48 Hours in Bangkok: Food Poisoning and Photography

One of my favorite parts of being based in Cambodia is that I can jet off to amazing Southeast Asian destinations on a whim.   So when Aaron and I found out that one of our very favorite college friends was going to be in Bangkok on business we immediately booked two plane tickets to Thailand.

I’m not typically a fan of taking quick trips.  But seriously when you have the chance to hang out with an old friend in one of Southeast Asia’s greatest cities, you take it.  So last Friday I found myself traveling to Bangkok for a whirlwind 48-hour trip.

We really didn’t have anything on our agenda aside from catching up with a friend whom we hadn’t had the opportunity to see in nearly five years.  We didn’t do much, but we had an absolute blast doing it.  And all I can say is that after nearly two years since my last visit to the city, it was good to be back.

Since I first traveled to Southeast Asia in 2006, I’ve pretty much always used Bangkok as a gateway to the region.  Bangkok is the very first city I ever visited in Southeast Asia.  And for that reason it will always hold a special place in my heart, even if it does give me food poisoning from time to time.  I’ve now traveled to Bangkok about a dozen times for one reason or another.  Even still, whenever I touch down in that city I’m always filled with the same excitement I experienced when I first visited in my early 20s.

This time around our trip was filled with spending quality time with our friend and pretty much just being total tourists.  We ordered beer towers during the wee hours of the morning on Khao San Road.  We became regulars at one of the famous VW bus bars.  We ate banana pancakes and pad thai.  And we went shopping at the Chatuchak Weekend Market.

48 Hours in Bangkok: A Tale of Food Poisoning and Photography - Travel Lush
The culprit?

Aside from the fact that all three of us came down with some sort of ailment – damn you street food! – our jaunt to Bangkok was one for the books.  But because I’ve spent the better part of the past week laying in bed, trying my best not to throw up, I’m going to make this post more of a photo-oriented one.  Because when you’re suffering from a mysterious tropical malady – no matter how minor – writing blog posts becomes infinitely more challenging.

So here’s some Bangkok prettiness for all of you to enjoy!

Up Close and Personal at the Chatuchak Weekend Market

48 Hours in Bangkok: A Tale of Food Poisoning and Photography - Travel Lush

48 Hours in Bangkok: A Tale of Food Poisoning and Photography - Travel Lush

Bangkok cityscapes

48 Hours in Bangkok: A Tale of Food Poisoning and Photography - Travel Lush

48 Hours in Bangkok: A Tale of Food Poisoning and Photography - Travel Lush

Beauty in the details

48 Hours in Bangkok: A Tale of Food Poisoning and Photography - Travel Lush

48 Hours in Bangkok: A Tale of Food Poisoning and Photography - Travel Lush

48 Hours in Bangkok: A Tale of Food Poisoning and Photography - Travel Lush

Where to stay: I almost always use Agoda when I travel.  The  D Varee Diva Bally Sukhumvit Hotel seems is a decent budget option.  A double goes for roughly $30 and it has a pool which is always a plus!

Have you ever come down with a mysterious illness during your travels?  Do tell!

About Justine

Justine Lopez is a California native who always seems to take the unconventional route in life. She also suffers from a serious case of wanderlust. In 2013, she set out on a yearlong round-the-world journey and never looked back. Since then she's lived the expat life in both Jakarta and Phnom Penh. She's now living and working as a freelance writer in Beijing. As she meanders her way through Asia she's always seeking out great vegetarian food, budget travel deals and amazing new travel destinations.

33 thoughts on “48 Hours in Bangkok: Food Poisoning and Photography

  1. This post made me miss Bangkok so hard. Seriously can’t wait to return next year!! When I lived in Thailand, I visited Bangkok frequently. The first half of my year there, I was always exploring and looking for new places to visit. The second half, I did exactly what you did — eat, markets, VW buses and chilling with friends. It was always THE BEST, and will always be one of my favorite cities for that reason. Still haven’t gotten food poisoning in Bangkok (although Phnom Penh has gotten me!).
    Katie recently posted…Week by Week 7: Broome is Blurry

    1. That’s so cool you have such a long history with Bangkok. I only wish I knew the city better. I’m only ever there for a few days at a time but it’s always a city that I really enjoy. I’m so excited that I get to go back next month for TBEX 🙂

  2. Lovely photos, Justine! Sorry to hear about the food poisoning, and I hope you feel better soon! I had food poisoning from something in Siem Reap – either the lunch I had during my visit around the Angkor temples, or from a bag of Doritos that I drunkenly decided to share with half a dozen or so random tuk tuk drivers and other various people on the street at like 3am one night. Ugh.
    Ashley recently posted…Expat in Edinburgh: Month 4

  3. I know that there are people who exist who hate Bangkok, but for me it has always been love at first sight (or should that be taste?). During our time in Asia, I think Tony & I visited it 4 time and wound up spending about a month total there across all of our visits, and I know that we’ve only seen such a small part of the city. What I love about Bangkok is that it’s a city where I feel absolutely no guilt in simply wandering around, ignoring all the main tourist attractions, and just eating everything I can. 🙂 I’m sorry to hear that something you ate has left you feeling so sick—Thailand is one of the few countries we visited that never gave us tummy trouble, but after suffering for over a month here in Mexico after eating something dodgy, I know how miserable food poisoning can be. I hope you feel better soon!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted…When 2 Become 1: Lessons Learned Traveling Solo in California

    1. After reading your comment I realized that the only country I’ve had really bad food poisoning in is Thailand (oh and the US)! Both Aaron and I got REALLY sick when we first kicked off our 12-month trip in Railay, Thailand. Uncontrollably vomiting in the street in broad daylight because you can’t make it to a bathroom is not fun 🙁 Ugh, sorry to hear that you got so sick in Mexico. That’s awful that it lasted for a month 🙁

  4. My (now) husband and I got suddenly ill in Mandalay, Myanmar. The only thing we can think of that might have made us sick was the milk we put in our tea that morning. Luckily, a quick trip to a local doctor and chemist for some magical medicine, and we were right the next day. That’s the only time we got really sick!

