So here we go, we’ve seen Bangkok four times now and each time has been magical. Albeit you really can’t beat the first time you see a new city in a foreign land; the new smells, bustling streets and delicious food will always leave you wanting more. This post will hopefully direct you to try and capture all the best parts of Bangkok.
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- The Grand Palace
One of the most magnificent complexes we’ve ever laid our eyes on; a rich mix of culture and history and arguably the top thing to do in Bangkok. Tickets cost 500 baht per ticket (roughly £12) which doesn’t seem too bad but for Thailand in general is quite expensive, but absolutely worth it! Make sure you wear or have in a backpack something to cover your shoulders and knees as you’ll be stung with having to purchase trousers/shawls on arrival (double the street market prices)! Absolutely stunning frescoes on offer that really tell the story of a nation and we would recommend – 10/10!
2. Wat Arun
An incredible temple steeped in culture, just a 5 minute ferry ride from one of the many public docks (emphasis on public as we ended up going to a private dock and paid 100 baht per person like the novice travellers we were!) where tickets are 4 baht per person on the public ferry. We ended up spending a couple of hours here (even though it’s fairly small compared to the Grand Palace) just taking in the sights! You could easily take everything in over the course of an hour though. As with most temples, it is required that you cover your shoulders and knees so make sure to do so or bring a backpack with extra clothes in! Another 10/10 for us!
3. Khao San Road
We won’t spend too long on this one as most people have heard of it or seen it in The Hangover but it really is a must visit. It’s super loud and super expensive (compared to a lot of other drinking spots in Bangkok) but it’s jam packed full of South-East Asian charm and really does have a bit of everything you could want; drag queens, table dancing, massive dance-floors, market stalls and much, much more. We recommend making a night out of it but get some pre-drinks before hand to save yourself some serious money and the added bonus of being able to meet people at your hostel/hotel! So many street vendors dwell on the KSR and some of them really do steal the show (here’s looking at you, ankle bracelet ladies)!
4. Floating Village Tour
So while this one isn’t in the Bangkok city centre we couldn’t leave it out. It requires a taxi to get to and prices can vary wildly but we managed to get it for 200 baht per person with some serious haggling but heard of other couples who paid 500 baht each. It really is worth it though as it feels like you’re in another world. There’s nothing better to us than being in a tiny boat floating down the river with coconuts in hand, pure magic! *
*FULL POST ON THIS COMING SOON!
5. Get a TukTuk Ride
Doesn’t need much explanation; the iconic, most used travel method for many travellers in South-East Asia. You’ll most likely get heckled to get into 10+ TukTuks within your first 5 minutes in Bangkok (these guys really love to hustle). They’re really fun though and even the process of haggling with the drivers is super entertaining! You can’t help but feel immersed in the South-East Asian way of life as you zip through streets and your driver inevitably jumps several red lights (not sure if anyone actually pays attention to traffic lights in Bangkok to be honest) like ours always seemed to do!
6. Go to a Ping Pong Show
These shows are a little off the beaten track about a 20 minute drive from the main centre of the city, due to some weird reason they aren’t in the main area. They can seem quite seedy and we ventured down some (very) questionable alleyways to get to our destination but it was genuinely hilarious! We both got sprayed with beer from one of the showgirls between me down theres and the highlight of the night was Matt getting his shorts pulled down and getting asked if he was a boy or a girl (he has a full beard and no hair on his head)! Couldn’t recommend more!
7. River Cruise
A charming little cruise down the Chaophraya River, situated right next to the Grand Palace. You get chauffeured around in a fishing boat to see various temples and just soak up the atmosphere of the incredibly busy river, which really does seem like the lifeblood of Bangkok. Most of the tour guides wait by the ferry stations on the river and haggling is a must as we got the price down by quite a bit (we’d already been to Thailand before so had a bit of experience) but even if you don’t succeed the first time, there’ll be a load more eager guides trying to corral you into their boats anyway! If you’re all templed out after The Grand Palace and Wat Arun, you don’t have to get out at the temples on the river, you can simply just kick back and relax!
8. Night Market, Day Market, Flower Market, Train Market – Basically, Markets!
Markets are absolutely everywhere in Bangkok and always have very unique little trinkets and goodies on offer. The fruit markets were incredible and there really isn’t anything like a perfectly ripe mango! The markets are all over the city and you’re never normally more than a 5 minute walk away from one. The Pak Khlong Talat flower market was our favourite though; it wasn’t too busy and had the most beautiful flowers! The nicest thing about the markets is the produce always being fresh, doesn’t come wrapped in plastic (we see you 7/11 and those bloody plastic wrapped single bananas), tastes great and helps give back to the charming stall owners. As with most things to do in Bangkok, bring your best haggling face with you!
9. To Relax
You can do this easily by going to eat at one of the many street food vendors all across Bangkok; they’re super cheap and super tasty (the only downside is that your stomach may not be 100% the day after). Alternatively, The Macaroni Club (based on Soi Ram Buttri, one road off of the Khao San Road) has our favourite Spring Rolls and Pad Thai in the whole country but it’s a little more pricey! You also absolutely have to get a massage of some kind and we’d recommend Fabulous Massage Parlour (based on Thanon Tanao, another road just off of the Khao San). The massages are unbelievably inexpensive and you just can’t get the level of care they put into their craft anywhere else in the world!
10. Have Fun!
Travelling can be quite stressful at times, particularly when you’re in your first week as it’s such a shock to the system in terms of lifestyle change but you have to remember to enjoy yourself and embrace it! Bangkok has so much to offer and can seem very daunting at first but it truly does have something for everyone, whether you like to drink and party or wind down and roam around temples. Our recommendations above won’t be for everyone and that’s okay, the most important thing is doing what YOU enjoy!