Lesbian Bangkok: Off the Beaten Path – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , May 31st, 2019

Lesbian Bangkok

Bangkok is one of our favourite cities in Asia and we keep coming back to it. There’s so much to see and do in Bangkok. But while most people visit famous places like the Grand Palace, Khao San Road, Wat Pho and Wat Arun, there are so many other great lesser known places to visit. We already discussed the best things to do in Bangkok and all Instagram worthy spots in Bangkok, but we love to tell you about Bangkok off the beaten path! This is our top five hidden gems around Bangkok.

Wat Samphran aka Dragon Temple

Wat Samphran is a unique temple you won’t find elsewhere in the world. By accident, we found out about this place and couldn’t believe our eyes. A pink building with a dragon? Why aren’t people talking about this place? It’s not mentioned in the travel books and therefore not many tourists know about it yet. The temple is 17 floors high and you can walk through the body of the dragon to reach the top.

The top makes for a great view. Not only the dragon temple itself is worth visiting, but there are also other beautiful structures around the complex. For example a giant bronze Buddha and animal statues like a giant turtle and elephant. We recommend taking at least two hours to explore the complex. Wat Samphran is a temple, so make sure to dress properly.

By Roxanne & Maartje – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

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Bangkok by Bicycle – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , March 2nd, 2019

Bangkok by Bicycle - Once Upon a Journey

Bangkok is one of our favourite places in Asia. There’s so much to see and do in the city! And one of the best ways to explore Bangkok is by bike and boat. This way you can explore off the beaten path and get to know the different faces of the city. From busy markets in China Town to green palm plantations in the outskirts to the fresh breeze on one of the canals. Sounds amazing right? Ready to hop on that bicycle and explore? We will tell you all about our adventures during our bicycle tour through Bangkok.

Bangkok Bicycle Tour

It’s no secret us Dutchies like to bike! We don’t just bike in the Netherlands, we bike all over the world. So no surprise, 30 years ago a Dutchman named Co van Kessel started to show tourists around Bangkok by bicycle. His company never stopped doing just that! It’s a unique way to see a city.

At Co van Kessel, there are multiple bicycle tours you can do, varying from 3 to 9 hours. We hop on the bicycle for 5 hours, or well, we also go on the water by boat. With our bicycles, how fun! Make sure to book a tour in the morning for better temperatures.

By Roxanne and Maartje – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

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Intagrammable Bangkok – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , February 23rd, 2019

Intagrammable Bangkok - Once Upon a Journey

As the capital city of Thailand, Bangkok is the perfect city to start your travels in Thailand or elsewhere in Asia. And Bangkok is so much more than just a hub, it’s a city with many things to see and do. From beautiful temples (have you ever seen a dragon temple?) to crazy markets to chaotic streets with tuk-tuks everywhere.

We are huge fans of Bangkok and love exploring the city. We found you the best Instagram spots in the city. Are you ready to see the 13 most Instagrammable places in Bangkok?! Grab your camera + outfit and let’s GO!

AIRPLANE GRAVEYARD

Abandoned places are always a bit creepy, but so cool, don’t you think?! The airplane graveyard in Bangkok is a unique place to visit. Always wanted to sit in a cockpit? This is your chance! There are multiple airplanes you can explore and you can take the coolest pictures. It’s not fully abandoned though, there is a family living in one of the airplanes. Be prepared to pay around 200 baht per person to enter the property. You can get to the airplane graveyard by taxi or by river taxi (way cheaper). Go to Wat Sriboonreun (last stop of the Khlong Saen Saeb), and from there it’s just a short walk.

By Roxanne Weijer – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

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Gay Thailand – Nomadic Boys

Author: , June 27th, 2018

Gay Thailand - The Nomadic Boys

We absolutely love Thailand. It’s one of our favourite places to visit in Asia. It has a mix of the best beaches, beautiful Buddhist culture, temples, and an awesome gay scene in Bangkok.

Thailand is also one of the most visited destinations in Asia for gay travellers. The Thais are extremely welcoming people and have been embracing us for decades. So much so that it is frequently referred to as “The Land of Smiles”, and for good reason.

