Bangkok Chinatown Food Tour (Yaowarat)

One evening in Bangkok I attended a great street food tour of Chinatown.

My good friends know that I don’t show up late to things. I HATE being late so I usually show up at least 15 minutes earlier than needed to any given event. Bangkok broke me in this sense. I underestimated what a time suck it is traveling from location to location in Bangkok and consequently ended up late to my food tour. Despite the warnings and the travel instructions I decided to rely on my judgement on time and google maps for directions. I left super early and got on the sky train. Somewhere the plan goes off the rails and I decide I am going to try to take a bus since it seemed more efficient than taking the metro.

Besides the lines seemed long at the Skytrain….

Isn’t it great how everyone queues up to get on the train?

Not only did I not know what direction I am supposed to go but the bus appears to never show up. So much traffic, so many people, signs not clear. I never see the bus appear.

I finally decide to follow the transportation instructions from the tour. The instructions have me taking the subway. The subway uses a token system. The line to buy a token is super long and half the machines or more are not even working. More time is wasted here.

The wait is forever to buy a token

Once on the metro it is very clean and efficient. It is even in the process of expanding.

Luckily I am only 5 minutes late. It is so unlike me and luckily the group didn’t look too annoyed with my tardiness. Additionally it seems like I wasn’t the only one with travel issues.

Finally I meet with the group leader of the Yaowarat Street Food Tour (Chinatown) from Bangkok Food Tours.

First stop is a look at a Chinese temple near Chinatown. It is a nice little respite from the hustle and bustle of Chinatown.

After a little walking further we are in Chinatown where traffic is non-stop and there is a vegan food festival going on.

Stop .5

Free glass noodle sample as part of vegetarian festival. It is pretty good. I wouldn’t mind trying all the vegan goodies but we have so many good foods awaiting us.

Stop 1

Michelin Doughnuts

First stop is supposed to be dim sum but they are too crowded to hold our group at this time. Instead we start with the Michelin rated street doughnuts (Patonggo). Pa Tong Go Savoey. The uncle who started it is Michelin but we eat at his nephew’s and it also Michelin rated.

The doughnut is fried then grilled and then topping of choice. We choose kaya (pandan coconut custard) dip. I would have liked to have this dessert later but something tells me that I will probably be too stuffed later to enjoy a dessert. Probably good to taste this early.

Stop 2

R & L Seafood (Lek and Rut.). Different name on different days the tour guide tried to explain. The menu is supposedly different depending on who runs the place for the day.

Our tour guide informs us that you never place your silverware directly on the table when eating street food (table could be dirty).

Here we try a few different seafood dishes.

Prawn’s served full body are interesting. One must be able to pop it’s little head off to get to the good stuff.

We are served clams stuffed with shrimp and pork. They are pretty interesting

Crab fried rice is also on the table and doesn’t disappoint (not pictured).

And finally Tom yum (clear broth) with bass. So good. Good lemongrass flavor. This is so far my favorite.

Stop 3

Hua Seng Hong

Sticky bun with melting custard in interior (lava custard bun).

Stop 4

Pepper soup

We are asked if we wanted just crunchy pork or other organs in the soup (tongue, liver, intestines, etc). I order just the pork because I am not feeling adventurous. I learn later I accidentally ate someone’s tongue and pork soup. The soup is so good I didn’t notice I am supposed to be grossed out. Very strong pepper favor. Rice noodles that curve when cooked. It is spicy but manageable. Due to the heat I start sweating even more than I already am.

Stop 5


The pancake is my least favorite food selection: With sugar, nuts, coconut. Did not love that one.

Stop 6

Glutinous dumpling in hot ginger syrup

This is a surprise. I really like the black sesame dumpling in the ginger syrup. Ginger syrup tastes more like ginger tea. It is so good that it is tied with Tom yum for my favorite of the tastings

Stop 7

We finally make it to dim sum at The Canton House.

Pandan colored noodles and a deep fried tofu wrapped pork and shrimp dumpling.