    1. Oh no, getting sick on the road is the worst. I’m just glad it didn’t really hit me until I got back home. Hmm, I wonder what that magical medicine was! I need to travel with some of that at all times 🙂

    1. I know, right? It wasn’t the worst I’ve ever experienced by a long shot, but it’s a bummer that all three of us got sick! Luckily it didn’t hit me until the last day so I was definitely able to enjoy my short visit to Bangkok.

  5. Looking at your photographs, I soooo miss Bangkok! I’m so sorry that you were ill. It really sucks.

    I have been ill while abroad and it wasn’t pleasant. I’ve had food poisoning in India (hardly a surprise) but it was so awful that my skin colour actually turned grey and everybody noticed! The worst bout of illness though was when I travelled to Vietnam. I took Aeoroflot (Russian Airline) and as soon as I got in the plane in Moscow, I knew it was going to be a problem ‘cos of the air-conditioning. It was far too high so I picked up a cold. I was in Vietnam for almost a month and I couldn’t shake that cold off as it was the beginning of monsoon and the weather was pretty humid.

    I had spouts of a running fever, coughing and painful headaches and I didn’t trust the local medication or doctors so I stuffed myself with paracetemol until I got back to Germany where I was ill for a week.

    I had a great time in Vietnam though LOL!
    Victoria@ The British Berliner recently posted…Remember that time when……Tales of Disaster!

    1. Oh my gosh. That sounds terrible Victoria!! I love that you still managed to have such a good time in Vietnam 🙂 I feel pretty lucky that I’ve never gotten scarily sick while traveling. I only ever had really bad food poisoning in Thailand one time a couple years ago. (What is it with me and Thailand?) Other than that it’s just been your average stomach issues and colds. Ugh, but while Aaron and I were traveling in Cuba years ago he got what we think might have been dengue. That was really scary. We were in a tiny town, where he was bedridden with a really high fever for two weeks. I had no idea what to do…looking back I should have taken him to the hospital. Oops!! Luckily he turned out to be okay 😉

  6. Ugh, being sick sucks. That laying still feeling is the worst, so glad you were able to get home without too much…adventure. I will say that I love weekend traveling. Living in a hub, it’s just so freaking easy! Last month I went to Paris for 24 hours, because it’s there and we can. It’s nice to not be limited to big epic journeys but to also sprinkle in some smaller trips to see friends!
    Julie recently posted…Two Years in London – Part One

    1. Yeah, when you feel so sick you can’t even watch TV it sucks! I think both of us are really lucky to be based in cities that are so close to so many other amazing cities. Back in the US I could never say I’m going to Bangkok or Bali for the weekend. But now I can and do 🙂

  7. Bangkok was the first city I visited in SE Asia too! I still love that city, so jealous of your pad thai and banana pancakes, but not so much about the food poisoning. Any idea what caused it? Did you get mango sticky rice? That was my all time favorite dish ever in Thailand. I’d love to go back, but flights are SO LONG from the US. 🙂
    Katie recently posted…Day Trip From Las Vegas: Valley of Fire State Park

    1. I’m not sure what caused it. I think it was the restaurant on Khao San where all three of us ate during the very first night. That had to be it because we all got sick. I didn’t have any mango sticky rice this time around but I will definitely get some when I go back in a couple weeks. Ah man, I so wish you were going to TBEX Katie!!

    1. Yes, that’s a good rule for eating street food. Now that I think of it I think it was a restaurant that we ate at. It’s the only place we all ate…and we all got sick! It definitely wasn’t the cleanest place. Oh well!

    1. Haha, I take pictures of every cat I see. I love cats. I torture them by running after them with my camera 😉 I highly recommend Chatuchak Market. It’s enormous. Plus, it’s kind of fascinating because parts of it have become super gentrified. You’ll see what I’m saying when you go!

    1. This one was pretty minor (luckily!). But it still wasn’t fun just feeling like I was going to throw up every time I moved 🙁 Just happy it didn’t really hit me until I was back in PP!

  8. Justine – you are such an adventure seeking person – love your spirit – my big adventure was moving from California to Idaho…lol….its going to be 1 degree here tonight…that sucks, especially when your dad brags about how wonderful it is in Del Mar. Love your cat pictures – the rest are beautiful too. We lost our precious dog Foster just before we moved early September but still have our 20 pound cat Luigi….he is pretty funny. We sold our 1 acre property in Rigby and moved into Ammon which is right next to Idaho Falls where Don was born 77 years ago – yikes – he is old but then again, I am 72 so look who is talking. Anyway – God speed on your travels – stay safe and try not to get sick on the food…..lol

    1. Hi Gloria!!!! It’s so great to hear from you 🙂 Wow, it is so funny how different our weather situations are! It’s about 95 degrees here but it feels so much hotter! I’m so, so sorry to hear about Foster 🙁 But it sounds like Luigi is a lot to handle 😉 I hope all is well with you and Don. Stay warm!

  9. Love the pictures!

    It is always a good idea to go to Bangkok, explore the food and revisit Chatuchak market – my fav all the time.

    Sorry about your experience on getting food poisoning. You need to be extra careful on eating street food in Southeast Asia. Locals are used to it – that’s why they are fine after eating. However, can’t agree more with you about the taste!

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