Oh Bangkok, the perfect destination for a treat-yourself trip. A country where you can get VIP treatment for the same amount of money you spend at home. With an incredibly rich culture, cuisine, religion, shopping and nightlife. There is so much to explore. As a tropical country, Bangkok is always hot making it the perfect destination all year round.
Language: Thai Location: Central East Asia Climate: Tropical – very hot and humid Currency: Baht
Bangkok is home to 400 mind-blowing temples and shrines. As a Buddhist country, there are many local shrines around the city where people go visit daily. Shrines are much smaller and quicker to see compared to temples that usually require a half/full day since its very easy to get distracted by all the mesmerising details.
The Wat Pho Reclining Buddha and the Wat Phra Kaew Templeof the Emerald Buddha are a few of the easiest temples to get to since they are located right by the Chao Phraya river and the Grand Palace.
If you are on the Thonburi side of the city (opposite to the Grand Palace), make sure to see the Wat Arun – The Temple of Dawn. This temple has a unique architecture with the main Prang tower located in the center surrounded by smaller towers. The towers are designed with Khmer style and you can climb to the top of the main tower to see an incredible view of the city.
The best way to get here is by taking it to the skies with the BTS Skytrain to Saphan Taksin station, or the orange flag Chao Phraya Express boat to Tha Tien (N8) pier.
Tip: Make sure to cover your shoulders, ankles and knees (for both sexes) when visiting temples in Thailand as a sign of respect. Long shorts and skirts, capris, t-shirts and polos are preferred options and definitely avoid tank tops.
Thai outdoor markets are one of the most fun things to do in the city. You can find incredible house decor, clothes and souvenirs for your friends and family. Everything is incredibly cheap and if you like to negotiate, you’ll have even more fun.
Chatuchak Weekend Market: This early morning market is a great place to start your day at the city’s most famous market. Here you can find literally everything from clothes, accessories, handicrafts, ceramics, furniture, art, food, beverages, books, antiques, collectibles and much more.
market divided into two sides with various tents selling clothes and goods. And right in the middle of the market, there’s a canal with people selling local fruits and foods. There is also an unexpected exhibition of large snakes and a slow loris that you can take photos with if you are brave enough.
When you arrive at the site, you have to take a short boat trip to actually get to the market, which is super thrilling.
Note: These markets are pretty far out from the city with no train station anywhere near it, so the best way to get here is by booking a day trip from your hotel or from an agency. These trips usually include other activities like the banana farm or the tiger sanctuary.
Continuing the awesomeness of shopping in Bangkok, make sure to stop by at least one of the many malls of the city. At MBK Center, a large local mall you can get clothes and authentic goods. Isetan is a Japanese department mall located in the equally huge Central World, which incredibly enough has another department mall called Zen. All these malls have VAT refunds, authentic Asian food courts, restaurants, cafes and above all incredible decor. Amongst these malls, my favourites are the Asiatique and Siam Paragon because they are super-malls with numerous things to do.
Asiatique: This night outdoor/indoor bazaar is divided into four districts. At the Chareonkrung District there over a 1,000 small boutiques split into four warehouses. If you are looking for unique fashion and gadgets, the Factory District is your spot.
The Waterfront District is a great place to have lunch and dinner at one of their 40 restaurants by the waterfront. Then head to the Two Square District’s where you can get delicious strong and affordable drinks at one of their many bars.
If you are a Muay Thai and theatre fan, don’t miss a show at the Live Theatre where you can watch a play about the history of the sport as well as a live match. The ticket costs 870 THB ($28) dollars for a 90-minute play, which runs from Tuesday to Sunday from 8.00PM.
There’s also the Thai puppet show and the famous ladyboy Calypso Cabaret show. If you don’t want to pay for performances or eat at a restaurant, there are lots of free street performances and food stands amongst the streets of the bazaar as well.
There’s always so much to do! Luckily the place closes at midnight.
The best way to get here is with the BTS train to the Saphan Taksin station.
This mall is so large that it will require several trips
for you to see everything.
The main part of the mall is dedicated to shopping with 250 stores of high-end fashion and department stores. It has Southeast Asia’s largest aquarium on the bottom floor with a fun boat ride to see the rays and sharks.
