan Queen "Toy Train" to Shimla. This train was very tiny, hence the name, and operated on a different, smaller track. Before we boarded the train, we were able to buy lunch and eat before we starting our long journey to Shimla.

The journey on the toy train is spectacular. You get to soak in the views for about 6 hours so get comfortable and enjoy the ride.

The train makes short stops along the way so if you get hungry there are plenty of opportunities to eat food: delicious hot samosas, snacks, and sweet chai. Food vendors will also come onto the train with chai and fresh snacks like chana chaat (garbanzo beans with onion, tomatoes, chilis and fresh lime juice).

The boonies of Shimla

Shimla is a popular destination, therefore not the cheapest for budget travelers like us. We decided to stay in a hotel called "Snowflake Cottage", located 9 kilometers outside the town, which turned out to be a good decision. The following day in a desperate search for beer, we explored a small town nearby, Mashobra, on foot. It was a walk worth the adventure despite the rain that got us soaking wet. Here are some things we got see while walking along the road.

The advantage of staying outside the city was that the hotel was cheaper, but the negative was that getting to the city was not so cheap. We knew that the taxi would be around 500 rupees one way, which was almost half of what we spent on the hotel. We had to come up with another plan for transportation.

We asked the front desk for help. They reluctantly said that buses do exist, but they don't recommend it. Perhaps they wanted us to use the paid taxi service (commission for the hotel) or they were just confused why two white kids would want to ride the locals bus. Of course, we decided to try the bus.

The local buses can get crowded in seconds, with people transporting all sorts of things: packages, propane bottles (totally illegal and dangerous), farm animals, but you are almost guaranteed to fit no matter how many people are inside. Seldom do tourists use public transportation. If you are a foreigner traveling on a local bus you will be the talk of all the conversations for probably weeks. We learned the the local buses are a lot fun, fast (sometimes too fast), and very cheap. Locals are very helpful so don't be afraid to ride the crazy bus.

The Tipsy Gypsies Tip: The bus will stop pretty much anywhere you want. When you are stacked in the back of the bus and you want to make the bus to stop, just whistle.

Touristing in Shimla

First things first, coffee is a must. We went to the old school coffeeshop "Indian Coffee House", where waiters wear cool outfits and the coffee is decent and you can grab some snacks before you explore the rest of the city.

Also they have a restroom and toilette paper!! It's a luxury in India.

Jakhoo, Monkey Temple

Hindus worship animals, cows being the holiest of them all. For a semi-vegan, this sounds like a great religion. We decided to visit the Jakkhoo temple, which is dedicated to the monkey god Hanuman.

Jakhoo temple is located on top of a hill. Either we are out of shape or this is a really steep climb. Before you start the walk make sure you've had some coffee and bring plenty of water with you. Once you get to the top, the atmosphere is amazing. Architecturally, the design of the temple itself is ok, but there are mischievous monkeys running around the whole place, which was the most fun part about this place. 

Beware of the monkeys

Seeing monkeys in the wild was something very new to us, so naturally we got very excited. However, the monkeys are clever with the dumb tourists, so here is the thing. They are very cute and extremely smart. We "played" around with them, taking pictures and watching them, and we got very comfortable maybe too comfortable... it's hard to resist them, just take a look.

Just when we started to leave one of the monkeys tried to steal the scarf of my (Marta's) backpack. The monkey was screaming and I was screaming. Fortunately for me, my scarf was tide to my backpack so the monkey ran away empty handed.

The Tipsy Gypsies Tips: Lesson #1 put all your loose shit away (sunglasses, scarfs, phones, cameras!!) because they will try to snatch it from you. These guys are smart and once they steal your stuff they will try to bribe you to bring them food and trade for your belongings. Yes, this sounds crazy but it is true. There is a chance that if you have some tasty snacks they will return your stuff to you, but unfortunately it might be in poor condition.

Advanced Studies aka Rashtrapati

This is a beautiful classical structure built by the British in the 1800's. Don't bother with the tour of the interior because it sucks. Since there is still an interior designer in me, I love learning about the interior architecture and we decided to tour the interior. This tour was really lame. The guide knew English, but during the tour spoke Hindi language only. We spent about 5 min in each room. The guide told us to read the pamphlets in the rooms (as long as the Lord of the Rings) and ask him questions if we have any. Mhhh ok, thanks. So we recommend that you do your own research on the history of the place, and spend as much time as you can around the gardens surrounding the building. 


Food Porn

After the hike we sure got hungry. We decided to hit as many food stalls as possible

Snack #1 Veggie Samosa burger from SITA Ram and Son

Snack #2 Chana Tikka

Snack #3 Chai

Snack #2 Gravy and Ghawna (pancake)  from SITA Ram and Son

Snack #2 Chinese noodles Indian Style

After Shimla, we originally planned to travel to the Ladakh region, but winter was approaching rapidly and we weren't prepared for the snow and freezing weather. We decided to journey through the Spiti Valley loop instead, but there was one catch. Foreigners need a permit to visit this region. The bureau of tourism in Shimla said they couldn't help us with the permit, and we needed to go to Manali. So guess where we are going next? ...Read part 2, Manali and Inner Line Permit HERE!