Bangkok, Banglampoo, Chao Phraya Express, Chutuchuk Market, Grand Palace, Hangover 2, Kao San Road, Lebua State Tower, Lizards, Lumphini Park, Maggie Choo's, MBK, Memorial Bridge Night Market, Or Tor Kor Market, Reclining Buddha, Siam Discovery, Sky Train, Thailand, Wat Arun, Wat Pho
One night in Bangkok – and the world’s your oyster … That’s what they say. And they’re right! Now imagine spending a whole week there!
But let’s start from the beginning. As some of you might have seen on Twitter or Instagram, I’ve been to Thailand for Christmas and New Years of 2013/2014. My boyfriend spent 3 months in Bangkok for work so I took the opportunity to visit him and the beautiful country of Thailand. This series is all about what we did, where we went, what we ate and what kind of Asian goodies I brought home – I hope you enjoy!
Bangkok is an amazing city. It has been my first time ever travelling to Asia and wow – that was quite an experience! The noise, the smells and the hectic of Bangkok is definitely something you have to get used to, but it’s so worth it!
I arrived in Bangkok on Christmas Eve. The first thing I had to learn was: It takes some experience to ride a cab in Bangkok. Don’t let them tell you it’s not common to use the taxi meter! The drivers have to use it, it’s the law. And it will probably safe you some money and insure that you’re driving with a licensed driver. Just refuse the driver if he’s not willing to use his taxi meter. Second thing I learned about taxis: There’s a highway fee. If you’re taking a taxi from Suvarnabhumi Airport to the city you will most likely take the highway – and there’s a few checkpoints where the driver will have to stop and pay a small fee. This basically translates to: The driver will hold his hand towards the back of the car and expects you to give him money to pay the fee. Definitely take some smaller bills with you for this – a credit card won’t do the job! If you have 2 or 3 50-baht-bills on you, they will be fine for the highway fees. The taxi fare from the airport to Bangkok can vary from 350 to 800 baht, depending on traffic and on where in Bangkok you’re going.
First thing we did after arriving in Bangkok was getting some food. You will find all about our daily feasts in one of the next parts of the series. Just let me tell you this one thing: The food is amazing. Period. I have nothing else to say. And it’s true what they say: You get the best food from all the little stalls on the streets! We basically only ate there and even though they look kinda sketchy and I have a little bit of a sensitive stomach – I never had any sorts of problems,
On Christmas Day we already got on another plane to Koh Samui (read more about that here). We returned from our trip on New Years Eve. The apartment building my boyfriend stayed in had a really nice rooftop terrace – so we stayed there with some friends, ate, drank and watched the fireworks over the city at midnight. It was amazing! At about 2 a.m. we decided to go out and dance, so we went to a club called Maggie Choo’s. Let me tell you – that bar is crazy awesome! If you love watching people while enjoying your dring – Maggie Choo’s is the place to go. There are swings with the prettiest (and probably expensive… but that’s just a guess) girls hanging from the ceiling, the bartenders serve you from behind bars. The dresses are short and the music is loud. It’s definitely a place you should take a look at! The only thing that I really disliked about the club is that there were little people in uniforms dancing on a stage – they were obviously hired and didn’t look too happy to be there. It felt kind of degrading to me… But again, that’s just my impression.
The next day was kind of quiet (and a little hungover :)). We slept in and then decided to go on a little trip to Banglampoo, which is probably the most touristy part of town. We took the Chao Phraya Express Boat (20 baht, you can pay on the boat) and got off at Phra Athit. We took a little stroll around Samsen Road, Soi Rambutri and – of course – Kao San Road. Again, there’s lots of street vendors, clothing, food… sonsory overload! But worth it.
On January 2nd, we took a trip to Ayutthaya. Read all about that here. Our next day we spent in Bangkok again. We visited the German Embassy and took a stroll around Lumphini Park which is a paradise within the city! Its huge lake reminded me of the Alster at home in Hamburg. And we were not alone – the park is populated by humongous lizards!! Those guys won’t harm you in any way (at least I’m pretty sure the won’t…), just be aware that one of those scaly friends might cross your path from time to time. The longest one we’ve come across was about 1,50 m long.
