Bangkok is more than just a modern urban sprawl, there are a lot of things you can do and shouldn’t miss on a trip to this vibrant South-East Asian nation. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, beach goer, foodie or history buff, it has many wondrous experiences to offer and is brimming with bucket list-worthy experiences.
1. Go on a temple crawl (The Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun)
A trip to Bangkok wouldn’t be complete without immersing into its glittering temples. With over 40 thousand temples in Thailand, there are a few worth checking out! However, please note that you must comply with their strict dress code or else, your entry will be refused. Worry not, as there are some vendors selling outside some temples.
We took the BTS from Sukhumvit Line - Asok to Siam interchange station for 30 Baht, then Silom Line to Saphan Taksin Station (or S6 Station) for 37 Baht and went out through Exit No. 2. Then, we took the Chao Phraya Express Boat for 15 Baht to Ta Chang Pier (No.9). A 5-10 minute walk will bring you to the gate of the Grand Palace with an entrance fee of 500 Baht.
For 150 years, the palace was home to the king, his court, and the entire government of Thailand as well as the Royal Mint. Sadly, we weren’t able to go inside because of the Royal funeral of their late King. This is another reason to go back to Thailand, isn’t it?
We didn’t have any choice but to proceed to the nearby temple which is the Wat Pho, that is just only a five-minute walk from the Grand Palace. It also has an entrance fee of 100 Baht.
This temple is home to the largest Reclining Buddha in Thailand. The golden statue is impressively 43 meters long. Furthermore, this place is quite huge than you can imagine and is also the national headquarters for the teaching and preservation of traditional Thai medicine, including Thai massage. This is a mandate legislated by Rama III due to the fear of this tradition’s extinction.
Aside from checking out the Reclining Buddha, you may also opt to donate 108 coins to the bronze alms bowl for 20 Baht. You simply have to put a coin in each alms bowl, like you’re making an offering to the Buddha. Giving or offering is an important practice in Mahayana Buddhism and by doing so, you accumulate merit.
After roaming around Wat Pho, we went out to have our ice cream fix (for 15 Baht each) due to the sweltering weather.
Another temple worth visiting is the Wat Arun. Just a few walks away from Wat Pho, we hopped on a ferry for 4 Baht to get to this mesmerizing temple. It also has an entrance fee amounting to 100 Baht.
Tagged as the Temple of Dawn, this magnificent 79-meter tall tower gives a stunning view with its mosaic detailing made out of ceramic and porcelain tiles. For me, this is the best place to check the sunset as well.
2. Shop and dine in a night market by the river at Asiatique
Considered as one of Bangkok’s most popular night markets, Asiatique takes the form of warehouses of commerce next to Mae Nam Chao Phraya. As for us, we were able to get here by taking the ferry of Chao Praya from Wat Arun for 50 Baht. Please note that this opens at 5PM.
In here you can spot neatly organized market stalls in one section, higher-end shops in another, a casual food court and lots of stand-alone restaurants, wherein some of which are upscale. It’s also quite expensive in here!
There are some street food choices as well!
And they have love locks, too!
Although the original plan was for Asiatique to evoke nostalgia for the 1900s, it feels more like visiting a theme park. But it doesn’t matter as the place is IG worthy haha!
There are indeed a lot of night markets in Bangkok, although I wasn’t able to take photos of these places due to my fear of getting my stuff snatched (how paranoid can I get), I would highly recommend you guys to check Roi Fat Night Market for vintage-y things and of course, Chatuchack weekend market (my favorite). SHOPPING and FOOD HEAVEN IT IS!
3. Dig into authentic Pad Thai in Thipsamai
Pad thai, apart from tom yum soup, is one of the most famous Thai food you must try! At its most basic, it is a thin, flat rice noodles fried with tofu, preserved radish, dried shrimp, and seasoned with dried chili, tamarind pulp, sugar, and fish sauce. It is enveloped in an egg in the form of a thin omelet.
The best restaurant to get the most authentic pad thai in Bangkok is Thipsamai. This place is a few blocks away from The Golden Mountain, but we opted to take a cab going here since there’s no nearby BTS station in the area. Also, please note that it opens at around 5PM.
This restaurant has been around since 1966 and more often than not, has a perennial long queue outside as it is popular for tourists and locals alike.
While waiting in line, you could see that cooking is being done on the sidewalk outside the stall. And no worries, the queue isn’t that terrible, it’s actually fast-moving!
The ambiance inside exudes “traditional”.
Aside from pad thai, they also offer drinks such as orange juice and buko (coconut) juice.
4. Join the Loi Krathong Festival
Aside from Songkran, the Thai New Year’s festival, you may also embark on Loi Krathong Festival. Luckily, we were able to experience it during our stay in Bangkok. It is done throughout Thailand but in our case, we opted for the nearest one, which is the Benjakitti Park.
This usually takes place during the full moon of the twelfth lunar (Around Late October to Mid November). Throughout the city, hundreds or even thousands of ornately-decorated krathong or traditional banana leaf floats are set adrift in rivers and waterways. The “Loi Krathong” ritual or the “festival of lights” is considered as one of the Kingdom’s oldest and best-preserved traditions.
The light of candle on krathong is a way of honoring the Buddha, but it also symbolizes letting go of all the anger, bitter feelings and starting a new life.
5. Experience Europe at Chocolate Ville
If you’re on a lookout for a fun and unique place to visit in Bangkok, make sure to drop by Chocolate Ville.
This is built in spacious land with “Dining in the Park” concept with European Village theme at Kaset-Nawamin Road, Bueng Kum District, Bangkok and opens at around 4PM. We took a Grab to get here as there are no nearby BTS or MRT in the area. And for the entrance fee, it’s whooping FREE!
This place is suitable for those who would like to take their Instagram game a notch as each corner is seriously instagenic/ instagrammable.
Apparently, the restaurant in Chocolate Ville is a central restaurant, so wherever you sit, you’d still get the same menu. As for the price, it doesn’t come cheap!