My family lived in Jakarta for six years before Dad found a new job in Surabaya and brought us there. It was here, in Indonesia's ibu kota (capital city), where my brother and I learned to walk and to speak in three languages: Tagalog, Indonesian, and English. Before we knew the words of Lupang Hinirang, we sang Indonesia Raya in school and saluted to the red and white flag. Our house helper learned to cook Filipino food for us but our kitchen reeked of sambal that she made for herself.
When my friends and I went to Bangkok 2 years ago, I didn't get the chance to see it that much. We headed straight to Koh Pangan from Luang Prabang in Laos for the Full Moon Party - a long, arduous journey by land that lasted for 3 days. After the party, we sailed back to the mainland and stayed in the capital for a couple of days before we flew to Burma. Exhausted from the long trips and partying, we locked ourselves in our Couchsurfing host's townhouse throughout our stay. Thinking that capital cities in Southeast Asia probably looked the same, I thought I didn't miss out on anything.