Author’s note: This was originally written by yours truly for Our Awesome Planet back in 2017; revised & reused for keeps.
I’m really, really over the moon to be publicizing the mad crazy mini-break my best friends & I had last September 2016 — my first ever out of the country trip and boy was it legendary!
Warning: If you’re looking for a travel guide… THIS IS NOT IT.
First things first, let me talk about the wholesome bits of our shenanigans, and my everlasting love for curry.
An adventure in flavor; everyone needs to experience in this lifetime, at least once, the fresh aromas and heavenly spices that make Thai food—and Thailand, itself—phenomenal!
After what seemed like an endless journey — a 3-hour flight from MNL to KUL, a 9-hour layover in Kuala Lumpur, a 2-hour early morning flight to Phuket, plus we paved the traffic jam for almost 2 hours… “Sà-wàt-dee kâ,” said the owner of Patong Backpackers Hostel, well-known as Mama, cheerfully, the moment we arrived.
“We have finally arrived, b*tches!!!”
Just kidding, we didn’t announce that. Or maybe we did. But we definitely were too tired to function, so we checked in, re-charged a little, then strolled down Bangla Road to fill our growling bellies.
The world of Thai (street) food can be an exciting, if occasionally bewildering, place. A handful of stalls offer tasty traditional favorites that will demand little of your time and even less of your hard-earned money.
Thai food after Thai food after Thai food. I swear time flies SO fast when you’re having fun, especially when you constantly eat throughout the day. I don’t know about you, but during this whole trip, we asked one another again and again: “Soooo, where to eat?” first thing in the morning, and “what’s for breakfast?” even though we just had dinner, and “I know it’s late but, do you guys wanna go out for some midnight snacks (e.g. Curry & rice, or Shawarma)?”
Wandering the streets of Thailand, no matter which region, makes a great diverse gastronomic paradise experience. Every area is filled with everything; from snacks, to sit-down meals, to fancy schmancy restaurants.
Here’s a list of my top 5 favorite Thai food:
- Green Curry Chicken
You can never go wrong with the mighty Green Curry; most especially those who love spicy food like me. Aromatic, creamy & extremely tasty chicken dish – it packs a flavorful punch on its own.
- Yellow Curry Crab
While high spice levels may be intimidating for some, there’s Yellow Curry Crab to save the day. The flavors of seafood & curry are rich and perfectly balanced which makes it so irresistible.
- Pad Thai
Noodles toss and sizzle in the pan and the smells of fresh lime, crushed peanut and chilli waft into the night market air. Or should I say, everywhere. You never truly experience Thailand without the perfect balance of Pad Thai’s sweetness and spiciness on your dining table.
- Tom Yum
One of the more mainstream Thai food essentials. Every street food stall serves a tangy, steaming Tom Yum soup full of lemongrass, galangal, and oodles of vegetables. Tom Yum’s sweetness, lemony sourness, spiciness never fails to amaze me. Perfect for hangover chow, or even after long hours on the road.
- Mango Sticky Rice
I know we also have sticky rice with mango and coconut milk in the Philippines. But their version has a very distinct flavor, it makes one squee. Yummy!!!
Now I must admit, with all honesty, that our few days in Phuket were made of Chang, late night juicy Shawarma filled with grated cheese, Bangla girls dancing lazily on top of tables, epic fail island hopping, watered-down tequila shots, and after-party Green Curry Chicken cravings satisfied.
I guess I’ll just have these photos (© Renz Pangilinan) speak for themselves.
All I can say is, Phuket was WILD — even for us, or the kind of people we were back then, so….that says A LOT.
We reached Bangkok at around 5:00 in the afternoon, on our fourth day, and couldn’t wait to go shopping at the Night Bazaar and *DRUM ROLLS* eat Thai street food, of course! Ano pa nga ba?
We scoured the bustling street near our hostel, Happy Three Friends Hostel. Finding very affordable yet delicious Thai street food all over Bangkok amazed me! Some places are pop-up food stalls on trolleys, while others serve fresh and tasty Thai food on small tables by the pavement.
Dinner time rolled around, and we sat ourselves down inside a small-scale eatery. We could get a whiff of the curry and I thought, “I’m never going to get hangry in this country” while looking at the menu, thinking of what I hadn’t tried yet.
If you think we were done overusing our livers at this point, you are absolutely wrong. We kinda went overboard, and then everything kinda went downhill from there.
But worry not, we did survive all the batshit crazy things—A.K.A. the wait what I did that?! moments—my best friends & I will certainly remember until we’re old and senile.
THE Formation must go on, so we went straight to a Buddhist temple complex in the Phra Nakhon District, and visited one of Bangkok’s oldest temples known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha or Wat Poh.
“Two things you will never have to chase:
True friends, & true love.”
— Mandy Hale
Looking back, who would’ve thought that three years after this trip, each of us would be on our own wonderful journeys, in different countries, and Thailand was actually our pre-game for many more great things that were about to come?
Also, how lucky am I to have these incredible humans in my life?
From when YOLO was our thing, to adulting.
P.S. I’m so proud of us! Buuuut, where to next? Or better yet, saan tayo kakain?