Bangkok is an impressively fast pace and affordable city, and during my three-week visit to Bangkok, I was able to explore all that this magnificent city has to offer. It's filled with beautiful high-rise buildings, detailed temples, friendly locals, loads of culture, and plenty of food to satisfy everyone's taste buds.
Bangkok is one of the biggest cities in the world with the population count being just over 9,617,000. Unfortunately, being in such a thriving city, you're sure to expect some heavy traffic congestion and you may run into a few shady taxi drivers. So here is a list of some helpful tips to having a fantastic trip to Bangkok.
If you're looking to soak up the culture when visiting Bangkok, it is imperative that you explore the temples. The Grand Palace, Wat Pho (Temple of Reclining Buddha, Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of Emerald Buddha), and Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) are some of the main temples. These temples are pretty close to one another. So plan a day to walk around and see them all.
(Tip)- Remember to wear appropriate attire. Such as tops that cover your shoulders and stomach. Skirts, shorts, and dresses should be knee length. If you forget, don't panic! Right outside of each temple they sell pants, skirts, and tops. The skirts were rather cute and perfect for souvenirs to take back home.
Long Tail Boat Tour
The longtail boat ride was my favorite. I would suggest to set aside a few hours to thoroughly enjoy this. Floating on the canal was a very relaxing experience. In total, I spent two hours on the boat, and when I got off, I was craving to have more time.
On tour, you will see the real way locals live. The locals wave and smile as the boats passed. You can also see floating markets where locals sell food and souvenirs from their boat. The ride is a great eye-opening experience that everyone should see.
Bangkok is known for having massage parlors and spas on every corner. Usually, you will pay around $15 for an hour long massage. I recommend to take a break from the hustle and bustle and get one.
Where to Stay
Somerset Hotel Thonglor- This hotel is in a great location. Just outside of the hotel you're sure to run into lots of restaurants, bars, massage parlors, nail salons, markets, and nightlife. The hotel itself is beautiful, and the view you get in the rooms are fantastic. The room I had came with a washer and dryer, full-size kitchen, living room, dining room, and my bedroom with a terrace attached. The cost of this hotel came to about $100 a night which was well worth it for all the space you get.
Qiss Hotel- This hotel is great if you're looking to stay in a quiet neighborhood. They are next to a restaurant, nail shop, and 24-hour market. The property is beautiful with a pool, sauna, and full gym. You don't miss out on space in the room as it was built as a full size one bedroom apartment if you're looking for space to relax.
Banyan Tree- This is a very luxurious hotel. Equipped with six restaurants, infinity pool, great gym with a view, fantastic staff, and it is conveniently located right across the Lumpini park. The room has a great view and comes with a fully stocked mini fridge.
If the bustling city is too much for you try spending some time at Lumpini Park. The park is a very peaceful sanctuary in the middle of a chaotic city. You can take a ride on the swans in the ponds, feed the birds, or even go fishing. There is even a big open field perfect for sitting and watching the sunset. If your wanting a workout, they have a free exercise group at night or they have a track for runners that is spread throughout the whole park
Bangkok's loaded with large malls. If you're into electronics, they have a 6-floor mall called Pantip Plaza. Inside you can find laptops, cameras, phone cases, the latest gaming equipment, and much more.
If you're in the mood for high-end shopping try the Emporium Mall. This mall is full of luxury shops like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Prada, Hermes, and Cartier. This six-story mall is a shopaholics dream.
If you're looking for a mall with a little bit of everyone's taste and budget try Siam Paragon. Here you can find high-end boutiques, budget friendly markets, home decor, and cafes.
For anyone looking for affordable shopping or wanting to have a stroll through the eight floors of budget friendly stalls and shops try MBK and Platinum Mall! Here you can bargain and buy while still sticking to a budget.
I was a bit nervous to try Thai food, but I am so happy I did! Pat Thai is one of my new preferred dishes; It is a must try while in Bangkok. They also have plenty of options for people looking for other food choices. One of my favorite restaurants was The Coffee Club. They had amazing pancakes as well as beautifully decorated shakes and much more. If sweet isn't your thing, they also have a great option of savory foods to try as well.
For lunch, I would recommend trying a food vendor. Every corner you turn you will find a range of food options from scorpions to some of the best Thai food you will ever taste. (Be cautious but give it a try.) For dinner, my favorite restaurant had to be the sushi and teppanyaki restaurant called TAIHEI inside of the Banyan Tree Hotel. This place has a magnificent view and excellent taste.
Although a taxi can sometimes be the most convenient way to get around you should beware of Bangkok taxis. I was scammed at least five times. Number one rule when taking a taxi make sure they use the meter! If they just give you a price upfront they are trying to rip you off! I had a driver pretend not to know where the biggest shopping mall in Thailand was just to turn my 50 Baht ride into 150 Baht.
Another tip is to have the exact change! The drivers will take your money and drive off without giving you change. If you're nervous about taxis tuk-tuks are great alternatives. They are also fun to try. Make sure you negotiate a deal before getting in the tuk-tuk. My favorite way to get around Bangkok is by Uber. It is cheap and easy. If you're feeling brave try a motorbike taxi, they go around the traffic, so this is a fast way to get around. However it's smart to keep in mind they do drive a bit fast, and motorbike taxis can be unsafe so hold on tight.
Bangkok has lots of sky bars. One of my favorites was Cielo Sky Bar & Resturant. The service was exceptional, and at night they have a live band that plays a mix of jazz and modern music. The menu is a choice between Traditional Thai or Western food. I had the salmon and was very impressed. The dessert was great as well, and you can't forget the views. Cielo Sky Bar is known for their Skywalk which is a glass floor 76 levels up. If you're brave enough, it is worth a walk across.
The locals are extremely helpful. Every time you go outside you are likely to get many bows and smiles. It is in the Buddhist religion to treat people nice, so the people are radiating with happiness. One thing I did notice about Bangkok was that many places you visit you will most likely see people living in shacks and huts.
In my case seeing this was enough to make me want to give back. On my trip, I took a day to volunteer at Phaya Thai Babies Home, which is a local children's orphanage. I recommend visiting here even if it's just a few minutes. You get to interact with the children and help put smiles on their faces. The kids were so sweet and loved having people coming to visit.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.