Sawadee ka 🙂
So as a quick over view I really loved my time here in Bangkok.
From the atmosphere to the general hustle bustle, the malls, the markets, great food and beautiful temples. Read more about my experience and the top places to go with hints and tips and etiquettes.
Traffic is HORRENDOUS! And when I say you’ll spend more time in the taxi its quicker to just walk down, so when possible and if you can take the trains the BTS Skytrain is pretty easy to use.
With regards to how long you need atleast 5-7 days to really enjoy Bangkok and all it has to offer. 10 days would be sufficient enough to have a nice relaxing experience. As mentioned most of your time is spent in taxis or tuk tuks!
Be sure to look at hotel locations as I would NOT suggest Sukhumvit Road for family’s with young kids. It’s very much a red light district and full of Lady boy’s especially at night time. Day time is pretty much okay.
And a lot of good hotels provide free shuttle services in and around town so make use of it.
Also always check the weather for when your planning to go as it was literally chugging down when I went so couldn’t make much of the pool lol!
Lets start with the Temples and Palaces.
There’s lots of temples and Palaces all around Thailand and Bangkok in particular has some of the beautiful most intricate architectural temples around. Any thing with WAT in the name should indicate it’s a temple.
As respect when visiting the temples be sure to wear a sarong or skirt which is covering your knees and no bare shoulders or sleeves. Otherwise you will be refused entry and may have to rent or buy cover ups. This applies to men aswell.
People are greeted in the “wai” manner, Folding your hands together mid chest and for Monks with a slight bow. If your a woman be sure not to get too close to the Monks as they perform strict Bhramacharya rules and cannot be touched by women, even a brush of their robes would mean they have to fast and go through a cleansing ritual. It’s common to see monks all around don’t assume they will just be in the temples as they’ll be in cafes and living normal life.
Always remember to remove shoes before entering a temple.
Don’t interrupt the locals who are there to pray just to get your pictures. Be mindful.
And do pop a little donation into the box. This helps the general welfare of the temple (particularly the small temples located around).
Try not to overdo the temples though as theyll all seem like a bit of blur by the end of the day. Too much in one go you won’t be able to digest the beauty.
1- Wat Arun Or the Temple of Dawn.
This is a beautiful HUGE temple dedicated to Hindu god of Dawn, Aruna.
Here you can climb the Very steep stairs up to the top (Phra Prang) and see a beautiful view of Bangkok. On the journey up be sure to look at the story of Buddha embedded in the mosaic tiles and figures. The terraces also incorporate Lord Indra riding Erawan and the Trishul of Shiva, Mount Meru, Ravan, The Ramayan, Asuras along with other deities and symbolic realms.
At night this gleams in gold when illuminated by the lights. A must see sight. Best Photos are captured across the river.
Location – West Bank of Chao Phraya River.
Entrance free is 50Baht per person.
More Info – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wat_Arun
2- Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo
The temple of the Emerald Buddha is located here within the grounds of the Grand Palace. This is the most sacred temple in Thailand and at least all Thais try to visit once in their lifetime. Here resides A dark green statue of Buddha carved from one single Jade Stone. Its history dates it back to India where a Rishi Sage Nagasen had profesized it to bring prosperity to any country in which it resides.
Location- Phra Nakon Disctrict
Entrance to the Temple and Palace cost 500Baht for tourists.
Opening times – 8am – 3:30pm
Map and More Info -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wat_Phra_Kaew
This is where the Reclining Buddha lies. That one image that weve all seen numerous time.
Well its much more glorifying in real life. 46 metres long and in a golden Buddha in a rested asan. And is known to be the birthplace of the Thai Massage.And is one of the oldest temples in Bangkok.
Again the grounds are beautiful and intricately designs. Find hundreds of little golden Buddha statues all lined around the grounds. With the temples decorated in mirrored tiles.