The capital city, Bangkok is very modern, and a transport hub for destinations in Asia. It also has a large gay scene in Silom which we LOVE. Chiang Mai in the North is the country’s second biggest city. It is located in the mountains, and famous for its temples and outdoor adventure. The Thai islands are popular beach destinations, particularly Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Tao, Koh Lipe and Koh Phi Phi.

This is our Gay Thailand guide, with our favourite things to do and other practical information for LGBTQ travelers.

When to Visit Thailand

Thailand is tropical and hot throughout the year. It has 3 seasons: hot, cold and rainy:

Cold season: between November-February, when temperatures are “only” around mid 20s Celsius (77 F). This is Thailand’s peak season, especially around Christmas, New Year’s and the Chinese New Year in February.

Hot season: between March-June, with temperatures around 30-35 degrees Celsius (86-95 F). This is the shoulder seasons because it’s too hot for some. However, this is also the season for the Sonkgran (Buddhist New Year) gay parties in Bangkok and Phuket.

Rainy season: between June-October. During this time, it does not rain constantly, but there will be periods of intense rain lasting for no more than a few hours. This is the low season, particularly in some of the islands, which get stormy weather, so will shut down most boat services.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

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Forty Eight Hours in Gay Bangkok

Author: , July 26th, 2017

Gay Bangkok

Last year some 21.47 million people descended on Bangkok; officially the most-visited city in the world. And I was one of them. I think my senses are still heightened from the experience. I remember my first, stiflingly hot evening like it was yesterday. On a chaotic street near the backpackers’ paradise of Khao San Road, my friendly guide, saw me admiring bundles of fresh jasmine for sale. Unbeknownst to me, he bought me some.

When, moments later, he presented them to me, I found the act so unexpected and generous (indeed, Thai people are known for such qualities) that, in my jet-lagged state, I got quite emotional. Then, when I inhaled the thick, perfumey scent, my eyes actually glassed over. I know, I know. Embarrassing, right?

Amid the blare of traffic, the swarms of people, the clusters of black wire hanging like crawling roots above me, I discovered a fleeting inner peace. This, of course, was swiftly interrupted by a stray moped, or colorful tuk tuk, or some such distraction. For me, this moment epitomises the intense, meandering energy of the Thai capital, founded in 1782. A staggering metropolis of 8.2 million people, it has a vibrancy and unpredictability that provokes strong emotions. And emotion hangs heavy in the air here, since the death last year of the exalted King Bhumibol Adulyadej after a 70-year reign.

By Jamie Tabberer – Full Story at Gay Star News

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Thailand Temples – The Scruffy Italian Traveler

Author: , December 1st, 2016

Thailand Temples

Thailand Temples are emblematic of the affection of the Thai population to the religion. Over 90% of the Thai inhabitants are devoted to Theravada Buddhism. On the Thai soil there are over 40.000 Buddhist temples, of which over 30.000 are still in use today.

Thai people make use of the Buddhist Thailand Temples as a place of aggregation (not differently from the Western use of the churches), where to pray to Buddha for health or good luck, but also to ask the monks advice about the things of everyday life.

Tourists also love to visit Thailand Temples because of their magnificent and impressive structures. Nonetheless it is always worthy to keep in mind that they are first of all a place of devotion: it is required to dress properly (no vests, or short shorts are allowed) and to behave respectfully.

I had the opportunity to wander around many different Thailand temples, both recent and ancient. If you are interested in discover this religious, and social, side of the Land of the Smile, I would suggest you to visit at least 3 different cities of the country.

By Sergio Scardia – Full Story at The Scruffy Italian Traveler

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What’s New in Gay Bangkok

Author: , September 29th, 2016

mango-tree - gay Bangkok

Innovative craft cocktails, hip vintage shops, authentic Neapolitan pizza, futuristic shopping centers, fourth-wave coffee, efficient sky rail and subway lines, and talented drag queens; we’re not talking about Los Angeles, Seattle, or London here: this is gay Bangkok! I’ve been to this city at least a dozen times since 2005 and its evolution of late reminds me what happened to Shanghai: a proliferation of shiny modern buildings, developments, and efficient infrastructure, at the cost of heritage sites, old-time character, and historic districts.

