The capital of Thailand, Bangkok is a thriving city with a culture of it’s own. With around 8 million population inhabiting a city on the envelopes of the beautiful Chao Pharya river; the city is famously known as one of the main tourist stops in Asia.
I have lived here for 2 years and I will be leaving soon. Bangkok is a city will never make you feel alone, it’s very diverse, and if you’re in the center of the city, you may turn around and find people from your own country! The Thai people, from what I’ve experienced, are very cultured and welcoming-but are also very good business entrepreneurs . The hustle and bustles and fumes of Bangkok can make one easily lost admist the city life, but if you have a list of places to go, a cab will get you anywhere if you pay them a little extra.
Firstly, let us look upon some of the positives of being in Bangkok:
– Everything is CHEAP. By everything, I mean everything. Especially the clothes.
– Delicious Thai food everywhere, in the streets, the malls, outside your hotel…
– Best of nightlife
Now, the slightly not so positivies (A.K.A the negetives!):
– The pollution and traffic
– The difficulty in communication/language barriers
Now let us look at the must see places in Bangkok, in no particular order.
1. Visit the grand palace or Wat Phra Kaew
– The grand palace was built in 1782 (yes it is ancient!). I wasn’t very excited to go to the grand palace at the beginning, I thought it would be boring. There are also many temples surrounding the palace, and even though I admire the ancient architecture, I am not the most religious person- even so, I visited the Grand Palace. To my amazement, it wasn’t bored at all. It was just really really really hot, so if you do decide to visit remember to take bottles of water (as it is huge inside and there are not shops inside, you have to walk!), and maybe an umbrella, wear light clothes. The place itself is really beautiful, some palaces will not let you take pictures, for example you are not allowed to take pictures in the famous emerald buddha (49 feet high buddha gold statue!) within the palace. Also, whilst being mesmerized by the sparkles and ancient beauty, do remember to respect the thai culture, the palace itself is very ‘quiet’ and people are very mannerly and civilized, it’s better not to go with a large group. Also, do not fall for people that sell you gems inside and outside the palace, they are frauds and are not real. Do not trust the transportation outside the palace, they will usually charge you double if they see you as being a tourist-especially the tuk tuk drivers. The tuk tuk drivers on this area may also lie to you saying the palace is closed when it’s not..be careful of not ruining your day. The ticket to the palace can be bought right outside of it, it is not expensive at all, couple hundred bhat. The palace does, however, require nice clothing- no shorts, slipper, skirts or bare shoulders. Be well dressed but comfortable.
2. Get a thai massage!
When on the streets, Thai masseuse are everywhere. If you want a proper one, find a nice place. Usually nice hotels have massage and spa, and with a couple hundred dollars, why not treat yourself to relaxation! The massages on the street side shops aren’t bad either, they are very cheap compared to a proper spa, but I just prefer more privacy. If you do choose street-side massages just for the sake of trying, go to ones with more older woman that will give you a proper Thai massage than the ones with young Thai girls outside that are focused more on attracting tourists and do not know how to treat you with proper Thai massage. The Thai massage and foot massage is very famous in bangkok, the thai massage hurts a little (they pull you, stretch you, phew! it’s a full on work out!) so understand and ask them what exactly they will do before you choose a specific massage. Massage will definitely calm you after a hectic city day.
3. Party till you wake up next morning…lost and robbed
Well, okay, maybe not lost and robbed, possibly which a nice guy/chick besides you offering breakfast. But well, Bangkok is like the vegas of the south. However, the ‘partying’ itself in Bangkok is more of hanging out with friends, drinking, meeting new people and dancing. Ofcourse if you’re old enough and want to hang out with some ladies/guys you can always go to Soi Cowboy, famous red light district of Bangkok. Even so, be careful, everything in Bangkok is mere business and is to make money. Be especially careful in Soi Cowboy, girls will literally come and grab you and all you have to do is buy them a drink..until later when they literally finish up the balance in your credit card. If you want to go to a nice club, head for 808, Bed Supperclub and Q Bar. They will require your ID (you could always make a fake one in kao san road, but sometimes if you’re a farang (a white person), they will not care. All they want it your money and for you to have fun. Khao San Road is another crazy place one should definitely visit. You could always party like a local in Route 33. If you want to get the party started early, I need to warn you that Alcohol is only sold in stores after 5 in the evening, but you can get alcohol during the daytime if you order in restaurants. Watch out for events in websites such as siam2nite. Hm, perhaps visit hookah bars?
4. Shop till you drop
Everything is 50 % cheaper than what you would get back home. If you’re visiting during new years or special events, they have a whooping discounts on may stores. Take a head to the famous MBK mall in the center of Bangkok where you will find everything (possibly not the best quality of things, but you will find everything you ever needed in life). For better quality products and desginer wear, visit malls such as: Central World, Siam Paragon/Discovery, Mega Bangna, Emporium, Gaysorn. For cheaper wholesale products/not designer clothes, you can always visit the street side stalls in main BTS stations (BTS is a local skytrain and the most popular means of transport, it saves you a lot of money in transportation as well) such as victory monument, shop in wholesale fashion mall called Platinum or make your head to the weekend Chatuchak market. The chatuchak market is huge so make sure you search on the internet about directions and you might want to take a whole day to visit the market. You find a lot of interesting things: from home decor to dogs at a reasonably cheap price. You can ALSO get custom made tailored clothes for cheap in sukhumbit, they are amazing! Basically, Buy everything in Bangkok, sip coconut juice if you get tired.
5. Take a ride of your life in Tuk Tuks
I guess this should be combined with your nightlife as it’s more fun when with friends and drunk. Tuks Tuks are famous forms of transport, you have to negotiate the price with the driver to take you to a certain place, so it is not cheaper than the cabs in opposition to the contrary belief. It’s a fun ride, it’s like riding a motorcycle..but the colors and the fresh air in the Bangkok heat makes it all better. The danger of it makes it fun. Tuk Tuk drivers are very fun and friendly, except in famous tourist destinations where they are grumpy and charge you extra.
6. Forget the calories for a day
The food in Bangkok is everywhere, I’ve never seen so much of food in my life! Try the exotic fruits that Bangkok has to offer, the thai food, indulge in selections of resturants everywhere, either western or asian. Go to rooftop bars for amazing views, these bars are very extravagant, pricey and luxurious. Moon bar Sirocco Restaurant are very famous for their pleasant view and food. Make sure it’s not raining when you go to rooftop bars though. And make sure to bring some good cash.
7. Adventure time!
Visit dusit zoo, not the best zoo, but worth your time (if you have kids!) You can also go to parks such as Lumphini park (visit in the evenings), Benjakiti Par, and Buddhamonthon Park, for a nice walk or just to be in touch with nature. Take a visit outside the city to Siam park, Safari world, Dream world, Siam ocean world..bring out the child in you for adventure and wonders. Go catch a catfish, go to crocodile farm or catch a cobra at snake farm. Get outside bangkok and go paragliding! Or go watch a muay thai boxing (I’ve never tried it but it might be fun) OR better, train yourself to be a muay thai boxer. Take a boat to the Koh Kret Island that is just outside Bangkok. Maybe go to the floating market? (I wasn’t a fan of buying vegetables though even though floating was fun)
Phew, I’m running out of things to say. I will update on another post as I experience the bests of Bangkok in the last 3 months I have here.