An Introvert in Bangkok

An Introvert in Bangkok

Bangkok doesn’t really sound like a destination that attracts introverts. It is noisy, it is chaotic, it is touristy. It is everything an introvert wants to stay away from especially while traveling solo, yet here I was as an introvert in Bangkok. But what made me fall in love with the city? Was it the long traffic jams or the street food?

I had started my trip in Khao Thong, an isolated village in Krabi. Khao Thong is an introvert’s paradise. All you need is a bicycle and the place is all yours to explore. Leaving Krabi was hard. With a heavy heart I flew for Bangkok. Unlike Krabi, I knew what to expect in Bangkok as I am not new to cities now. The traffic. The Honking. Lots of honking. Cars. Buses. Tuk Tuks. I knew what I was jumping into. A 1 hour flight and I was in the middle of the familiar chaos. I just wanted to book another flight and fly back to Krabi. The thought of spending 5 days in Bangkok, waking up to blaring horns instead if chirping birds, was killing me.

But my dream was to chase cities, and that is what I am here for. Bangkok was always there on my list and I wanted to tick it off. So I decided to get over my Krabi Hangover and made my way towards the urban jungle. There is always something melancholic about arriving in new cities, wandering the streets with no destination, an eagerness to know whether the city will accept you or not.

Bangkok is chaotic but I found love in the chaos from Day 1.  I found it in the crowds that did not care and the street food that left me drooling. That is the beauty of cities. It might be a sensory overload at the beginning but it gets exciting as you get used to the beautiful mess. The streets are noisy and the people never really care. It is quite easy for an introvert to blend into the crowd and get lost.

I found solace in Lumpini Park, a 5 min walk from my hostel. This was the only place in Bangkok which did not feel like Bangkok. It was quite and green and in the heart of the city. The place had a peaceful vibe of its own. I spent my first day roaming around the park. Hanging around the park was a good way to carry out the transition between Krabi to Bangkok.

The citylife is fast paced. People whizzed left and right as I sat on a curb in Silom, slowly sipping on my Mango smoothie. Bangkok gives you a lot to see and experience even if you are just taking a walk down the street. The locals slurping on their Pad Thai, the tourists clicking pictures and flocking the 7-11s, the soi cats inspecting a garbage bin, people waiting at the bus stop, each moment weaves its own story.

Eating out in Bangkok was another activity that never disappoints. After many failed attempts to get a good breakfast in Thai hotels, I resorted to street food. I also found that Thai food gives off an unbearable stench, something of a dried fish. That is one reason I stopped going into Thai hotels and food courts.

With every passing day, I discovered new faces of the city and Krabi now seemed like a distant dream. The city started to feel more like home with each tuk tuk ride and with each dish of Pad Thai. I met some really cool people in my hostel who became my travel partners for the rest of my days in Bangkok. During my planning stage, even booking my dorm had put me in a dilemma as my introvert self wanted a 4-bed dorm but the traveler in me wanted a 8-bed one. Finally I had booked the 8 bed Dorm, another great decision. More the people, more lively is Bangkok. I also had my own quirky traveling Flip Flops which is the usual conversation starter.

Hanging out with people who were total strangers often made me question my own introversion. Am I really an introvert or is it just because I am stuck in the wrong place? For those who are lost, there are always cities that feel like home. While the city might accept one individual, it might destroy the other who is not suited for its pace. Only when we travel, will we truly know where we belong in this world. Which city accepts us and which rejects.

By the end of my trip I had found what I was looking for in Bangkok. I found it in the street food and the tuk tuk rides. I found it in the wilderness of a concrete jungle, in its beautiful chaotic cells that somehow worked in sync. I found it on the intricate carvings decorating the Temples and in the never ending maze of the Chatuchak Market. The energetic vibe of Khao San to the smooth boat-ride over the Chao Phraya River, the city had it all. The city had everything I wanted to fall in love with.

Krabi surprised me…..and so did Bangkok, in its own urban way.