Gay Bangkok’s world-famous street food strip, Sukhumvit Soi 38 (a handful of Thai restaurants around the world, including in Washington D.C. and Adelaide, Australia, are named after it) saw most of its longtime hawkers forced to evacuate in March when a new condominium tower began construction. Pak Khlong Talad flower market, a centuries-old institution, was largely cleared out in April, and May signaled the end for night market stalls along famed gay nightlife destination, Silom.

“I have mixed feelings about the development,” admits Stuart, a college friend who moved here about 13 years ago when he fell in love with Thailand and a beguiling Thai lawyer. “On one hand, progress and modernization has its benefits, but I also miss the quirkiness, local ingenuity, and sense of community the old markets represent. Soi 38 was hot and sweaty, but it was delicious, cheap, and customers came from all walks of life, from movie stars to construction workers. Same for the now- demolished old Sam Yan market, which sat on top of a MRT subway station.”

By Lawrence Ferber – Full Story at Passport

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Carlos Melia – Taking a Thai Cooking Class

Author: , November 21st, 2015

Carlos Melia - Thailand

After a long night out in Bangkok which began in full luxury and ended up right in the underground scene, I was awake pretty early, with a pounding headache and hangover, but determine to conquer the day ahead, which included an full morning Thai Cooking Class at The Oriental Thai Cooking School of the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, follow by a 3-hours Khlong tour of Bangkok.

So my first stop was shades to conceal the damage of my late night out, and ultra healthy breakfast over an ultra spicy Khao Tom soup to sweat away the many bottles of Champagne I had. After that I was ready to start my day and master the arts of Traditional Thai Cooking.

FullSizeRender-272-1024x768Off I went to the adventure onboard one of the private barges, that would transport me across the Chao Phraya River to The Oriental Thai Cooking School by the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, and to my master of the morning, Chef Narain Kiattiyotcharoen. The dishes, or better I should say the challenge, of the day were: Banana in Coconut Sauce, Steamed Leaf-wrapped prawns with spicy sauce, Green Curry with Chicken and Stir-fried squid with salted egg yolk.

Mastering all these four traditional four dishes would grant me the official certificate of Hands-on Cooking Course – Class II. Now the most daunting part of these all, was being announced that at the end of the class, we would have to eat our own cooking, hosted on a formal lunch at their lovely traditional Thai restaurant Sala Rim Naam… so the pressure was on – and my own health at risk, ha ha ha… But I trusted my Chef blindly.

At their renowned Thai Cookery School people from all over the world have learnt the art of preparing fine Thai cuisine. All participants will learn how to create stunning Thai meals whilst gaining insights into the fascinating culture and traditions of Thailand. During your class, your instructor will skilfully demonstrate the methods and steps of Thai cookery from ingredient preparation to cooking. Class participants will be encouraged to try grounding pastes, chopping up meat and vegetables, stir-frying, deep-frying and stewing food to create dishes of the highest quality and flavour.

Carlos Melia - ThailandFunny enough, our Chef, preferred to begin the menu by the dessert, so off we went to learn and later prepare the first (or should I say last) dish of our traditional Thai menu – Banana in Coconut Sauce. And in between we sampled some, very cute, amuse-bouche. It all looked so simple and easy, but when you start analyzing the amount and local ingredients that Thai cuisine includes, you pray to either, have a staff behind you like Chef Narain Kiattiyotcharoen did, and/or the Mise-en-place correctly done.

Next course, I must say was one of my favorites, and I found it to be quite simple to replicate and enjoyable to prepare. Steamed leaf-wrapped Prawns with Spicy Sauce. And he took some time to teach us the many secrets amd myth around Chili.

Next, a true classic, that almost everyone loves, Green Curry with Chicken. I have sworn to myself and the Gods, that one day before I die, I WILL COOK this dish at home. I promise. Of course, instead of calling the local Thai Restaurant delivery around my corner.

And last was the Stir-Fried Squid with salted Egg Yolk. I think at this point I was so overwhelmed, with my lack of cooking skills, that I decided to put my camera down and listen carefully, ha ha ha … because I do not have a single photo of this last dish at all. SORRY. !!!!!

