Bangkok: City of Medicine

I mentioned in my previous post that I recently spent 36 hours in Bangkok, capital city of Thailand. The translation of the Thai name for the city (which is a huge long unpronounceable to foreigners word) is “City of Angels”, and yes I believe it is (not forgetting that there are both light and dark angels!).

Bangkok as seen from the Chao Phraya River
Bangkok as seen from the Chao Phraya River

There are many reasons why I love this city. Friendly people, 24 hour attitude, great bars, amazing food, amazing street food, great markets, abundance of fresh fruit, Buddhist monks on every corner, general vibe and 101 other reasons aside it is, in part, because it is a city of medicine. How can it be with all those people, all that trash, all that pollution I imagine you are wondering. Well for a start massage parlours are ubiquitous, and no I am not talking about happy endings here. Of course there is the seedy side to Thailand, to Bangkok, but Thai massage is an ancient art and healing system that originated over 2500 years ago in India. Massage is a part of the culture and is used as a preventative medicine as much if not more so than for remedial purposes. It is so accessible and at around £5 for an hour or £2 for 1/2 an hour you would be crazy to not set aside time every day you are in the city to be stretched and have your circulation and lymphatic system given a wee boost. In my 36 hours I plumped for a 1 hour full body traditional massage, and just before I left for the airport at midnight a 1/2 hour foot massage (as I said it is truly a 24 hour city).

typical shopping street in Banglampu, Bangkok
typical shopping street in Banglampu, Bangkok

What I came back from my short stay with was a bag full of amazing shopping. Not fake designer handbags, or pirate DVDs, not shoes or jeans, HERBS! Yep my favourite thing.

So just to show off some of my best buys and inspire you in case you are heading out that way any time soon…

Kaffir lime leaves
Kaffir lime leaves

These kaffir lime leaves are exceptionally fragrant, you will never get anything like this at home. This small sized Kilner jar was over filled with the bag I purchased for about 70p.

 

 

 

 

Dried lemongrass
Dried lemongrass

This huge bag (180g) of dried lemongrass came in at 38Baht, approximately 80p. Despite how much I love it in my home blended herbal teas this will be enough to last more than a year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

gogi berries
gogi berries

For gogi berries I usually jump on a ferry to take me up the Chao Phraya river to China Town, however I was lucky enough to find a supplier in Banglampu where I usually stay. I propbably paid over the odds but still I got 350g for 100Baht, or around £2. I think you would be looking at double the quantity for that price in China town, unfortunately time was against me this trip. Incidentally the Thai name for gogi is very similar, just say it slowly and with a few hand gesticulations you will get there.

So on top of the Kampot red pepper and dried mango I had purchased in Cambodia and all the different seaweeds and dried mushrooms I brought in the supermarket in Bangkok I came back to the UK a very happy shopper; feeling both kissed and blessed by my micro-mini break in the city of angels and medicine 🙂

 

If you want to know more about Thai massage, or live in the Stroud (Gloucestershire, UK) area and fancy giving it a try click here…

 

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