In some places in the world, you easily find your place and feel great. In some it’s not that easy. You remember about those you like because of all sorts of things: their smell, flavour, sounds etc. A few years ago, me and my friend imbibed the smell of Spain when we arrived in Barcelona. We felt like at home which is exactly how we now feel in Bangkok!
I have to tell you one thing. Right now we’re in Burma, we’re seeing some amazing places that are new to us but I already miss Bangkok a bit. Three days spent there only made me want more. I’m far from being satisfied, I still haven’t got enough of it. I already told Łukasz yesterday that if we’ll pass through Bangkok before we fly to Poland, I want to spend at least one day there. Not only a night in a random hotel by the airport. I want to feel the magic of Chinatown again, drink some coconut water for 25 bahts (why don’t they sell coconuts to drink in Burma???), eat a perfect pad thai and a spectacular sticky rice with mango. Yeah…
While we were in Bangkok, we were thinking about where to go and what to see but in the end we haven’t done anything new, since we stuck to the places we know… While we were looking for new things to do, we failed to find a good list of those online. So we made our own! 🙂 With lots of Thai cuisine since we miss it heavily!
12 THINGS YOU NEED TO DO IN BANGKOK:
1) VISIT THE GIANT RECLINING BUDDHA IN WAT PHO
If it’s your first time in Bangkok, be sure to visit all the main tourist attractions. Wat Pho also called The Temple of the Reclining Buddha is surely one of these. I already liked it on our first visit in 2012. A giant statue of Buddha (46 m long and 15 m high!) who lies conveniently with one of his hands holding his head as if he was watching a soap opera from his couch! After Wat Pho, no Buddha figure looks amazing anymore! Wat Pho is located in the former royal city called Rattanakosin and located near the Grand Palace. Combining those two during one trip is a good idea.
for more see Wat Pho website.
ticket: 100- 200 bahts
opening hours: 8 am – 6.30 pm
2) SEE THE GRAND PALACE AND THE TEMPLE OF THE EMERALD BUDDHA
Another must see. A huge complex, fantastic, beautiful buildings and ornamental figures. Official seat of king of Thailand until mid 20th century. Within the complex, you will also find The Temple of The Emerald Buddha who may not be as impressive as the one in Wat Pho but is still one of the most popular sights in the Palace. As most of the Buddhist temples in Thailand or Burma, this one is impressive as well. Grand Palace is also swarming with tourists, but that’s one thing you have to live with when you’re in Bangkok.
If you don’t like crowds, go see the little less popular, yet charming temples such as Wat Suthat or Loha Prasad.
more information: Palace’s webste
3) TAKE BTS TO CHATUCHAK MARKET
When in Bangkok, be SURE to take the famous skytrain which rides above the main artery of the city – the never-ending Sukhumwit. A nice experience, a new perspective – and if you’re visiting Bangkok with a child – you’ll be rewarded for it! A train that rides in the sky?!?! Sounds like Cat in the Hat’s crazy vehicle if you’re familiar with newest cartoons for few-year-olds. A thing that may come in handy later on 😉
In order not to ride BTS pointlessly (it’s better to walk Sukhumwit on your feet and enjoy the vibe), take a ride to Chatuchak Market. It may not be our favourite place in Bangkok (too loud, too tourist), but it’s still worth seeing. Selection of street food, souvenirs for tourists, clothes and promo done by Thai hostesses is something worth experiencing!
4) SPEND A NIGHT IN CHINATOWN
A place we always miss the most which made us find accommodation here for the very first time. A bullseye. Before, when we lived in other locations, we still ended up in Chinatown every evening. Crowded, loud, full of honking cars and tuk tuks. You have to squeeze between street eateries and fruit merchants. Crowded with tourists but also a genuine place. And plenty of delicious food! We suggest walking away from the main Yaowarat Road and penetrating tiny alleys in order to see the snacks being sold at the bazaar, observe the life of locals and in the end, eat sukiyaki in Texas Suki, a Chinese eatery which is bursting at the seams every evening. During the day, Chinatown is much calmer and sometimes even unrecognisable but this morning incarnation can be charming as well.
5) BE HEALTHY AND DRNK COCONUTS!
You don’t need water, Coke and juice since coconut water drank right from a young coconut is the best drink you’ll get in Bangkok! In Chinatown or on Sukhumwit, it’s available pretty much everywhere. The average price is 20-30 bahts which is more or less PLN 2-3. It’s surely a better value for money than a dull bottle of water! You can always haggle if the price is higher 😉 I love the moment when the seller cuts the lid off the coconut, puts the straw inside and gives me the chilled coconut! I miss that so much in Burma!!