87 thoughts on “An Introvert in Bangkok

  1. I am also an introvert and I must be honest that Bangkok is still not my favourite city in the world. I do agree about the peacefulness of Lumpini Park and the lovely streetfood tough. Thai food is so nice.

    1. I can agree with that. Cities can be overwhelming but I met some cool people to hangout with which made me love the city. Not sure how it would be if I was alone.

  2. I really enjoyed Bangkok the first time I visited but the 2nd & 3rd time i visited a few years later I wasn’t keen. Am not sure why, maybe it was because it was because I had seen everything on the first trip or it seemed more developed, the waterfront area especially. Am not really a city person and maybe this is why, I have travelled a lot more since my first visit. It’s a great city and I guess I will be back there, just not sure next time I will choose to spend any more time there.

  3. You might need to come up with a new word to describe yourself…hmmmm hostel extrovert, regular people introvert…I don’t know, it needs work. But I do agree that travelers are easy to talk to. It must be that commonality of being alone in such a big place. I, too, love Bangkok…and all its chaoticness!

  4. I am very introverted myself too but I find that I am way more outgoing when I am traveling or living abroad. It’s really strange lol

  5. On temporary assignment with my husband in Thailand for three years. I have found Thailand to be a nation of lovely introverts. I almost feel like I fit in here better than at home in the US.

  6. Many a times when your are traveling alone and in a big city, a streak of melancholia does envelop you. In the huge crowds you do start feeling a bit lonely. But these very cities offer a kind of different solitude wherein you can lose yourself in the crowds.

  7. Really enjoyed this thoughtful piece – I definitely wouldn’t have thought of Bangkok as a place for introverts, but it sounds like you found your own place there, and your own peace too, of a sort. Like the sound of Lumpini Park as the city itself sounds like it might be too much for me, but you never know (especially after reading this)….

  8. Awesome post, loved the pics! I’m not an introvert but if Bangkok being a crazy city gives this awesome experience to introverts, I’m sure I’m gonna love it! … can’t wait to go and taste the Pineapple Rice, looks so deli!

  9. LOVE reading posts about places I have ever even thought about traveling to! Love your spin on how it is a great place for introverts!

    XOXO, Kylie

  10. I think I would enjoy the same things as you while doing a trip like this. I’m not really an introvert, but I don’t like the rush and ‘vibe’ of a big city.. I’m especially curious about the Bangkok-street food! I’ve heard a lot of (good!) stuff about it!

  11. AH you made me miss Bangkok so much. I was there last November and I loved it! First I didnt know what to expect especially that it was my first time in Azja! I am definitely not a introvert so it was just perfect city for me 🙂

  12. I think we can all be introverts or extroverts when we need to be. Sounds like you found a way to really enjoy Bangkok. We haven’t been yet, but it high on the list (mostly because I want to have some dental work done, and it is cheaper to go to Bangkok even with our flights). This is good to read, as I am not a fan of crowds, or of loud cities. However, I am a big fan of street food and I love Pad Thai.

  13. Bangkok is one of those cities that you either love or hate.
    I love it. So much happens there. Street food is the best. People watching whilst sitting quietly in a corner somewhere never fails to please.
    As you say Lumpini Park is good for a place to retreat to if the city gets too much.

  14. I’m an introvert and love big cities. In my opinion, they are well-suited to introverts because there is anonymity in a large city. You are just one in a crowd with zero pressure to interact with anyone unless you want to.

  15. Love this. I will say that Bangkok is the first city that overwhelmed me a little. It was crazy hot, and the chaos of the city was all around me. But I learned to love the craziness. Plus, like you said, there are pockets of quiet among the crowds where you can find peace…at least for a few minutes!

  16. Bangkok is an ultimate city to visit, infact I love being to this city every time I visit for a business meet. Up to the mark, be the travel places, people, food, weather.
    And loved the pictures Gokul.

  17. So glad that you enjoyed your time in Bangkok and found what you were looking for – I was going to say when I read your intro, that being an introvert in a crowded noisy, chaotic city can actually be quite comforting, I’ve found anyway, because as you said later on, you can blend into the crowd and enjoy the atmosphere while going unnoticed. But the people I’ve met while traveling have been so amazing, and I feel that relationships you make on the road really pull you out of your shell and make you feel like you belong 🙂

    Happy travels! Bangkok is a great city!

