Most people refer to New York as the city that never sleeps, however I beg to differ! Having visited Bangkok well over 5 years ago, you would have thought the memories would have faded by now but… not a chance! Wondering around Bangkok for the very first time is a memory I will never forget, I had never before witnessed such a manic atmosphere, with every street packed to the brim with tourists and locals. The sights, the smells and most importantly the food were so far removed from anything I had ever experienced back in the UK, it was practically love at first sight!
Eat like a local
Sit and wonder at soi Thonglor has some really tasty curry dishes and seems to be a big hit with the locals too. I would highly recommend their sweet and sour vegetable curry, green chicken curry and sticky mango rice. Susie Wong’s Beers and Buns is another great jaunt if you’re seeking something quick and filling at a very low-cost. The ‘Bao’, a toasted bun with meat (typically bbq pork) is seriously yum and only 120 baht (roughly £2.50). G’s Bangkok is a lovely little restaurant serving up mainly German dishes, although it does also provide European, Asian, and of course, Thai dishes. Located at Silom Soi on Silom road, it is not in the quietest of areas but then this is Bangkok, the city that never sleeps! I would recommend trying the Salmon with creamy mash potatoes here, so good! They also have a very large selection of German and European beers and the food is reasonably priced. Chinatown is possibly the most chaotic part of the entire city but it sure does offer some crazy good food! You’ll find everything from noodles to fresh seafood on this long stretch and its also a great place to visit at night if you fancy a few cheap drinks.
Bangkok is home to some pretty impressive temples, many of which are either free to enter or require a small donation. Wat Traimit, Wat Benchamabophit and Wat Saket and the Golden Mount are all highly recommended. The grand palace sits beautifully at the heart of Bangkok and is probably the most recognized landmark within the city. Built in 1982, it was previously the official residence of the Kings of Thailand, although these days its used primarily for state functions. Tourists are not allowed directly inside the palace (for obvious reasons) but you are able to wander around its grounds and the open temples surrounding it. The Chao Phraya River meanders all the way through the center of Bangkok and is a nice little spot to walk around if you feel like taking a break from the fast-paced city life. Even better, get yourself on one of the many river ferries or hire out a boat yourself which includes a driver and an optional guided tour. Muay Thai is a combat sport that is taken VERY seriously in Bangkok, with many fighters training for most of their lives. Get yourself booked into see an authentic match at Rajadamnern Stadium and prepare to be amazed at the skill and strength at these world-class fighters.
The floating market is a must-do for everyone visiting Bangkok. Khlong Lat Mayom and Thaling Chan are the two most popular, with the latter being the closest to the city itself. Both are very traditional and it kind of feels as if you’re stepping back in time to a much more rural Thailand upon entering. With lots of brightly-colored flowers, fragrant smells rising from freshly-cooked food and loads of organic, locally-made produce available, these markets create sensory-overload. Enjoy! The weekend market is pretty much famous around the world and if you’ve been there already, you’ll know why. First of all, it is absolutely humungous which also means you are very likely to get lost. Secondly, you can and WILL find literally anything and everything here. You name it, the weekend market has got it. I’m talking designer handbags to cats, yes, whatever it is you’re searching for, make sure you don’t miss this market! For opening times and a guide on how to survive your first time visiting (trust me, you’ll need it), take a look here. If you’re looking to do a bit more of a high-end/high-street shop, then check out one of the many malls the city has to offer. Paragon and Emporium (high end) Central world and Siam square have got everything from cheap phones to Toyshop and are generally a lot cheaper than the UK clothing prices.
After absorbing all the madness of life in the big city, you’re sure to be in desperate need of some relaxation time and believe it or not, it is actually possible in Bangkok! The hotel Indigo in downtown has an amazing infinity pool that offers some incredible views of the city. I would highly recommend spending a few hours unwinding on your sun lounger and sipping on a cocktail (or two, or three….) before watching the sun set. Hiring out a bicycle is a great way to explore the city but it can also be very unsafe (and not particularly stress-free!). But, taking your bike to one of the many parks in Bangkok is a different story (and a much calmer one, too!) Bang Krachao, also known as the ‘Green lung of Bangkok’ is an oasis of plush green forestry and gardens that are a million miles away from the busy streets of the city. You can ride around all day here until your hearts content and its also a great spot for a picnic. Chatuchak park and Lumpini Park are also wonderful places to workout or simply unwind with a good book.