Author Kay Plunkett-Hogge still gets a thrill from exploring the intoxicating, buzzing neighbourhoods in the city of her birth
Bangkok’s hidden quarters feel like another world. Little Arabia, Chinatown, the old Portuguese or French quarters … all have unique sensibilities. In Pahurat, adjacent to Chinatown, there are rows of old Indian cloth shops and cafes with glass cases full of gold-leafed Indian sweets, the air thick with smoke from cheroots, the scent of sweet chai, sizzling hot samosas and Indian music.
When you arrive in Bangkok, first the heat hits you, then the smell. It’s unmistakable, utterly unique, and quickly envelops you. If someone created a scented Bangkok candle, its fragrance would probably be smoky incense, grilled pork, tuk-tuk fumes and sewage, with a top note of jasmine.