For Christmas last year we decided to go on an adventure to Thailand! Two weeks exploring Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket, embracing their respect towards culture and welcoming their passion for food. She especially embraced their passion for food!
Bangkok is equally intriguing and overwhelming – with countless temples, restaurants and shopping malls there is so much to explore and experience it’s impossible to see everything in a couple of days but for me it was love at first sight.
When the train dropped us off at Ratchaprarop station, the first two things that hit me were the temperature and the air quality – or should I say the lack of it. The sight that greeted me was almost surreal; the traffic was this “organized” chaos where all participants knew exactly where they were heading but from the outside it looked like they were all going to crash into each other.
After we made our way down to the street level, we naively started to look for the bus station that would take us to the hotel. We waited for a good 15 minutes there, dozens of buses drove past, some were stopping and some weren’t; we started googling about it and understood that buses stop only if you wave at them (fair enough) but we also had to have change for our tickets (which we didn’t) and you had to tell the bus driver what stop you wanted to get off at (which we didn’t know how to pronounce). Naturally, we bravely hopped on a cab.
We carefully planned our first morning to visit The Grand Palace and set (too) many alarms so that we would get up early and avoid the crowds. Did we achieve this? Clearly not as all of the pictures are close ups and details.
Otherwise they would’ve all looked like this.
We persevered and on the next day we were at Wat Pho bright and early before the crowds. Luckily the temple opens at 8:30am so it wasn’t really that early.
In the morning it’s a serene place to learn about culture and spirituality. Or about mosaics.
There are many other temples in Bangkok, one of the other well known ones being Wat Arun but we decided to save that for when we’ll go back (because I am certain we will).
I wasn’t planning on going shopping but the heat and humidity of Bangkok made me and I’m very glad it did as there are so many amazing things to admire in Bangkok’s malls and shops. Close to the temples you will find Tha Maharaj. Hop on a taxi and venture out to Siam Paragon Mall and you will not regret it. It’s a beautiful, spacious mall for every taste. The cherry on top was the food hall where you can buy cheap, delicious meals (we’ll write more about this soon!).
Whilst we’re here there’s something that we need to talk about. Did we know that taxis in Bangkok have a meter and that you should ask for them to turn it on or haggle the price? Of course we did. Did it work? Nope. Every driver stuck to their price or refused to put the meter on because of the traffic (I don’t blame them, traffic in Bangkok at rush hour is horrific). So after turning down a couple of taxis trying to prove we’re not naive tourists we gave in and knowingly paid the ripoff price in exchange for some much needed AC. You have to choose your battles in life wisely.
Markets and Night life
The trip to Khao San Road wasn’t planned either but it was close by to where we were so we decided to give it a go. It’s packed with pubs and restaurants (and consequently tourists) but it has a lively atmosphere and can be a fun place especially for big groups. Seeing the grilled scorpions I didn’t know whether I should toughen up and try one because that’s what locals do or if it’s just another tourist trap.
We also visited Neon Market as it was close to our hotel but it was a very rainy evening so few people were there. There were two markets on our wish list but a bit too far out of the way this time around (Floating Markets and Railway Market).
Lumpini Park is an oasis in Bangkok’s fast-paced centre. It was pouring with rain so we had the park pretty much to ourselves and a few scary looking friends – monitor lizards!
We were hoping to spend our last night in Bangkok at the roof top bar of our hotel to celebrate our trip and also take some instagram worthy pictures. The rain completely ruined our plans as the bar was closed so we had to make do with some pretty cool views from our hotel window. Oh well, next time…
The friendliness we were greeted with in Bangkok was beyond our expectations. From the policeman who helped us cross the insanely busy street to the people giving us directions when they saw us lost, everyone was welcoming and kind. It was the perfect destination for us as we’d never been so far away before and we’d love to come back to beautiful Bangkok to explore more!
What are your favourite spots in Bangkok? We’d love to hear from you!