January 12, 2012

Cricket Eatin', Rooftop Clubbin', Futuristic New Year's in Thailand

Me at rooftop NYE party in Bangkok.
New Year’s in Thailand is a holiday celebrated similarly to Christmas in America. Everyone has parties with friends and family, exchange gifts, and eat lots of food at work and school. I didn’t get any time off from school for Christmas but for New Year’s I had a 2-day break, which was magical. After little deliberation it seemed pretty obvious that Bangkok is THE place to spend the holiday while I’m in Asia.
The crazy metropolis is a top city in the world to bring in the New Year. Since I’ve been wearing the same 5 items for the past four months I decided to take it to the markets and shop for a new outfit to bring in year 2555 before I entered the packed streets of Bangkok. Although every inch of Thailand is drenched in markets with stall after stall of dresses, blouses, shorts, skirts, purses, shoes, belts, and any type of accessory you can imagine, I found it extremely difficult to find anything to fit my American sized chest. I scrambled all over Ayutthaya on my bicycle dodging traffic and dripping sweat to visit store after store to find something that actually fit me in the right places. I finally found a non-Thai-sized outfit that I wasn’t busting out of the seams and left town.
Prior to the trip, I researched tons of parties in Bangkok and asked around for the best rooftop bash. With so many party options, choosing one proved to be a difficult task. Two girlfriends and I decided on a swanky dinner at the Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel on Soi 22 in Sukhumvit district, which also houses the rooftop party of all time at a club called Altitude on the top of the building. The feast was pricey so only 3 of us decided to indulge but we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.
An aroy meal for NYE at Queen's Imperial.
When we arrived at the Queen’s Imperial all dolled up, which I haven’t done in months, it was clear we were embarking on a setting a bit out of the backpacker league. But let me tell you, the food was incredible. Pretty much any scrumptious chow you can imagine was there and I’ve been deprived of the simple pleasures in life for so long, like good bread and cheese, and decent chocolate so it was heaven sent. Sushi, salmon 5 different ways, lobster galore, crabs, three different kinds of oysters, cheese from all over the world, mushrooms, mashed potatoes, lamb, roast beef, and non-stop wine flow. Each desert was handmade and like a piece of artwork. Um, yea it was magical.
Round 1 of glorious food at a NYE feast!
Sliced meats, yum.
An assortment of food at the buffet. A work of art.
Hand crafted deserts.
Playing with our toys for everyone to hear.
We drank and ate for hours and enjoyed the live music before heading upstairs for the countdown on the rooftop of Altitude with our complimentary NYE souvenirs.
Altitude was supposedly the biggest rooftop hoorah in Bangkok and I’m not sure if that’s a true assumption but it was definitely in the running. Hundreds of people were packed inside the main floor where there were several different rooms with its own DJ and dance floor. You couldn’t get too far without passing a fully stocked bar, so your drink was never empty. Drinks were not included in the cover charge into the club and they were pretty pricey which is to be expected on NYE at a posh rooftop club. The journey to the roof was like a herd of cattle pushing themselves through a mouse hole. The situation wasn’t graceful and people got mean. I made it to the roof just in time for the countdown that was incredible! A vibrant firework show ignited the sky with hot pink and gold glittery colors and our position gave us a perfect view.
Rooftop party at Altitude!

Firework show on the Altitude rooftop for NYE in Bangkok.
Lights from the buildings around us added to the sparkling Bangkok skyline. The rest of the night was filled with laser lights and pulsating music on top of the roof with thousands of bodies dancing until the early hours of the morning.
Beautiful Bangkok skyline on NYE from the top of Queen's Imperial Park Hotel.
At some point, my friends and I headed to another rooftop club called Lush on the 48th floor of the United Center Silom Building where many of our other friends had spent the evening raging to music at a similar shindig. The night came to a close around 5am after I couldn’t walk in heels anymore - I’m a bit out of practice in that department.
New Year’s Day was the most productive hangover day I had in a long time. Five of us headed to the Chatuchak Weekend Market, also called J.J. Market, near Mo Chit stop on the BTS. Chatuchak is the market of all markets. Everything you can ever imagine is stuffed into miles of stalls. I thought the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey was the ultimate open market but it’s peanuts compared to Chatuchak. Any type of food, artwork, clothes, furniture and home décor and even an entire animal section with dogs, cats, fish, snakes, chinchillas, squirrels, sugar gliders, rabbits, and roosters can be found at this market. Basically it took up most of the day to explore the market and I was so overwhelmed all I bought was Thai tea and some postcards. Since I was unable to meet my New Year’s Day tradition of eating black-eyed peas and cabbage with my family, I consumed a cricket for good luck in the New Year. I think it’s going to be a good one. Once you get past the crunchy crunch of salty exoskeleton and wings its all down hill. You may need a toothpick or some floss afterwards, as the legs and wings like to lodge themselves in your teeth.
Eating crickets on New Year's Day at the Chatuchak Market in Bangkok.
If you find your way in Asia for the New Year, Bangkok is a great place to party till the sun comes up. Although I didn’t make it to Central World, the Times Square of Bangkok, I feel like I got all I needed and more at Altitude. A rooftop party on New Year’s Eve is the way to go, I recommend it to all my patients. 


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