An interview with Swedish National – Agneta Bekassy
By Daniel Herron
Thailand is exciting, exotic, friendly and one of the best destinations in the world to visit!
One of my closest friends in Bangkok is Agneta Bekassy, a Swedish national who has lived in Thailand for over 20 years. We became good friends working as journalist in The Big Mango covering the cities exciting social event, interviewing ambassadors and generally all the great things about this vibrant city and its people.
She returned to Sweden earlier this year to visit her mom, family and friends and enjoy the spring and summer weather of the country. Then COVID hit the world. In order to stop the risk and incoming spread of the virus, Thailand closed its borders to outsiders until a system could be set up to allow Thai citizen, expats, and working people back in the country safely.
During that waiting period, Sweden turn cold as winter approached and Agneta longed for the balmy days of Thailand. During the time, she was delayed in Sweden we had text conversations that I thought might be interesting for readers to see on just what was the attraction to Thailand for her.
So here we go with her 10 Best things about Thailand.
Agneta – This is really not in any particular order except for #1 because no matter where you go in the world, it’s the people that really make the destination what it is!
1.The Thai People I have been living in Thailand for over 20 years having come here with my husband for business and I must say the thing that impresses you first off is how kind the Thai people are. They seem to be always smiling, in good spirits and go out of their way to assist you as a foreigner to their country.
2. Safe! I have never felt unsafe walking alone anywhere at any time in the city and I love to walk! I have walked from my condo on Sukhumvit to the Chao Praya River and back, a distance of over 14 klms. The sights, sounds and delicious smells of Thai street food along the way are fascinating!
3. The diversity – There are beautiful Thai temples and old city buildings, modern malls, hotels and funky little shops and restaurants. A nice blending of old and new that makes this a very modern as well as historic city.
4. Thai Food – Aroy Mak – That’s Thai for very delicious! In Bangkok you can find the best Thai food from street vendors to world-class rooftop restaurants. And the diversity of international cuisines is unlimited. Italian, Spainish, Germany, Singapore, China, Muslim, the list goes on and on. One the world’s top Indian restaurants, Rang Mahal, is located in Bangkok at the Rembrandt Hotel. They host a 60 entre buffet brunch every Sunday with live music and a spectacular view of the cities skyline.
5. The Chao Praya River – Known as The River of Kings. When we first came to Bangkok, over 20 years ago, we stayed at the Royal Orchard Sheraton Hotel overlooking the bustling Chao Praya River.
During the day you can see barges with colorful tug boats transporting rice from central Thailand to the ports downriver through Bangkok. Colorful longtail boats, used as river taxi’s, race up and down the river every which way.
For lunch or dinner, you can find excellent restaurants riverside. In the evening there are beautiful dinner cruise yachts with live music slowly cruising the rivers scenic sights.
6. Shopping – On the banks of the Chao Praya River is the new stunning shopping complex ICONSIAM. A real destination in Bangkok.
Wear comfortable shoes as you can put in a lot walking to see all the latest shops, There’s even a Rolls Royce, BMW and Ferrari dealship inside. Thai crafts shops and a complete floating garden of restaurants on the bottom level.
Sukhumvit Road has amazing shopping malls as well. EmQuartier, Siam Paragon and Central World are all easily accessible by the Skytain.
There is also Chinatown and other areas to find the more traditional Thai Stores.
7. The Flower Market – This is one destination in Bangkok you should take in. An explosion of color awaits you when you enter this area of Bangkok. It bustles from dawn till dusk with colorful tuk tuks carrying bunches of flowers to hotel all over the city.
8. Medical Care – Thai hospitals are amazing. Many look and feel like 5 Star Hotels and the Thai hospitality is overwhelming. The doctors are world-class having studied worldwide at foremost universities and medical facilities.
Bangkok Nurses Hospital, Samitivej and Bumrungrad all state-of the art for service and care.
I know a woman who spent 1/3 the cost for back surgery in Bangkok. With the money saved she could afford to rent a beach house for a month for her recovery.
9. Side Trips – I could go on for days on this one but just 3.5 hours outside of Bangkok is the coastal town of Hua Hin.
This is the summer residence home for the King of Thailand. It has sprawling long sugar sand beaches and is still somewhat a quite resort town compared to Pattaya on the Gulf of Thailand, crowded and overwhelming with tourist shops.
Dan – Then there is Krabi – This is my favorite destination in the country! A 2.5 hour flight south of Thailand to a more remote jungle and beach province with towering limestone cliffs.
10. The Social Life – Bangkok and Thailand in general is just a happy place! It’s social life can rival any city in the world!
It’s up to the roof tops for the nightclub action in Bangkok and it’s non stop with stunning views of the city below.
People are all pretty relaxed in general and the Thai’s love a sense of humor called Sanok. You can be with your Expat friends and socialize with them or just blend in with the Thai’s at the clubs, restaurants or where ever. My favorites are the rooftop restaurants and nightclubs!
So, there’s my list of ten and I could go on and on. Dan has agreed on just about all the above as we worked together on most of these 10 Bests together as journalists.
In the future we will team up again and tell you are 10 Best of other destinations in the country, the latest restaurants and night spots and pretty much “What’s Up Thailand.” In 2021 things hopefully will start to loosen up as far as travel restrictions, so you can start you’re planning now!
Daniel Herron Copyright 2020