6) EAT STICKY RICE WITH MANGO AT LEAST ONCE A DAY! 🙂
Sticky rice with mango is a perfect example of a simple yet amazing delicious meal. You don’t need much to make a perfect dessert! Sticky rice with coconut milk poured over it, served with fresh mango. So little yet so much. If the mango is so juicy that it drips all over your chin(and it is most of the times when you’re in Thailand!), then you’re gone. You’ll fall in love instantly! You’ll forget cheesecake, tiramisu, chocolate soufflés and grandma’s apple pie. You’ll even forget about chocolate – you’ll start dreaming about mango sticky rice at night. Like me 🙂
You will find this dessert both in restaurants (served beautifully as in the picture), in tiny joints and obviously in the streets packed into styrofoam boxes with coconut milk in a plastic bag 🙂 It tastes perfect everywhere!
7) ENJOY PAD THAI AND SATAY!
What does a food blogger do when he arrives in Bangkok? He orders a pad thai! With chicken or shrimps. Finally a perfect one with dry chilli, lime, peanuts and sprouts so he can spice it up himself. Then, he takes a picture 🙂 What does a food blogger’s child do? Orders chicken satay and viciously devours the skewers. And the adults lick the bowl with hot peanut sauce clean 😉 Tom yum kung, Thai curry and all sorts of dishes in the Chinese district are ones you have to try as well, but pad thai is the most important one. It doesn’t count as being to Thailand if you fail to eat it!
8) DRINK POMEGRANATE JUICE
Do it in the evening in Chinatown! There’s no fruit that looks more appetising and no better place to drink fresh pomegranate juice.
9) SEE BANGKOK FROM A TUK TUK!
Someone recently asked us on Facebook: ‘will you travel by tuk tuk? It’s more comfy and cheaper than a taxi!’. We love tuk tuks – those in Thailand and in Cambodia alike. Maks loves them too which makes a tuk tuk ride an important attraction! We like feeling the gusts of wind, especially on a hot day. We also like seeing the city life from a tuk tuk and not from behind a window. All seems so close! It’s a tricky thing when it comes to payments. You definitely HAVE TO HAGGLE! Sometimes they may want to charge you 500 bahts (PLN 50) for a distance that should cost 5 times less. Be careful and remember to haggle! If 3 or 4 tuk tuks reject your offer that means the price really is too low 😉
10) CHILL OUT IN LUMPINI PARK
When you’re in a big city, you sometimes have to run away from the noise, cars and wide streets. In Madrid it’s best to hide underneath the trees in Retiro while in Bangkok Lumpini Park is worth visiting. Take your time and relax by the lake just a few steps from wide and loud Sukhumwit. If you’re travelling with a child, consider Lumpini a MUST – you will find a playground there! 🙂
11) TAKE A BOAT TO DAMNOEN SADUAK
Floating market is one of the best places you can see around Bangkok. Take Damnoen Saduak for instance. An amazingly picturesque place! You get on a boat, drift between little shops on poles and other boats that sell various Thai specialties, fruits and coconuts. Instead of street food, you get boat food! There’s also plenty of souvenirs, but they tend to be quite expensive since the sellers are understandably counting on fat tourist wallets who are aroused after seeing such a beautiful place. It’s worth visiting and buying a snack and a … coconut 🙂
12) TAKE A LONGBOAT CRUISE ON CHAO PRAYA RIVER
In the evening you can head to Chao Praya river and take a longboat cruise as far as Wat Arun temple. As you depart from a makeshift harbour which is in walking distance from Chinatown, you will see huge shiny hotels and the big city life of Bangkok. The further you go, the more wooden houses you will see on the banks and more peace and quiet you will experience… Perfect rest from the concrete jungle.
Our list is based on our 4 trips to Bangkok – in 2012, 2013 and now in 2015 🙂 As every list, it’s subjective but I think it covers the essential things to see in the city. We’re not sending you to Khao San Road – the most backpacker’s street in the city – for a good reason. It has its advantages – there’s plenty of tourist offices there if you want to book a trip of some kind, there’s plenty of restaurants and it’s close to Grand Palace and other sights. But for us Kho San Raod is definitely too tourist-oriented, with too many people speaking English around and too many western-style attractions. Nothing to rave about. It’s not what we’re going to Thailand for. We’ll stick to our Chinatown 🙂
If you’re planning to visit Bangkok or Thailand in general (it usually starts in Bangkok anyway!), check EMIRATES website for tickets. And do it fast since they have a New Year’s special offer that ends on 23rd January 🙂 You’ll find it HERE.
* the entry was written in cooperation with EMIRATES airlines