Bangkok Postcard – Finding Travel Umami

It’s hard to believe that more than three years have passed since I first visited Thailand. It was my first time in Asia and I had that strange sensation of being simultaneously excited and nervous – a great feeling for a traveler. The week in the Thai capital was a blur of food, river boats, temples and smiles; lots and lots of smiles. The country’s nickname may sound trite, but it really is a Land of a Thousand Smiles and I haven’t felt as welcome anywhere else in the world. Even today I long for that smell which is only found in Bangkok, the food that is only found in Bangkok and that great tingly ‘other’ quality found only there. The Japanese have a term for a fifth taste, Umami, a mysterious sensation applied to things which are delicious. Bangkok is my travel umami; something I can’t define but which is one of the best experiences I’ve ever enjoyed.

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

3 Responses

  1. Maria

    Great post Matt. My husband and I always talk about the smells of Bangkok, and of Thailand in general. Trying to describe the aromas that waft from the markets, street vendors and temples seemed impossible to put into words. If you don’t mind, may I borrow “umami”? It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for;)

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Sure thing, use away! And you’re right, Bangkok has an indefinable smell, Bangkoky :)

      Reply
  2. Jo

    oh, I feel the same. The whole Thailand is my Umami (I love this expression and will use it from now on).
    Although, my experience with the famous smiles was a bit different. I found the Thais living in Bangkok stressed. They always shout at either tourists or at each other. Before we boarded one of the boats, we were shouted at in Thai like a herd of sheep.
    After a few days we moved to the islands and it was there where we found the real smiles of Thailand – maybe the living in the capital makes Thais the way they are there.

    Reply

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