The Capital City Smackdown: BKK vs D.C. (Part 2)

Here we go, Part 2 of the Ultimate Fighting Smackdown Capital City Challenge! I realize Part 2 was supposed to be last week, but I was too busy watching True Blood and Being Erica. Sorry!

Our score stood at Bangkok:  5  DC:  2

Let’s see how they fare today.

Round 8


Bangkok: 2 DC: 1

DC gets a point just for Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and H&M. And Target. And Politics and Prose Bookstore. Oh, and Lush.

But Bangkok…oh my god, it’s a shopper’s dream here. You can go to super high-end malls or just a little stall on the street. I’ve paid $6 on the street for some of the absolute cutest and most flattering dresses I’ve ever owned, but I could also go spend hundreds on a dress at the fancy-schmancy malls. There are markets and malls just filled with—well, with anything you want, really (unless you want an iPod case with a clip for walking, in which case, Thailand does not know what you are talking about).

Round 9

Dating Scene (for single non-Thai ladies)

Bangkok: -1,000 DC: 1

Bwahahahahahaha! I’m not even going to count this category in the final scoring because it’s so obviously stacked against Bangkok—or any Asian city, for that matter.

Look, the fact is that I actually got dates when I was living in the DC area. I’m not going into a rant about the dating scene in Bangkok, but it’s either nonexistent or sucks. I’m not bitter about it, I’m just stating facts. Done.

I understand that if you’re a single non-Thai male, the score is pretty much exactly reversed, but guess what? I’m not a single non-Thai male. I’m a single non-Thai lady and THIS IS MY BLOG. I’m sure some guy’s going to be like, ‘Nuh-uh, you got it all wrong,’ (and please imagine me saying that in a completely doofusy guy voice), but to this guy I would say: ‘WordPress has free sites. Go get one of your own and leave me alone.’

This drink is called the Sexy Lady. Sarah and I had them in Mae Sots. The drinks, that is. We had the drinks in Mae Sot.

Round 10

Bars and Clubs

Bangkok: 1 DC: 1

I think many people would disagree with me here that these two cities tie in this category, but those people are also not writing this, so…

I have to say, I actually really like many bars in DC. I like being able to get cider and martinis and play skeeball or pool or just chat with my friends. I like being away from mosquitoes and being able to wear jeans (I know this has nothing to do with the bars, but my primary thoughts of being in bars in Bangkok involve mosquitoes and trying not to sweat to death). I love sipping dirty martinis and hanging out with my friends.

But I like Bangkok bars, too. We have a great rooftop bar on Soi Rangnam, and another bar that has a tree house across the Victory Monument, and lots of other great places. Bar food is pretty decent and cheapish. The sheer number of places means that you can go to a sleek club or a down-and-dirty sidewalk bar. Frankly, I’ve had more crazy and fun nights out in my time living in BKK than in…wow–it’s been years since I’ve had this much fun. But it’s really not always that cheap to go out in Bangkok, as cocktails are often almost as much as back home, and in many places are not very good at all (if you know where to find a good dirty martini, my friend Sarah and I will be eternally grateful).

Anyway, it’s my scoring, and I say they tie. And, Jonathan, if you want to tell me how wrong I am, feel free…but I’m also free to ignore you. :)

Josh and I got to meet some Thai pop stars the other night at the Bangkok Podcast party. It was kind of awesome.

Round 11


Bangkok: 0 DC: 1

DC is a brunch city. Bangkok is not so much a brunch city. One of the things I miss most about DC is going to this total hipster bar with my friend JB on Sunday mornings, where we would order delicious egg sandwiches with piping hot, crispy tater tots, drink $2 mimosas, and make fun of the hipsters drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon. Can’t beat that.

Soymilk and fried dough. This was my brunch in Chiang Mai. (Yes, I'm exaggerating--you can find brunch in Thailand.)

Round 12

Cost of Living

Bangkok: 1 DC: 0

This one isn’t even fair. DC is bloody expensive. You can get a room in a house that you share with 5 other people in DC for $700 a month. Sometimes more! Just for the privilege of living in a “fun” neighborhood where people vomit on your doorstep and you can’t ever find parking! But you do have cheap pizza down the street! And they say people in DC are smart…

$700 in Bangkok can get you a really nice place, with no sharing. You can also find a place for just a couple of hundred bucks that will at least not be in a neighborhood you aren’t scared to go outside in. In DC, a couple of hundred bucks for an apartment would get you, if you were lucky, a room in a slumlord-owned house in a neighborhood where you would need an armored car to get to and from work.

My super cute place in Maryland in the not-so-super-cute snow.

Round 13

Standard of Living

Bangkok: 1 DC: 1

At first, I thought that Bangkok won hands down, no contest, but upon further reflection, I’m not so sure. Yes, in Bangkok I can get my hair done for $3, a massage for $5, and eat dinner for $1. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

But Thailand is still a developing nation in many ways. You can barely walk down the sidewalks, it’s loud as hell and dirty, the sewage system doesn’t work, the water is very questionably okay to drink, and there are mosquitoes everywhere.

There are trade-offs and I think they often balance each other out. But that’s just me.

I mean, seriously?

