Before I went here I expected this city to be big. But WOW, it’s huge. I have been to Bangkok twice now and on both occasions I have always found something to keep me entertained. The first time I went with 2 girlfriends and we spent most of the time shopping, eating, day tripping and taking advantage of the hotel pool.
The second time my girlfriend and I stayed in Bangkok for a couple of days before we started our Intrepid tour through Cambodia. We explored the streets, were in awe at the beautiful golden temples and tried to avoid filling up our backpacks as it was only the start of our trip.
Where we stayed: On the first trip to Bangkok I stayed in the Siam City Hotel. Pretty central, awesome pool and bar and delicious buffet breakfast. On the second trip we stayed in the Viengtai Hotel. It is right in the middle of everything, on one of the main drags surrounded by restaurants and bars and at night time the street fills up with food carts.
Where we went: We jumped on a tuk tuk and checked out the temples-in particular the Golden Temple, Big Temple and the Grand Palace (give yourself plenty of time to the Grand Palace). We shopped at MBK, the Sunday market (Chatuchak Market) and we took a day trip to the Tiger Temple with stops at the Kanchanaburi War Memorial through Destination Asia. I highly recommend this tour- plenty of stops along the way at places you wouldn’t usually see as a tourist unless you had your own wheels.
Where we ate/drank: We drank at the Sky Bar- on the 60-something floor with incredible views at night overlooking the city, Spice and Rice restaurant (attached to the Siam City Hotel, delicious Massaman curry) and a open aired steam boat restaurant with giant beers. The best way to find restaurants with good food? Walk the streets and find somewhere that’s busy. We stumbled across a resturant full of locals with no english and it was the best meal we had.
The highlight: feeding and playing with baby tigers at the Tiger Temple.
The worst bit: For those who get put off at the thought of large animals in small cages then avoid the “pet” section of the Chatuchak Market. There are also amputees that lay in the muddied water on the paths and beg for money- it’s very confronting.
My hot tip: If you get to the temple and the “officials” tell you the temple is closed for lunch for the monks, they’re lying. Its a scam and its just to get you on a tuk tuk and take you around to the different temples for a ridiculous price. Barter hard and confirm the price of your trip before you get into a tuk tuk and don’t pat the animals at the markets- unless you want to come back home with diseases.
Enjoy: the banana and nutella crepes from food stands. oh baby they are delicious!
Expect: that the locals will want you to dress appropriately. Before going to temples do your research and dress accordingly- have covered up shoulders, if its warm wear a long skirt that goes well beyond the knees and make sure that you don’t wear any gaping or revealing clothing. If you don’t follow the rules expect to be told to go to the shop at the temple and hire sarongs and over sized shirts.