By MANISHA AHLAWAT
Bangkok is a city where you need to let go of whatever is holding you back and let your hair down.
The city epitomises freedom and fun. You must step out in the streets and try the sticky rice and mango treats. You must hop on a motorcycle taxi and feel the exhilaration of weaving through thick traffic of cars and buses and missing them by inches. Also it is the only way to beat the traffic; after all, Bangkok could well be the traffic capital of the world.
For all the nightlife and fun food Bangkok is famous for, among other sinful things, one is happily surprised to see a thriving health and fitness community. If you are sober enough to step out one early morning, you will find the parks full of tai chi classes and runners thronging the side roads. I managed to try a Tai Chi session with a group of zestful seniors.
Bangkok also boasts of having many world class health retreats and spas. I tried the Bhawan spa, courtesy Tourism Authority of Thailand. They also have essential oils and other personal care products that are natural and indigenous.
The fitness enthusiast in me also explored further than the usual spas and retreats and enrolled for a Muay Thai class. Muay Thai is a form of kick boxing which is increasingly becoming popular as a fitness routine. You can walk out of a class with supreme confidence that you can physically defend yourself, really.
All these activities demand extra nutrition and fuel. And plenty is available from the streets to the Michelin star restaurants in Bangkok. The difference in quality is not so much as the difference in price from streets to the fine dining restaurants. What you save in restaurants you can spend in the malls. Everyone who lands in Bangkok will end up shopping in one of the malls. The most popular seems to be the Platinum mall. If you have one day for shopping, just go to this mall and nowhere else. And later on, sitting on the suitcase trying to close it while it is exploding with the extra shopping, you will still think of all the things you couldn’t buy. And that’s when you will plan your next trip to Bangkok.