  18. I can definitely see why an introvert would have a hard time facing up to Bangkok. Like you said, it is noisy and alive. But it looks like you did a great job embracing the madness and finding where you fit in.

  19. A great piece of article and I really enjoyed reading it and your pictures are amazing. My best friend is an introvert and I can relate to most of the things introverts face. Yes Bangkok can be challenging for an introvert but I am glad that you had a good time in Bangkok.

  20. I will never forget my 1st time in bangkok…. when they say “spicy”, they’re NOT kidding. LOL… BUT glad you had fun in this beautiful and chaotic city, AMAZING THAILAND!!!

  21. Bangkok was certainly an assault on the senses the first time I visited – so busy, so chaotic – and not being much of a people person, I struggled. But travel is all about adapting – and Bangkok certainly gives you a push with that. I liked Lumphini Park for its tranquility too – and the street food always seemed to be a highlight of each day whilst I was getting my bearings!

  22. Cool flip flops! Are they comfy? Apart from this, I need to check Lumpini Park next time I go to BKK, it looks like a great place for a warm day!

  23. Thailand has earned the reputation of being the “Backpacking hub: of Southeast Asia, which explains the volume of tourists no matter the season. It has also become a hotspot for the digital nomads because of the impressive internet connection speed it has. But hey, you can always come back for the unknown grandeur of Thailand in the north side; the introvert in you will surely rejoice! Xx

  24. Nice that you could have good time in Bangkok even if you are not into talking with all people at all times. Thai capital is rather crazy – I am am sure the smaller islands were more your cup of the tea!

  25. That’s the great thing about travel – pushing your boundaries. I especially love this solo traveling. I moved to Malaysia and had a thrill figuring out how to make it work all on my own.

  26. I would love to visit Bangkok, I’m also an introvert and I’m always afraid of huge crowds, so I’m also a bit afraid to go there, but your article covinced me to overcome my fears 🙂

  27. That’s a beautiful, vibrant city! Bangkok is among the cities that we want to visit if we get the chance to travel abroad. That pineapple rice bowl looks interesting. And you had us at those grassy slippers. Won’t that tickle your feet?

  28. I think I am a mix between an introvert and extrovert. I found bangkok very overstimulating and tiring though I was only there for a few days so maybe I didn’t give it a fair shot. This was almost 10 years ago, I bet it has changed so much. Thanks for the insightful post 🙂

  29. Thailand and specifically Bangkok are high on our list of places to see. The urban jungle like you say. We would probably not stay in the city too long and venture outside to the parks and beaches and temples. We would like to try the food scene though as we love Pad Thai. Thanks for sharing.

  30. Your expertise is really helpful – I wouldn’t have thought that Bangkok would be suitable for introverts, but it is like London in many respects – there is so much going on and so many crowds that you really can blend in seamlessly!

  31. I am glad you loved the city and were able to meet people and enjoy despite being an introvert. Life throws us in many situations and we learn and grow from it in ways we least expected!

  32. You are an extroverted introvert. I love the nice encounter of event. Is Thai food that fishy? I mean the smell and all? Then your flip flops . I like your blog.

  33. Not a huge fan of cities but I feel like it’s definitely an experience to go to Bangkok! Were those sandals made out of real grass?!? Definitely a good conversation starter!

  34. Introverted person here too, but traveling has its way of making yourself more socialble among kindred souls and Bangkok provides plenty of those amazing opportunities.

  35. Bangkok is one those amazing cities that beckon you again and again for multiple reasons – it’s overwhelming in the beginning, but before you know you would be in love with the city. I wouldn’t mind going back there any number of times!

  36. I am an introvert. I have not visited Bangkok yet but I’d do it someday. I am sure that there places there which are not that crowded and noisy like the Lumpini Park. I try to be social when I travel because I know that it is part of the adventure and embracing new cultures.

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