Bangkok (Krung Thep กรุงเทพ in Thai) was our first stop in Thailand. Most travellers stay for just a couple of days and tick off the main tourist spots before heading North or to the Southern Islands. But we were lucky to stay in the city for 8 nights and truly get a flavour of the place, so I thought I’d share with you my favourite things to do in Bangkok…
Street Food – Pretty much every street in Bangkok has street food vendors selling tasty things from spring rolls to mango sticky rice to my favourite… pad Thai. It’s a cheap, convenient and sociable way to eat in the city.
Bang Krachao – Bangkok’s ‘green lung’ is a perfect day trip to escape the cities’ pollution and hustle and bustle. Check out my blog post here for more information.
Cabbages and Condoms – Recommended to us by a friend that used to live in Bangkok, this restaurant provided us with our best meal in the city, and that’s saying something as we ate very well there. As you can probably tell from the name and lampshades below, it isn’t just a good place to eat, it also promotes and contributes it’s proceeds to population and community development in Thailand.
Train Night Market Ratchada – Bangkok is full of markets, you’ll find one around most corners but for us, this was the best. Unlike Chatuchak (biggest market in Bangkok AND the world) not many tourists have cottoned on to this market yet which helps keep prices low and the crowds down. I personally struggled with all the markets, everything is so cheap, mass produced and unethical. However if you’re wanting a good atmosphere for food and drinks Ratchada is the one! We spent two evenings here and had a great time.
Chinatown – An area that on an evening is filled with stalls lining the streets with delicious food. We headed here on our first night in Bangkok and enjoyed some green curry, pad Thai and sweetcorn fritters. So good, but soooo sweaty. Be warned!
Channel 7 Stadium Muay Thai Boxing – Watching combat sports aren’t really my thing, I’d probably rather get involved than watch someone make someone else bleed and bruise. However our hostel let us into a secret that every Sunday for a TV programme a Muay Thai tournament takes place for people to view for free. We were told it kicked off at 2:30pm, but to get there for 12pm. We did as we were told, managed to find the stadium not too far from Chatuchak market and followed the crowds. All ‘foreigners’ were seated squished together against one wall (unsure if this was for racial segregation or safety?), the rest of the stadium was filled with Thai people raising bets and cheering. The boxing was brutal, but the atmosphere was amazing, a real insight into Thai culture.
Ko Kret – Another island that helps you escape the city. Ko Kret is filled with pottery, temples and markets (which are fortunately mostly covered as it poured down on our visit to the island).
Jim Thompson’s House – A great way to spend a rainy afternoon, and let me tell you, there’s plenty in Bangkok. Jim Thompson was an American architect who fell in love with Bangkok during WW2, whilst in Thailand he revitalised the Thai silk industry and built an amazing house (that you get a guided tour around). There is a mystery though, in 1967 he disappeared in Malaysia, never to be found. Once you’ve toured the house you can check out the gift shop which is filled with exquisite silk clothes and scarves. If I wasn’t on a backpacker’s budget I’d of treated myself!
We had a wonderful time in Bangkok. It was a great introduction to what our life will be like in Thailand for the next few months. I can’t wait to explore more.
If you have any tips on Thailand, as always, comment below!
P.s Note Khao San Road does not make the list. Westerners munching on burgers and wearing elephant harem pants doesn’t really scream authentic Bangkok to me… more Leeds Festival circa 2013.