Round 14


Bangkok: 0 DC: 1

I’m kind of bitter because we are in the Thai summer and I feel like I’m going to spontaneously burst into flames and die every time I turn off the air conditioner and/or step out of my apartment. I like the change of seasons, and IT’S ALWAYS HOT HERE, except for the two weeks of beautiful weather in March, where everybody thought the world was ending. If that’s what Armageddon is going to be like, I say bring it on!

That's an actual picture of the sun I took yesterday. Or at least that's what it felt like in my imagination.

Round 15

Sewage System

Bangkok: 0 DC: 1

You can flush your toilet paper in DC. WINNER.

You also don't need a tutorial to use most American toilets. Just saying.

Round 16

Capital City Feel

Bangkok: 0 DC: 1

Good lord, DC was built solely to be the capital city of the country. It’s just a capital city, floating out there in space; it doesn’t even belong to a state. Politics permeates the air in DC, for better and worse. Bangkok just can’t compete in that way. No place can, in my opinion. I know some people think that’s what makes DC terrible, but it’s part of what draws people to it and part of what makes it great.

The US Capitol.*

*Photo credit to my ex-boyfriend.


Today: Bangkok: 5   DC: 7  (I didn’t include the Dating Scene.)

Overall: Bangkok: 10  DC: 9

Congratulations to Bangkok for winning the Capital City Smackdown Challenge! Your prize is…uh…I’ll get back to you! Call me, Bangkok!



Filed under Living Abroad, Special Challenge, Thailand

19 responses to “The Capital City Smackdown: BKK vs D.C. (Part 2)

  1. Non Thai Male. I dont date asian women and backpackers annoy me. So im with you all the way on the dating thing. I dont even bother anymore, so its not a big deal.

    Cost of living is awesome here. DC is like Melbs, where living somewhere dodgey will still cost you $200-300 per week. My old flat was in a ritzy area and i got it super cheap at $1270 a month for a two bedroom. Same area, its about that price or more for a one bedroom or studio.

    Now, living in bangkok, i have a one bedroom, pool, gym, restaurant, shop, cleaning service and laundry service for around $700 per month. Thats bill inclusive and I run the air con 24/7. Plus, no squat toilet and i can flush my toilet paper :D

    Now, Just have to get better reception on my sattelite tv and im set!


  2. Uh, like I know this is YOUR blog but you made a couple of mistakes, girlfriend. First Trader Joes should get at least 2 points. Secondly, no photo credit to ex-s. It’s like an unspoken law or something. Oh I remember where I read it, on the Rosetta Stone.


    • I felt weird using the pic without giving him credit, though I didn’t want to…and I’m the only one who would know. I’m weird, I know.

  3. I think the fix is on here. Of course, I’m not sure who is better at “fixing” things: DC or Bangkok? That might be a whole nuther topic.

  4. Yea & hooray!
    Thailand wins the smackdown! Of course, any country where you can get a strawberry soda (?) PLUS vegetables, served in an “anatomically correct” cocktail glass, would have to be awesome.
    Oh, and I did try to imagine your head speaking in a doofus/slacker male voice [see round 9]; it’s too funny!
    The USA is still tops in space shuttle launches…

    • Ahahahahahaha! You’re right–that drink does put Thailand over the edge. I can’t even remember what was in it, but I know it was alcoholic. Slightly so, but still.

      Space shuttle launches and trailer parks: USA FTW!

  5. I hate the weird squatter toilets! I mean, I get it, they are sanitary in the sense that if nobody cleans them you still stay clean since you don’t touch anything… but I still hate them. And the butt hose? Terrible! I’ve seen them in many c0untries – including many European ones – and I still don’t like them. Even though they look much cleaner than the one you pictured. Personally, I’d give a deduction of points for that instead of just zero :) But it’s your smackdown, so… :)

    • :) I have to be honest–I’ve come to appreciate the squat toilets if the Western-style toilet is disgusting, dirty, or wet. You know what I mean? I don’t love the butt hose, either, but I know some people (like Phil over there) love it…to each their own, I suppose.

  6. Megan,
    I mostly agree with your scoring. I lived in DC for three years and while I have only spent a short time in Bangkok, I feel like I got to know some of its more important features. I do disagree about the butt hose though. I think it’s far more effective than toilet paper and I wish it was commonplace in America.

  7. Jonathan

    I’m sorry that my comments on Part # 1 came off as an actual comparison of DC’s and BKK’s relative virtues as party places, as I had only intended a comparison of reputation. I have no experience going out in DC and not much even in New York; as a slight bespectacled nerd, the only function I serve at a night club is to give meaning and purpose to the velvet rope. I defer to your expertise in these matters.

    However, “Suffering the Pain of ‘Thor’ for $7 Rather Than $15” puts another point in the Bangkok column.

    • Don’t be silly…I have absolutely ZERO expertise on going out anywhere. I am also a bespectacled nerd. That’s probably why I prefer quiet going-out scenes to the sometimes-insanity of Bangkok.

      You’re right about the movies, though. Movie theaters in Thailand are so great and cheap they should have been their own category. Seriously.

  8. Wow, so hilarious and so true! Also, what is this about a treehouse bar by VM? I need to go check that out!

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