Stop 7.5

Finally it is time for ice cream. We purchase ice cream from a sister team that has been in business forever. I order the lychee and it is marvelous.

lychee ice cream
Group photo

More food stuff is observed by not necessarily sampled. None of us are brave enough to try the bugs.

Durian is not high on anyone’s to try list as well.

More fun along the streets….

Chinatown is lively with all the food stalls, the parades, and I even got a drive by blessing. If I have more time in Bangkok then this street is a definitely a return visit.

Chatuchak Weekend Market – Bangkok

For shopping on the weekend the Chatuchak Weekend Market is the place to go in Bangkok.

Chatuchak is in walking distance to my hostel but I did end up taking the sky train (1 stop) on the way there. I am confused when looking at the map for the exact location and end up initially walking through a local market where old men are selling coins and other antiques. While it is all interesting I am obviously in the wrong market and get some weird looks. Soon I realize the market I am looking for is across the street a little further down.

Chatuchak isn’t one of those floating markets but a huge market that sells almost everything. I stock up on super cheap travel clothes, bags, and souvenirs. You can literally spend the whole weekend there. I had to stage a self-intervention and drag myself out.

Not only can you buy tourist items, clothing, and jewelry but you can also find original artwork at this market. I ended up purchasing a funky little tree painting.

Had some really great pork soup while I am shopping.

Didn’t love the octopus….

Many other food choices however….

The market is a place where people spend the whole day; breaking it up with a tea or beer and some food in the food service area. I would have done so myself but the seating section was already kind of full so I kept walking around. I did stop for an affordable massage though.

While on my way out I did come across street performers and a mini dragon parade….

Like I stated earlier, I am spending way too much money so I force myself to leave.

While walking back to hostel is it always fun to see these signs. It is supposed to be a cafe. I never ended up stopping in but I was intrigued each time I passed by.

I rest after my day of shopping to prepare for my evening food tour.

Bangkok Day 1

View from the Moon Bar Rooftop

My travels have me out of the country for many months. During that time I am due for a teeth cleaning. Some internet forums recommend Thailand as a safe and affordable country to get a cleaning while I am out traveling. I make sure to schedule a dental appointment for an office in Bangkok many months in advance.

My appointment is scheduled the first full day while I am in town. It isn’t hard to get to the office by the skytrain. The train is convenient and even air conditioned but it does not matter, I still sweat profusely every time I am on the train. Between walking up the stairs to the station and the humidity, I can not prevent the sweat.

When I arrive at the office, it is a fancy lobby with free water and WiFi. I fill out my medical and contact information via a PC in the lobby and it is soon time for my appointment.

The doctor is nice and speaks English very well (lucky for me). He notices the excessive wear on my teeth from night grinding (the last couple years have been pretty stressful in my personal life). He suggest an affordable custom made mouth guard that I can pick up in a few days. I decide to go ahead and do it.

Overall it was a pleasant dental experience. The cleaning used modern techniques and the mold done for the bite guard is quick. I only have to remember to wear this new appliance every night.

Moon Bar

Later that day I decide I am going to venture out and check out a rooftop bar that is recommended in online forums.

I take the sky train to the area close by the bar but it is still early. I decide to wander a bit before I go down to the hotel where the bar lives. I end up getting slightly lost by wandering down smaller side streets. It is through these streets that Bangkok comes alive. People go about their business and sell foods and goods right outside where they live. I saw quite a few of these communities in Bangkok.

I finally make it to the Banyan Tree Hotel that hosts the Moon Bar. It is pricey for Bangkok but has pretty views of the city. (Warning this bar has a dress code. It isn’t too strict but I remember that sandals are not allowed. I was allowed in my long shorts though but felt slightly under-dressed).

Electronic Menu
I’m here in time for happy hour
The air is certainly full of smog but it doesn’t block the views, it just makes them a little misty looking.
I order some bar snacks

Since it is fully night time I decide to order a grab taxi for the trip back. It might have been the slowest method back. I soon learn that Bangkok traffic is horrendous and a car is probably the slowest method of getting anywhere. If only I had the courage to order a grab bike!