At one point we were ready for a little break and rented one of the numerous little pedal boats on the lake. They look like swans and are so romantic 🙂 Later that day we took a cooking class at Sompong Thai Cooking School, another activity that I highly, highly recommend!! Read more about the class here.
January 4th was all about the cultural experience. First thing in the morning, we visited the Grand Palace. Again, we took the Chao Phraya Express and got off at Tha Chang Pier. From there, it’s just a short walking distance to the Grand Palace. Have I talked about sensory overload before? Now – this is it!! Pageantry and magnificence whereever you look! It costs 500 baht to get in and is worth every single penny. Just be aware to dress appropriatly – the place is very important to the Thai population and you shoudn’t run around with hot pants, too much cleavage or dirty clothes. Bear in mind that different cultures might be offended by different ways to dress – my experice has shown that for example in Thailand – unlike many other countries – bare shoulders are not something that is much appreciated. Tourists will get away with it, but still. Try to adjust to different cultures while travelling. Just keep your eyes open for behaviour that might offend people, and you should be fine 🙂
Our next stop (again – walking distance) was Wat Pho with the Reclining Buddha. Again, dress appropriately – otherwise you will be given a robe to put on over your clothes. This place is a sancturay for Buddhists, keep that in mind. The Reclining Buddha is bigger than I have ever imagined! It symbolizes Buddha attaining Nirvana. The body is covered in gold, the feet impressively show buddhist symbols made from mother of pearl.
If your feet still carry you (believe me, the areas of both the Grand Palace and Wat Pho are huge!), take the little ferry across the river to Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn. It is totally worth it! You can actually climb onto the porcelain-covered tower and will be rewarded with a stunning view of the city. Just be warned – the stairs are steep as a ladder and if you’re scared of heights, this might not be for you. If your the one left behind downstairs, enjoy an iced coffee in the little coffee booth in front of Wat Arun. Let me tell you – it’s not that easy to get great coffee in Bangkok, but this place is rocking it!
In the evening, we went to visit the Memorial Bridge Night Market. This place is heaven if you want to shop clothing, shoes, watches, jewelry and much more. I even dared to try my first grasshopper on that market – and nope, I’m not talking about the drink 😉
On January 5th we continued exploring Bangkok’s markets – and visited Chutuchuck Weekend market. How do I even begin to explain the size and variety of this market?? I can’t!! Just go and explore. And bring some time. That’s all I have to say about this, Look out for my Thailand haul blogpost (coming soon) to see what I got.
In walking distance from Chutuchuck, all you foodies out there can explore Or Tor Kor market. They offer high quality food in a very clean (and cool) hall. If you’d like to try the real exotic stuff (like Durian, for example), you should not miss out on that market! Again, more about that is coming up on my food post.
Last but not least, I went to discover Bangkok’s huge shopping malls on my last day in the city. I visited MBK and Siam Discovery, two examples of the variety Bangkok has to offer. MBK on the one hand is filled with little stalls and bigger shops, you can basically find everything and anything in there. It’s crowded, loud and exciting. Siam Discovery on the other hand is a very fancy, quiet and clean-looking place, filled with the more expensive brands. There’s a skyway connecting most of Bangkok’s shopping centers, it’s worth a tour!
My time in Bangkok ended with an unforgettable night on the 64th floor of the Lebua State Tower. They have and amazing Skybar up there (which you might have seen in Hangover 2). The drinks are hella expensive but guys, they’re the best cocktails I’ve ever had! And the view is stunning!! Again, watch your clothes 🙂 The place is quite fancy, men won’t be allowed with sneakers or shorts, girls should wear a pretty dress or something nice.
That’s it for my time in Bangkok! If you want to read more about my time in Thailand, stay tuned for my other posts! Also, there’s gonna be more on Bangkok (best restaurants, cooking class etc) in those other posts, so don’t miss out on them 🙂 Thanks for reading, guys! If you’re going to Bangkok any time soon: Be sure my pure envy is with you 😉
See you in my next post!