Location- Phra Nakhon District on the Rattanakosin Island. (Opposite the Grand palace)
Entrance to the Temple cost 100Baht
Opening times – 8:30am – 6:30pm
More Info and Map – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wat_Pho
Now the real fun…….Shopping.
I found the people to be really friendly in general but bear in mind they are running a tourist business so they will compliment you hundreds and charge you triple the price. So always haggle when it comes to shop owners, but the general public were very friendly.
4- Floating Markets
There’s a few of these around, so depending on if you just want the experience or if you genuinely are looking for stuff to buy. (Save it for Chatuchuk as you will get it for a fraction of the price)
Apart from the various food stools its veggie heaven and you can get lots of exotic fruits to try out. The pricky pokey wierdly wonderful kind. There some aimed for the locals who wish to trade and others more for tourists but it’s definitely an experience. So ride along a Khlong, (which is a MUST DO in Thailand) and take a trip down the Chao Phraya River and be sure to bargain your journey. Especially if its a quiet pier they will pretty much take you for half the price. Ignore the leaflets they distribute. Around 40bahts for the river tour is about right.
Amphawa Market – 90km South of Bankgok, Really rustic feel to the market, souveniour, street food and sugary treats. Only thing is it does get a little crowded around midday so be sure to get their early to miss the tourist rush. I enjoyed this one the most!
Damnoen Saduak Market – It’s far out from Bangkok 100kms away and about an hour half’s drive, so need to get up early for this one. A real touristy area great for pictures, lively environment. But can be a bit too much around midday rush.
Talin Chan – The most common market as its only 12km from downtown Bankgok. Id suggest this one if you only have a few days to spare and just want to get the feel of the markets. And mainly for the sea foody people.
Bit more modern and doesn’t have the rustic charm of Amphawa but still good enough for a close by location. Nice mixture of foods and tourist treats.
Khlong Lat Mayom – Small sized market very close to Bangkok. And therefore not many tourists around. Not a really good feel to it but its okay to just pass time and relax.
Bang Nam Phueng – A recently set up market but not very popular. Very Very quiet. Nice place to just relax an unwind but to the full on experience as the top three. I would hardly call this a proper market to be honest.
5- Chatuchuk Market
Now this was a whole different experience, Ive never seen anything like it and if your travelling as a group heck even a couple. Be sure not to lose each other as its sooooo easy to get separated. Have a set exit time and meeting location just in case. (Clock tower is a good place)
This Weekend market is the real hustle and bustle like a boot sale vs fair times 100.
Yeap well over 10,000 stalls inside this one market rangeing from anything you could possibly buy. Cosmetics, perfumes, belts, clothes, gadgets, rabbits to pytons, to whatever you name.
Its all grouped off as 27 sections. And each section ahs the same group of good being sold. There are points of reference like the BTS & MRT stations, banks and numbers to help keep track of where you are and the alleys all marked in Soi’s. Maps are free so be sure to get a hold of one.
You can easily spend a full day here and not get bored.
Wear comfy clothes and shoes as it can get really stuffy and crowded inside. Keep a bottle of water handy.
Most vendors only take cash so don’t bother with a credit card.
Also be very wary of pickpockets. Only take what you need and keep it held securely to yourself.
Id advise you to bring a backpack for you to keep the items you buy all into one secure place.
Location – Kamphaeng Pret
Opening times – Saturday and Sundays 9am 6pm. Friday is wholesalers day.
More Info – http://chatuchak.org
There are lots of malls scattered all around so be sure to plan your day proplerly. If your in that area pop to the mall as its unlikely for you to venture back that way again. Too much traffic and you probably wont bother after. And do the bargain or walk away thing. 9/10 times they will call you back and a meet in the middle sell you it.
You can easily get carried away and not have enough luggage allowance later (ooops), the quality of items vary from mall to mall.
One of my favourites was the MBK Mall. This is really close to the Siam Paragon and Siam centre, which is all very high priced, designer but central region.