Arrived in Bangkok

My start to Bangkok couldn’t have been more perfect. I started with some delicious street food. Then spent a hour or so drinking beers in the courtyard and chatting with other travelers while someone played songs on a guitar. And finally got about 10 hours or so of sleep on a comfy loft bed.
Just what I needed after 2 weeks of non-stop travel.

Ari neighbourhood

One of the challenges as an older solo traveler is finding appropriate accomodation. I would like to be price conscious and also stay in a place where it is easy to meet other travelers. Naturally hostels would fit that requirement except I can’t really do the shared room thing anymore. I don’t mind hanging out and chatting in shared living space but I really need to have my own space to unwind every night. (“I’m too old for this”). Some hostels provide private rooms but those are limited and often at a premium, even more than a hotel room sometimes. Fortunately I booked my Bangkok stay pretty far in advance so I was able to reserve a private room at the Yard Hostel in the upscale and hipster Ari neighborhood. It is a little of a splurge for a hostel but I am so glad I did. It was probably the best hostel I stayed at during my travels. The hostel is a short walk to the BTS Sukhumvit line and the area contains many hip restaurants.

I stayed five nights to give myself time to both enjoy Bangkok slowly and to give myself recovery time from my fast pace tour I just finished (Egypt and Jordan).

Loft Bed
The look down

The only bad thing about this hostel is the steep stairs to get up to the bed. If you are afraid of heights you might want to skip this option.

In the common areas people are friendly. Those who worked there also hang out there and get you involved in group conversation if you are a shy loner-type like myself.

In addition the breakfast is included and is very good. I admit I got sick of eating the same thing every day but I think most don’t stay there as long as I did (5 nights).

People were pretty friendly but this cutie wanted nothing to do with me.
Hipster food place outside of hostel.

Delicious Mackerel rice bowl ordered right outside the hostel
Beers were cheap in the hostel

To save money I choose beers at the hostel. It seemed loose and casual in Bangkok, little did I know about all the weird alcohol rules in Thailand. First off there are many dry days in Thailand. Dry days are either religious days or days of political significance. During those days bars are closed and alcohol cannot be purchased. I hit a few of those during my time in Thailand. In addition, you can only buy or be served alcohol between the hours of 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. – midnight on normal days. For some reason I was always craving a drink between 2-5 pm while visiting the country.

Sweating on the subways

Before my visit the pollution levels were dangerously high. The smog didn’t really bug me at all during my visit but the humidity did, even as a Floridian I sweated constantly.
The sky train and metro were both pretty easy to use. Traffic sucks so it is the best way to get around if you can. They have grab (their version of Uber). Used that once when I was too tired to hoof it to public transport. Didn’t use buses. Many people ride on the back of bikes using grab. I was too scared to do so. In fact, I didn’t do my first motorbike trip until much later in Indonesia.

Luckily the trains take me to everywhere I want to go in Bangkok.

Jerash & Madaba Mosaic Map

Arch of Hadrian

Today is our last day of sightseeing in Jordan and we spend it visiting the roman ruins of Jerash and viewing the famous map mosaic at St George’s church.

It seems like the influence of Romans can be seen everywhere and Jerash is Jordan’s largest Roman site.

Normally one can witness chariots race or gladiators in full regalia clash at the Hippodrome. We rushed to the site to see a show but it ended up getting cancelled for some unknown reason. Instead we moved on and visited the other sites.


One site we spent some time at is the south theatre. We marveled at the preservation while a bagpiper and drummer performed.

South Theatre

Temple of Zeus
Temple of Artemis
Example of images destroyed during iconoclast period
Northern Theatre

Later the historical town of Madaba we visit the famous 6th-century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land at St George’s Church. The oldest surviving original cartographic depiction of the holy land. Parts are destroyed but what remains is still a marvel to see.

And this is the end of my trip to Jordan and the group tour. At the time of this posting it has been over 6 months since my trip and I am happy to say my tour group still checks in with each other from across the world via a WhatsApp chat. I feel fortunate I was able to spend my time in Jordan with this group.