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At the Heart of Bangkok

It's been a while since I last explored Bangkok; I liked the city during my first visit. The bustling and vibrant city was a mix of old and new. The towering buildings and the neon lights of the shopping centers mixed with the old and royal structures. The tuktuks raced with the latest cars, and the old neighborhoods were next to the commercial districts. Walking around Bangkok was like entering a time warp.

For this trip, our group was shown a different side of the city that I didn't see in my previous trips.

The Heart of the City

Our group joined a tour organized by Hivesters, where they showed us a different side of the city. Our whole group was divided into smaller teams. The tour took us through different challenges and provided us an opportunity to see the small communities that are an important part of Bangkok's culture and success. Things quickly got competitive as the organizers told us that there would be scoring for each segment and the winners get a prize.

The first challenge was learning how to cook pad thai, a favorite of foreigners and locals alike. We were taken to a small restaurant (something like a carinderia back home), while a local demonstrated how to make one.

Hannah and Gael were my teammates during the cook off.

Pad Thai was relatively easy to cook and prepare (I wasn't the one cooking but that was what it seemed like). Our masterpiece of a dish was completed in a few minutes.

After cooking pad thai, our leader took us through alleys that reminded me so much of home, but there was a certain something and vibrancy in them. It contrasted with the towering buildings and glitzy shopping centers that people associate with Bangkok.

After eating pad thai, we were taken to another local eatery (Aung Hong Thai Dessert Shop) that specialized in making desserts and snacks. Aunt Hong prepared the food that she has been doing for decades. One can't help but taste a part of her story when you take a bite of her offerings, her food has soul.

The small alleys that wind through the main streets and buildings of Bangkok had a vibrancy to it, unlike the squalor I see back home and the poorer parts of Southeast Asia. The hustle and bustle of the big city was alive here.

After experiencing Bangkok's food scene, the organizers showed us another aspect of the country's culture that they want to preserve. Some artisans want to preserve a different form of art that is slowly dying and forgotten. They showed us how some of the locals make ornaments they use for religious ceremonies and practices.

We were then taken to a local (Auntie Kanya) that taught and performed a local dance that they want to preserve.

Auntie taught us basic steps and hand movements used in the dance.

These words from Pum Khentong of Hivesters resonated with me:

“I mean our people today, this new generation, they don’t care much about our culture, because they feel like it’s not very important. What they are looking for is like they are running after westerners. This is the reason why, our dance, our traditional dance is dying, the new generation doesn’t want to do that because it is difficult for them to practice. Once this generation passes away, this will disappear from our culture too. The best way to preserve is to introduce the culture and rituals to the new generation and another thing we can do is introduce to the tourists because the tourists can speak out to the world how beautiful beautiful Thai culture is.”

This reminds me of what is happening back home, some are turning back on their culture and way of life to survive or pursue more lucrative careers. In Thailand, Hivesters is doing their part in trying to keep their local culture by showing visitors and locals alike a different perspective of the city's past and present.

The local communities are the heart and soul of the city, despite the developments that Bangkok has undergone, they soldier on and do their best to preserve their culture. The city is an interesting mix of past, present and future, its corners and alleys have their own history and story to tell.

After the tour, the organizers declared our group as the winner after tallying the scores. We didn't expect to win, but we did and got freebies!

Hivesters Contact Details

Website: https://hivesters.com
Tel : (+66) 099 708 5695
Email: info@hivesters.com 

Taking a Bite Out of Thailand

Thailand is a well-known food country, where foreigners discover the country through its dishes, whether it is in a fancy restaurant or a street stall. During our trip, the organizers provided us different local specialties that stimulated our taste buds and took us on a culinary adventure.

Thailand is a beautiful country that has plenty to offer, for those looking for something different, delicious food and amazing landscapes.

DISCLAIMER: This trip was a part of the itinerary during my 5 days trip in Thailand sponsored by Thai Airways and Tourism Authority of Thailand.

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