Let’s start with the obvious, Bangkok has some pretty stunning temples particularly against a dawn or dusk backdrop. Aside from the historic and cultural importance of these beautiful temples the climb to reach the views from Wat Arun is an adventure in itself, whilst vistas from the top of Saket go unparalleled. Finally even just the sight of the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew inspires the heart and mind. Definitely my favourite thing to do in Bangkok.
Master public transport
Coming from an average transport system in Melbourne, Australia I couldn’t help but be amazed by the precision of Bangkok’s subway system and BTS. This aside taking public transport in Bangkok is an excellent way to see the city through the eyes of a local and also offers the chance to uniquely mix with those that call this city home. Not to mention how awesome and easy life gets once you master getting around town.
Street food is famed in Asia but you’d be hard pressed to find better spots to eat culinary delights than on the streets of Bangkok. Here you can try anything from tasty fried banana to spicy chicken curries, there is everything to satiate you desires and level of hunger. We found that the best place for street food was in the business districts as hungry office workers come out and line up at the many street carts.
Khao San Road
In a city where traditional Thai life meets the barnstorming ways of the west, Khao San combines the connection best. Whilst a lot has changed just beneath the surface remains the sense of bourgeoning youth in Khao San. Street stalls still peddle everything from crazy insects and even odder clothing. Travellers still wander aimlessly under the neon lights and waddle in late at night looking for a place to crash. Khao San remains every bit as chaotic and enlivening as ever.
Completing a river cruise down Chao Phraya River alongside the stunning temples is a must do for any traveller in Bangkok. Whether you do this via an old merchant boat or by a luxurious boat with meals included is up to you and your budget. However to float down the river particularly at night when the temples glisten against the water is one hell of a sight.
For a special way to get amongst Thai life, sample local produce and the exhilarating atmosphere of their markets you must try the floating markets. Damnoen Saduak is the most popular of the floating markets and despite a very touristy vibe it still remains an incredibly vibrant and scenic experience. For a more authentic experience head to the Amphawa floating markets, where visitors are almost exclusively Thai and the strong scent of seafood floats through the air.
If it isn’t the stretch of road oozing an insatiable intensity then it will probably be the horde of shops with nothing but gold inside that will sweep you off your feet. Whilst the chaos is no different from the rest of Bangkok it’s Chinatown offers up something different whether that simply be the language on the billboards or the style of food served up on the carts. It is a unique part of the city and equally as intoxicating. Come here on the Chinese New Year to see Chinatown at its best.
Patpong and Soi Cowboy
There are some places you simply have to see, even if it means never returning again. There are some that love and some that hate the red light districts of Bangkok, so I will leave it up to you to make your own opinion. However these two streets are a huge thread in the fabric of Bangkok life and whether you love it or not, it sure will be an experience.
Whilst sheer popularity can sometimes decrease a place’s worth the boom in market stalls and crowds at Chatuchak has only served to make it more of a must see destination. Chatuchak has over 8,000 stalls and on the weekend visitors swell to over 200,000. Even if you are not on the lookout for a gift for grandma or a weird keepsake, this vibrant market will sweep you up and take you on a journey worth every bit of exhaustion.
If you have been run ragged by the maze of stalls at Chatuchak or your legs are tired from climbing the temple steps, head down to Lumphini Park to relax. This is a perfect place to get away from the commotion of a city always in motion and simply sit, people watch and enjoy the green surroundings. Whilst the noise of cars and markets sound in the distance Lumphini Park offers a little spot of peace.
Got another great thing to do in Bangkok? Leave your thoughts below