What is a runcation? Runcation is a combination of the word “vacation” and “running”. It is a term coined by runners who travel to attend a marathon or running event, and have vacation at the same time. Usually, the running event is the highlight for a runcation so your itinerary needs to revolve around the timing and venue of the event. For this runcation, I travelled to Bangkok to attend the Amazing Thailand Marathon 2019 and it was amazing. Here are 3 main reasons why – before, after, and during the run:
Before running: Food heaven!
Over the years, I have seen Bangkok developing to be more Muslim-friendly to cater to an increasing number of tourists from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Middle East. This means more halal food outlets and increasing conscious to state the ingredients used. This also means more variety of food for carbo-loading!
- MBK Mall (Nearest BTS Station: National Stadium)
- Clean, comfortable with air-condition facilities.
- Food selection at restaurants in level 5 and 6 includes:
- Thai staples like Tom Yum and Green Curry.
- The foodcourt at level 5 has a wide selection of International flavours too like Chinese, Indonesian, and Arabic food.
- There is an affordable steak house at level 6
- Enjoy some dessert and coffee at a halal-friendly (but not halal-certified) café called After You at level 3
- Saman Islam at Chatuchak Market (Nearest BTS Station: Mo Chit)
- Street food with local ambience.
- Food selection is mostly Thai staples. There are also some Southern Thai dishes too.
- Enjoy Thai sweets and desserts that are mostly halal-friendly (but not halal-certified) such as Mango with Sticky Rice, Coconut Ice Cream, and Thai Ice Tea.
After running: Recovery at the spa
Legs are feeling sore after a run? Head to a spa for a massage, aromatherapy, or an herbal compression. Thailand has a long history of alternative treatments using herbs and natural ingredients, making the treatments more effective.
Note: Spa and massage houses have a bad reputation for illegal ‘services’ in Bangkok. How to ensure the spa conducts legal business with no hanky-panky ‘services’? Ask for recommendations from the locals, make it firm that you are strictly looking for a medicinal or aesthetic spa. The proper spas are usually more upscale and expensive too, but they are still cheaper than Malaysia’s rate. Proper spas also clearly display their zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment.
- Health Land (Nearest BTS Station: Asok)
Try their body scrub therapy, leaving you smelling heavenly and squeaky clean. Service here is top-notch too, with comfy bathrobes, unlimited ice told mineral water or tea. Protip: do call them in advanced to set for an appointment, as they are always full
- Crystal Spa (Nearest BTS Station: Phra Khanong)
Try their foot and head massage, relieving aching muscles and leaving you in total relaxation. Protip: Do not forget to tip the masseuse after your treatment. They do not expect much, 20 to 50 Thai Bhat goes a long way for these local women.
- During the run: Cross-cultural observations
Despite having similar roots to Malaysia, there are some notable differences in Thais culture. This might affect how an event is organized. Although it is a well-known international event with participants from various countries, it is still very Thai-centric.
Thais are very proud of their language and culture. Most signage are still written in Thai, so collecting the race kit and getting to the race site was not very well-organized. Mitigate that by collecting the race kit early, and heading to the race site early too. But don’t worry, Thai are very friendly too. They will be happy to help if you ask nicely.
Cheering is not a culture in Thai. There were not many supporters or spectators along the way, and most people weaved between the running event venue like nothing happened. I can’t help but to notice that poverty is also very apparent in Bangkok, as there were beggars eating leftovers from the runners. I feel sad for them.
Thais are such hospitable people. They want to make you feel welcomed and comfortable, and nothing is more comfortable than a clean toilet. Their portable toilets were equipped with a bidet, flushing toilet, and even air-condition. It puts Malaysia’s porta-loo to shame.