Alex and Chickpea Do Korea

Alex and Chickpea Do Southeast Asia: Breakdancing B-Boys in Bangkok [video]

Our first night in Bangkok, Chickpea and I decided to check out infamous Khao San Road. For those of you who didn’t see “The Beach,” Khao San Road is the main hub of backpackers and young tourists in Bangkok. Not surprisingly, this has also made it the epicenter of Thai kitsch and a kind-of counter culture-themed tourist trap. Fortune tellers, palm readers, beggars, scammers, tattoo artists, and a diaspora of people hawking college humor T-shirts, hippie accouterments and roasted scorpions, line every inch of this 4-block-long road.

Luckily, we escaped to a little mall hosting, of all things, a breakdancing tournament. Dozens of Thai b-boy bands battled each other for dance supremacy. Here’s a video montage of some of the best performances:

 

Alex and Chickpea Do Korea

Alex and Chickpea Do Southeast Asia: A street food lunch in Bangkok, Thailand [video]

Yes, you finally made it to Bangkok after several hours on a sub-par Air Asia flight without a meal. But before embarking on your first tuk-tuk ride, or strolling through a golden wat, or catching your first Muay Thai fight, you must eat.

Luckily, no matter where you’ve ended up in the city, there’s a cart full of food on the corner. It smells good, it looks even better and it’s cheap.

Foodies have written whole books and filmed entire TV shows on the joys of street food in Thailand, so we won’t delve too deep here. This is a video of just one lunch — dare I say the best of our trip — easily and inexpensively collected near the U.S. Embassy. Enjoy!

Alex and Chickpea Do Korea

Alex and Chickpea Do Southeast Asia: Muay Thai fights in Bangkok [video]

Experiencing a Muay Thai fight is one of the must-dos when visiting Bangkok. Muay Thai is called the “Art of Eight Limbs” and limbs were certainly flying in this shortened series of matches at Ratchadamnoen Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. This video also features the traditional Wai Kru pre-fight dance, something you won’t find at a MMA event.

A few tips if you want to catch a boxing match in Bangkok:

1) Buy your tickets from the ticket booth. The Muay Thai fights are one of the more expensive entertainment options in Bangkok. We paid the equivalent of $30US a ticket for seats on a concrete slab behind a fence. The better seats can go up to $60US. So don’t take chances. Ignore the ladies in red or green vests in front of the building; they may look official, but they’re not.

2) Bring some snacks and beer. A series of matches typically run about 3-4 hours, and sometimes consists of lots of yelling, so you’re bound to get hungry and/or thirsty. Not surprisingly, the small concessions stand at the stadium is overpriced and not conveniently located near the cheap seats. But you are allowed to bring in outside snacks and drinks.

3) Don’t talk too much smack. The vast majority of Muay Thai fighters are teenagers and often weigh under 120 lbs. They look a little laughably skinny to be boxing, but don’t be mistaken: They are pure muscle. The last match I saw pit a white guy from the U.S. against a younger, skinnier Thai. The match lasted about 20 seconds, with the U.S. fighter knocked out cold.

Alex and Chickpea Do Korea

Alex and Chickpea Do Korea: Bangkok in Pictures

A pictorial look at our recent trip to Bangkok, one of the most dynamic cities we’ve ever visited. Of course, the photos do not do this dynamic city justice. With pictures, you can’t smell all the sweet, spicy street food emanating from dozens of street stalls or taste the richness of a thai ice coffee with coconut milk. You can’t feel how it is to ride in that glorified go-cart called a “tuk-tuk” — wind in your hair, eyes level to the bumpers of oncoming traffic. And you definitely can’t experience the feeling of exploring this paradoxical city, which blends thousand-year-old temples with the most modern skycrapers and shopping malls, intense spirituality with the sin of Soi Cowboy.

But hopefully it gives you some idea.