With eight days in Thailand’s capital city, here’s my best bits of Bangkok.
When I arrived in Chiang Mai and told people I’d been in Bangkok for eight days, my audience were shocked and impressed. As you well know my experiences at the party hostel were pretty interesting, and of course do imply that all I did in Bangkok was drink but actually you’re wrong. I did quite a few things whilst I was there and based some of my plans around this awesome list I found online.
Unfortunately I didn’t make the Grand Palace because of a number of hold ups both times I tried to go (too busy due to children’s day, and taxis wouldn’t take me the second time was so annoying). Even without the Grand Palace on my list there’s plenty of recommendations, some you’ll have considered already when planning a trip here and some that you might not have thought of!
Check out my top 12 best bits:
1. Dance on Khao San Road – of course, this is a must do! Grab yourself a bucket of drink 100-150 baht (about £3, there’s so much alcohol in them) and have a dance in the street. You can take the buckets to most if the different bars too so there’s no restrictions if you wanna switch music! There’s street food, laughing gas and weirdly inappropriate woven bracelets that pop up all over the road – allllll part of the fun (I have two bracelets, one says “Thailand” and the other says…. “I like sex” hahah).
2. Check out the reclining Buddha at Wat Pha – really liked this Buddha, he’s housed inside a temple and covered in gold leaf. Pretty impressive and right next door to the Grand Palace (if you’re more successful than me). 200 baht to enter and you’ve got to have long pants and shoulders covered. There’s plenty of elephant pants nearby for just 100 baht so there’s no problems there. I also recommend sandals as you have to take shoes on and off to go inside some of the temples on the site.
3. Grab some crazy transport – grabbing a tuk tuk is a must in Bangkok and you can’t avoid them. Be sure to negotiate as they will try and rip tourists off a bit. Motorbike taxis are also really common and super fun to try, you can flag them down in the street (they have like orange jackets on), or use Grab (the Asian uber equivalent) to get a grab bike. I loved wizzing through the traffic to get to my destinations in Bangkok, cheap and fun! Finally if you’re looking to get off the road and into some air con, where you can (it’s not everywhere just yet), take the BTS or Sky Train – about 30-50 baht depending on which station you go to and a lovely welcome break from the heat.
4. Explore Chatuchak Weekend Market – this will only apply of course if you’re in Bangkok over the weekend but this is the biggest market in Asia. Bulk buy gifts and explore the stalls for hours. The market is split into sections, for example furniture, ceramics, clothing, handcrafts and so much more. Wander around to get the best price when bargaining, bring light clothes and water, plus I would recommend visiting earlier in the morning as it can get very hot and crowded later on in the day! When I went with big sexy we were leaving by the time others were just arriving and it was already so hot, worth making the early morning trip!
5. Wander around Chinatown – so supposedly there’s loads of great food in Chinatown. I didn’t really find it which suggests to me I went to the wrong bit haha! Anyway there’s an awesome China gate and a whole street with amazing neon lights and a bit of a Hong Kong vibe – would recommend visiting and letting me know where on earth I get the good food from.
6. Catch sunset at a rooftop bar – few options here, you can get dressed up and head to the “Hangover Bar”, (actually called Sky Bar) at the top of Lebua Hotel, or try Moon Bar at Banyan Tree Hotel. For a more relaxed atmosphere (also cheaper drinks), I headed to the River View Guesthouse right by the Chao Phraya River and watched sunset from there. It’s easy to walk into Chinatown after too!
7. Spot lizards in the pond at Lumphini Park – total chance day out this was! Headed to Lumphini Park after another taxi driver refused to take us to the Grand Palace. Grab a swan pedalo for just 40 baht at the pond and you can spend about 30 mins going around spotting lizards. Some are swimming, some just chilling – it’s actually very relaxing and fun. You’re out the sun, covered inside the little pedalo and with the coolness of the surrounding water!
8. Take a boat on the Chao Phraya River – this is one way to reach the Grand Palace / Wat Pha and to see Wat Arun along the way! Grab the tourist boat for 60 baht one way or jump on the orange public boat for around 20 baht. Sit back and enjoy the river views!
9. Check out the modern Siam centre – need or want to do some shopping? Siam is your spot! Huge modern shopping with all your favourite brands are available!
10. People watch at Nana Plaza – apparently the biggest “adult playground” in the world it’s full of Thai girls keen to provide pleasure for a fee. There’s dancing and poles, and even if you’re not interested in that kind of thing you can grab a drink and just experience the vibrant atmosphere amongst neon lights and a variety of Thai and foreign visitors. We went to Spankey’s (lol), it’s free to enter but drinks are expensive. Interesting experience but I only went once. I did head down that way for day time drinking another day too, which was great fun!
11. Test your tastebuds with some street food – little mini BBQs seem to be everywhere in Bangkok, and they’re actually pretty tasty and cheap. Other favourites include the obvious Pad Thai which you can often get with fresh shrimp, and Yam naem khao thot – which is a salad of crispy rice balls, fermented pork sausage, chillies and served with raw leafy greens. It’s so delicious, I had it right before I left Bangkok and was gutted I couldn’t have more than once.
12. Grab the essentials at 711 – this convenient little store is a/ everywhere in Bangkok (there’s over 3,000 just in the city) and b/ open 247. You can get all the essentials there, and get food heated, toasted and cooked behind the counter. They even do iced coffee. Favourites include, cheese and ham toasties (especially after a night out), pork noodle microwave meal (comes in red packaging), and the BBQ pork bao bun (so filling!). It’s your one stop shop for a reliable snack in the city.
One day I’ll make it to the grand palace, but for now there’s my favourites for Bangkok, partying or not there’s plenty to do!
What’s your experience of Bangkok like?
Have a look at my other travel posts: