My first post on this blog. I’ve tried blogging before, but this time things will be different, and I’ll actually update. I recently returned home from my first visit to Thailand. Thailand has been #1 on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, so I was so happy to finally make that trip.
I want to share my experiences and help you plan out a guide in case you’d like to visit as well. So here’s my recommendations on things you should do in a guide to Bangkok, Thailand and a few helpful tips.
Things to Do
You can barely walk a few feet without running into a street food vendor. They have so many different foods to try and they are so cheap! 1 Thailand Bhat is equivalent to about .030 USD! So I got most of my meals on average $1-2 and they give you so much food and it tastes amazing! Be careful though, because Thai food is known to be spicy. Some of my recommendations are the fruit (mango and lychee being my faves), mini pancakes, grilled fish (it looks weird and I was skeptical at first, but it’s really good) and you can’t go wrong with any type of rice or noodle dish.
Also known as Temple of the Reclining Buddha. I was blown away by the artistry and attention to detail in these temples. Everything was so beautiful. It costs 100 bhat to gain entry, so have your cash at the gate. There is also free bottled drinking water near the Reclining Buddha. There are plenty of other temples around Bangkok as well.
Tip: Make sure you wear clothing that covers your knees and shoulders to enter the temples. You must also remove your shoes. Some temples have robes you can borrow if you don’t have proper attire.
Thailand is famous for the experience it provides visitors with wild animals. Do your research before selecting a facility to make sure you’re not supporting the mistreatment of these animals.
We visited Elephant Home and Nature which is founded and run by the owner of the tour company Tours With Tong (who I highly recommend) the elephants here are rescued and no basket riding is allowed, which is much better for them. The grounds are beautiful – so much open space and greenery. They offer many options, some including elephant bathing and being a mahout for a day. This is located in Kanchanaburi about 2.5 hours outside of Bangkok.
Asiatique is a really cute riverfront market with plenty of shops and some carnival type rides. They offer a free shuttle from the Sathorn pier which is connected to a BTS station. It’s the location of Calypso which features Bangkok’s famous ladybody cabaret. We went to a show and the costumes the performers wear are stunning! They really put on quite the production. I don’t recommend shopping at Asiatique because everything there is priced much higher than the street markets and you can find the same items much cheaper elsewhere.
This adorable little cafe looks straight out of a Lisa Frank coloring book. The colorful, pastel unicorn decor that adorns the entire place makes you want to take all the photos to show your friends back home. Their entire menu is Instagram worthy from their brightly colored drinks to their rainbow waffles. Unicorn Cafe is definitely worth the trip, especially if you have children.
This is for shopping on the higher end of the spectrum. Siam Paragon is where you shop for luxury, it features stores including Chanel, Jimmy Choo and YSL just to name a few. It’s connected right at the BTS Skytrain Siam terminal for direct access. It’s quite a large mall so it can be overwhelming. Not to mention there’s also a cinema and an aquarium inside. If luxury isn’t really your style, the nearby Central World Mall is within walking distance.
CHATUCHAK WEEKEND MARKET
Ok, I was warned before, but this market is huge! It’s overwhelming. You get a map at the main entrance (there’s about 300 other ways that you’re more likely to enter through) but it isn’t much help. There’s also an app, but I’d just go in and have at it. This market sells everything from clothes, to food, to lighting fixtures for your home. Go buy all your gifts for your friends back home here. Your dollar goes very far in Thailand. As the name states, it’s only opened on weekends.
This is one cute place. It’s a mall with some stores you’ve probably heard of before, like H&M, and a lot that you probably haven’t. Each floor represents a different country/ city and is themed accordingly. There’s Rome, Paris, San Francisco, the Caribbean and more. It’s indoors , air conditioned and clean. Outside on the ground level and directly across the street, there was two of the best markets I’d run into where I bought the majority of the clothing and accessories I got on this trip because they sold some really nice clothes for men and women. The one across the street is named a Night Market, but it was open during the day.
MUSEUM OF SIAM
This wasn’t actually on our itinerary, but we ran into it on our way to Wat Pho, so if you’re heading there, make sure you take this pit stop on your way. There’s an installation called “Gender Illumination” which is free to experience. This exhibit shines light on the transgender community and features amazing art, costumes and stories. This was one place I’m glad we accidentally discovered.
BANGKOK ART AND CULTURAL CENTER
This was another place we just so happened to find that turned out cool. It’s located near Terminal 21 and you can walk from there. For the art lovers like myself, this is worth a stop. It even has a store dedicated to graffiti where you can find all the spray paint you can imagine.
Ok, just about everywhere has a Chinatown and Bangkok is no exception. Experience the Chinese vibe which is a little different and more bustling than the usual calm of the rest of the city. Tut tuts line the street and taxis zoom passed. If you’re looking to buy or sell gold, this is clearly the place to go. Street vendor prices seem to be higher here than other places. A night visit would be worth it to check out the neon signs lit up.
When we first arrived we took a taxi from the airport to the hotel for 600 bhat because we weren’t really trying to figure out the transit system with large suitcases but there are better AKA cheaper ways.
Airport Rail Link
Drops you directly inside airport terminal. You can take this to and from airport. Don’t feel weird about carrying luggage because you won’t be the only one. It connects directly with BTS Skytrain station so it’s very convenient and quite cheap, especially compared to a taxi.
We basically lived by this while in Bangkok. It’s like a monorail and is above ground. Luckily, there was a station very close to our hotel. We would get day passes good until midnight the same day for 140 bhat (about $6). If you only need a specific destination, you can buy single trip passes as well. It’s so easy to use and there are route maps everywhere. I’m pretty sure you can get just about anywhere in Bangkok via the SkyTrain.
Some places along the river require you to take a boat to get there. The Sathorn Pier is connected to BTS SkyTrain station and you buy boat tickets by color. Each boat has a different flag color, so pay attention to where you need to go because different boats take different routes on specific days.
Tip: Don’t take the blue flag boat. I’m pretty sure it’s a tourist trap because it costs 50 bhat to go the same place the others go for 15.
It was quite warm in Bangkok, but I found it to not be as hot as back home in New Orleans, actually. Don’t be alarmed if your weather app says it’s always going to rain – ignore it. It rains for maybe about an hour then completely clears up. Wear sunscreen! The sums beams all day so you need to protect your skin always.
The currency of Thailand is the Thailand That. I exchanged currency at my bank before leaving home and was worried I didn’t take enough, but it was actually more than enough. If you do run out, there are exchange booths all over – in the malls and in the train terminals. Your dollar goes very far in Thailand because things are incredibly cheap in comparison to the U.S.
Day trips outside of Bangkok to other cities or to visit the islands are easy to do. Domestic flights are super cheap – I’m talking round trip $30 cheap! I suggest turning of your browser location because sites gauge flight prices based on location. Use Google flights and select United States as your location to access cheap flights.