Thailand is one of those places that for a long time I always thought would be incredible to visit. Having missed out on not doing a gap year backpacking it definitely appealed to me to visit. So of the first of a mini series of blogs this is my summary/highlights of a 3 night stay in Bangkok.
After a 11h 30min flight from London to Bangkok on Thai Airways (very pink and purple) I was finally in Bangkok. Arriving on a Sunday first things first drop off bags at the hotel (Courtyard by Marriott Bangkok hotel – conveniently located between the Ratchadamri and Chit Lom stops on the BTS Skytrain). The hotel also conveniently has a Tuk Tuk that they will take you to Chit Lom (5 minute journey roughly) and if you call them once at Chit Lom they will pick you up to go back to the hotel.
I would recommend getting a rabbit card (100 baht (useable as credit) plus 50 baht refundable deposit. The Standard Rabbit Cards are valid for 5 years and can be filled with a minimum of 100 baht and up to 4,000 baht). We also travelled around via taxis, from Courtyard Marriott Hotel to Khao San Road in traffic we paid about 120 baht (30-45 minute journey). Just to add the food hall at Siam Paragon shopping centre (just next to the Siam BTS stop) leaves you feeling spoilt for choice. There are restaurants and also a big table seating area where you can grab some food from one of the many booths dotted around the edge. The choices range from Thai to French to Japanese to Korean and so much more. It’s easy to have a full sit down restaurant experience and also to grab something to go.
No time for jet lag straight to the market as it is a weekend market at Chatuchak covering 27 acres with over 15,000 booths selling anything and everything from food to clothes to arts and crafts. This is easily reached from Chit Lom by taking the BTS from Chit Lom to Mo Chit (exit 1) from there, there are likely to be fellow crowds heading towards the market. This market was really interesting but definitely need to brush up on my bartering skills!
The Grand Palace was easily reached by taking the Chaophraya Express Boat (from Saphan Taksin BTS stop) to the Chang Pier (Tha Chang). The boat trip is a really lovely way to see Bangkok and quite relaxing, extremely cost effective too paying once you get on the boat 15 baht each.
Strict dress code as this has some of the most sacred elements in Thailand- no bare shoulders, legs covered up – there is a booth near the entrance where you can hire clothes for a deposit once returned. There is also a 500 baht entrance fee. The architecture and grounds are really quite stunning but it was incredibly busy with big tour groups. I cannot recommend enough to get there early! It opens at 8.30, we got there just before 9 and left a couple of hours later where there was already a large queue waiting to get in.
Sirocco and Sky Bar
The Sirocco restaurant is on the 63rd floor (I believe this was about 200m high) of the Lebua State tower next to the Sky Bar (famous from featuring in the Hangover 2 movie). Although the restaurant doesn’t open to 6.30pm we got there at 6pm to start enjoying the views from the bar of the sunset. The view is incredible seeing so far out over Bangkok. Our motto we went with was pretty much ‘once in a lifetime’.
Having being seated at our table we were served with impeccable service enjoying a delicious dinner, I also had a delicious gin cocktail. This has to be the most incredible view I have had whilst dining – this redefined rooftop, alfresco dining for me. There was also a live jazz band from 7.30pm and enjoying the sky bar afterwards was a great experience. Although this was a rather more expensive experience in Thailand it was definitely worth it. Following on from the 63rd floor the ocean 52 bar was also visited a few floors down. All in all Lebua state tower did not disappoint.
Khao San Road
Khao San Road is one of my highlights of Bangkok, well known as a hub for backpackers it had a great feel to it. From bars pumping out music to backpackers hauling their rucksacks through to food being sold on the street the atmosphere was what I anticipated Thailand backpacking to feel like. Pad thai with egg and chicken at 50baht sitting on the side of the road was actually quite delicious. Also had some classic mango sticky rice (so good!).
Amongst the highlights above I also visited Don Wai Market (more for local thais – the restaurant on the water was delicious but difficult to order if you didn’t speak/read thai), central world, the siam shopping centres and the patpong night market area. We also visited Maggie Choo Bar just down the road from Lebua State Tower at Novotel Fenix Silom. The bar reflects 1930s Shanghai underground cabaret, although it was very quiet when I was there (still early at 9pm) the cocktails and live jazz music were great.
Barter but don’t be rude, drink plenty of water but don’t drink tap water, bring sunscreen (it went up to 36 degrees celsius in March), pick up a card at your hotel with the address on in case you need to overcome the language barriers getting back to the hotel. Also, don’t go crazy on buying loads of liquids prior to heading to Bangkok, we found a boots just near Chit Lom station where we stocked up on sunscreen and insect repellents,there are also Watsons which is similar to Boots all over the place. Most of all Bangkok is a beautiful place so just have fun with it!
Hope you enjoyed reading, please feel free to ask any questions or to let me know your travel experiences of Bangkok.