Such an amazing way to begin my morning and second day in Bangkok. A different approach to learn about this amazing and intriguing culture and country, through the senses and their cuisine. You can book these Cooking Classes regardless being a guest at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, calling this number +66 (2) 659 9000. Have fun and may the Cooking Force be with you.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog

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Carlos Melia – A Night in Bangkok, From Luxury to Underground

Author: , November 19th, 2015

Carlos Melia Bangkok

A night in Bangkok, can begin and end in so many ways…. I am sure you all have heard the stories coming from deep in the Sois. But I have been there and done that, and what I do these days, is to repeat those I have enjoyed the most over the years, and open to discover new ones by the hand of my dear local friends. This was the case of my first night in Bangkok a few days ago, which began in full luxury and molecular Dirty Vodka Martinis at the legendary and recently renovated Bamboo Bar, at the iconic Grand Dame of Bangkok, the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok.

8PM and it was time for me to hit the road, and head one of my favorite classics in Bangkok restaurant scene EAT ME. For some, perhaps not the best restaurant there, but the one that always delivers the best experiences. And BTW it has been awarded Asia’s 50 TOP Restaurants accolade.

For the last 4 years, always at the same time, same table, same lovely companion – superstition, not al all – just the perfect recipe and mix for a marvelous night out. And of course, regardless where I am going and the budget, my choice to move around Bangkok are the Tuk Tuks. I just LOVE to interact with the drivers, and feel/smell Bangkok as we ride.

Dinner was over and it was time to move underground, and for this I trust blindly my local friends. My limits, was one bar an go home. I had arrived that morning to Bangkok after over 30 hours travel and flight on ETIHAD Airways… so between that, the time difference and the jet lag, I was exhausted.

Carlos Melia BangkokBut of course at least twice a year when I visit Bangkok, I want to spend time with this people. So they drove me to the NOVOTEL Hotel, and for a minute I second guessed their choice. As I walked out of our private transportation – yes my local friends travel in style with their own chauffeurs – I said… are you crazy, are you taking me to the bar of the Novotel ?

Of course they were not…. we were coming to the legendary Maggie Choo’s in Silom. If you haven’t been there, I strongly recommend doing it. Of course, with the crowd I roll, we where instantly escorted to our private area and champagne started flowing… more than I did appreciated the following morning. Maggie Choo’s offers a fun decadent-chic Cantonese food – reminiscent of the prohibition era of 1930s Shanghai – and live music nightly in a vintage Chinese setting for a very different and memorable experience.

Background music is good and the dimmed lights successfully recreate a speakeasy atmosphere. Time to call it a night, since the following day I had a very early morning, for a full morning Thai Cooking Class, and I know I would need enough time to get over the upcoming hangover.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog

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Carlos Melia – Khlong Touring in Bangkok Along the Chao Phraya

Author: , November 18th, 2015

Thailand - Carlos Melia

IMG_6059-1024x768On a very hot and humid day, it was quite lovely to go on for a long sail onboard a long-tailed speedboat, along the Chao Phraya River and later penetrate the life along the khlongs of Bangkok, enjoy the breeze and every so often a cold splash of water.

Our tour began right at our host hotel, the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, and from there we went on for approximately 3 hours. This is one of my many visits to Bangkok, but indeed the first time doing the tour of the khlongs, which gives of a totally different perspective of life in Bangkok in the banks of the river and its canals. See and follow my full Instagram Photo Gallery on Bangkok…

Carlos Melia - ThailandA Khlong is the general name for a canal on the central plain of Thailand. These canals are spawned by the Chao Phraya, among other rivers, and their tributaries. The Thai word khlong is not limited to artificial canals.

As we sailed along the Chao Phraya River for 10 minutes, we arrived to our first stop. Wat Arun – Temple of Dawn. A Buddhist temple in the Thonburi west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The temple derives its name from the Hindu god Aruna, often personified as the radiations of the rising sun. Wat Arun is among the best known of Thailand’s landmark.

As we left Wat Arun, we got back onboard our long tailed boats, and this time we left the main water artery of the Chao Phraya River, to enter the Khlongs.

As you sail through, you will immerse yourself in the picturesque riverside scenery, as you drift past stilted wooden homes, floating markets, shops, colonial mansions and all kinds of colourful culture and people along the riverfront.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog

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