The basement is dedicated to food. Where you can find incredible restaurants and food courts from all over the world especially Asia and a great supermarket.
At the top floor, you can have the movie experience of a lifetime at the Cineplex Theatre. Where you can get VIP treatment for basically the same price you pay back home. If you purchase a two-person ticket for 1,500 baht ($48) you get to have a drink and a snack in the beautiful lounge, get a super comfortable deep-seated leather sofa with electric footrests where you can put your complimentary snacks and blankets.
Tip: Make sure to get there at least an hour before the movie to hang in the lounge AND get a 15-minute massage. Which is heaven after a day of shopping and exploring.
Above all, this mall also has three other malls, Discovery, Square and Center that are right next door. Each mall has its own unique style with corresponding stores that you can just hop to after being starstruck by Paragon.
How to get here: BTS train stop to their own stop, Siam Station.
National Museum: This museum is like no other, it is home to the largest collection of Thai artefacts in the entire country, including King Rama V’s exhibition of his luxurious gifts from his father. Chinese artefacts including Khon masks.
Tip: Make sure to check out this museum on a Thursday when they offer tours with English-speaking guides.
Jim Thompson House: Jim Thompson was an American Entrepreneur who went to Bangkok and fell in love with the country, the silk and the people. The museum is located at his former house, which is designed by Jim himself. As you walk around you get to learn about Thompson’s extraordinary bold life, the silk industry and his store. The house is decorated as a Thai complex with six traditional teaks, a beautiful surrounding garden and a cafe.
The Jim Thompson’s silk store is a great place to buy authentic souvenirs and Thai goods. You can find pillows, bags, clothes, travel essentials and everything you ever wanted with beautiful Thai silks with elephants and beautiful colours.
Boat Ride along Chao Phraya River
Bangkok has a large river with connecting canals. Where you can go on boat trips and cruises, a great day-activity since it can get reeeally hot. From the river, you can properly see the difference between the two sides of the city. On one side you can see the skyline of temples, markets and the Grand Palace while on the other side you can see where the locals live in wooden houses with children playing and freshening up in the water.
At night, there are dinner cruises where you can have a great dinner with performances while surrounded by a lit-up skyline.
At the home of the legendary martial sport, you can join a class at the many dojos in the city or watch live thrilling matches at stadiums like:
Rajadamnern Stadium: This historical and exciting stadium host matches four days a week (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday) at 6.30 PM for 1,000 to 2,000 THB.
Lumpinee Stadium: Just like Rajadamnern, Lumpinee is also a Muay Thai historical stadium but with a more modern structure. One of the reasons to why this stadium is more popular is because you can gamble and bet during the matches. The negotiations are done with hand signals just as they do it in the stock exchange rooms. Prices go from as cheap as 200 to 2,000 THB on Tuesdays to Fridays at 6.30 PM and on Saturdays at 4.00 PM and again at 8:15 PM.
Channel 7 Stadium: This free of charge stadium has an electric energy and it is always frequented by legendary veterans and rising superstars. Since it is free and only offer matches once a week on Sundays at 12:45 PM, I recommend going there at least 40 minutes before the match so you can get good seats.
MBK Stadium: Just when you though the huge MBK mall was just for shopping and eating, on Wednesdays at 6.00 PM you can watch matches in a ring outside of the mall.
Last but definitely not least, Thai massages- the most relaxing activity you can do in the city.
The art of massage has been part of Thai culture with different types and techniques that have been specialised for generations. Which means there are numerous types of massages for you to try such as aromatic with oils, reflexology, and warm herbs facial, foot and back massages. Some bigger spas even have massages for pregnant women and muscle massages for athletes.
If you are a fan of Thai decor and massages, I highly recommend going to a spa during your trip. Thailand goes beyond when it comes to luxury and hospitality.
I know it might sound like an expensive activity, but since its Bangkok, you can also find cheap but great parlours around the city. Especially in and around malls for as cheap as 300 THB ($7) for an hour. Arunda Oriental and At Ease are great locations for a massage break.
Have you been to any of these places? Let us know what you thought of them. 🙂