The MBK is bargain perfect for gadget lovers and you can pick up clothes, shoes, tailor made suits, movies and tech.
Nice and Clean and all under one roof.
If you don’t have much time I would suggest this one as it has it all and easy to get to.
Platinum Fashion Mall is another great Girls Heaven.
This has soo much to offer and something you can’s miss if you love a good UNBRANDED bargain. Its not for those who like their labelled stuff.
Everything is cheap cheerful and cute. From accessories to clothes, shoes and some great food places.
Be careful as some of the stitching and quality of clothes are really poor. Your paying for what you get so think cheap ebay clothes when it obv looks tacky and cheap! But there are plenty of good quality stuff. Think £5 sale. All dresses, shoes, anything you name under a £5.
Terminal 21– This was literally walking distance from my hotel in Sukhumvit (soi19 and 21) so was great. It has all the high street brands (for all be it similar price) Think Levi’s, Addidas, h & m Type.
But the actual layout and quirkyness of this mall is that its set to be like an airport terminal. It literally has levels where in which you enter different countries all together. Vist the UK, Tokyo, Istanbul and all sorts under one roof. Small enough to spend a few hours. Or even catch a Movie on the top floor complex.
Go through security check in and trail through the escalators and uniformed assistants around.
There’s also lots of night markets located all around the streets of Sukhumvit at night, be sure to visit these.
This is a NIGHT market primarily aimed for the tourists along the Chao Phraya River. Here you can find countless restaurants and bars. And you can’t miss the giant ferris wheel. An evening full of adventure with lots of entertainment and its great family fun. Think Brighton pier and arcade-ish type. You can also book shows and play lots of virtual games a
Good market stall foods and just a nice scenic evening to pass in general.
Patpong night market is also another great night wonder. This is definitely more market-y.
8- Veggie/Vegan Food in Thailand
Food wise I’m a veggie so found it a little hard to get pretty descent food, the street markets are great for those who eat just about anything. But there are lots of little tucked away vegan/veggie friendly places to eat. Its hard to find a PURE VEGETRARIAN place but here are a few tried and tested places which serve good veg meals.
Read more about it my tried and tested places here.
And be sure to check out the vegetarian festival held around October if your around. It lasts nine days and usually falls around the similar time to our navratri and china town is filled with great vegetarian food stalls and meals. Manu Hindus, Buddhists and Chinese believe these 9/10 days of vegetarian dieting will cleanse the body and be pure for the ceremony and festivities.
Sukhumvit Road is one of the longest streets divided by soi’s. It livens up at night to unreveal the bars, clubs and shisha places.
This also has great places for food stalls and shops.
Soi 11 or cowboy and soi 4 Nana Plaza has the most clubs and pub atmosphere.
Its the popular red light district so do be wary, for all in stilettos are not what they seem here.
Silom is also another night life district.
Theres plenty of rooftop bars and nightclubs all scattered around.
Check out Ce La Vie, Onyx, Route 66 are recommended nightclubs.
And rooftop bars are found at elite hotels, check out vertigo & moon bar at the banyan tree, Sky Bar at Lebua State Tower, 360 at the Millenium Hotel.
Click for great lists and breakdowns.
10- Spa Treatments
Don’t forget to book yourself in for a good few bargain Spa treatments. I’m not one for fish pedicure, so I gave that a miss but you can get some really good massages. Id avoid the Thai Massage though is your there to relax. Not sure if I would like anyone to crackle stand and stretch my body in all sorts but I hear its one of the best pain releiving ones out there eeek…. and just know which place and where your going! Avoid any parlours in the Red light districts as its really obvious as to what to expect here. Look for the real holistic and trendy places cos thier cheap as chips and an amazing experience.
Prices are around 450bahts for a good descent pamper. For less than 40 quid you can have the works, mani pedi facial and massage.
Hope you have a great time out there x