I have visited Bangkok a couple of times now and I can honestly say it is one of my favourite cities in the world (still have so many to visit though). Maybe it is the fact that I have spent my life living in little old Auckland down the bottom of the world and the stark contrast just excites me, or maybe it really is a gem; I am not sure. I have been here three times now and only feel like I have seen a tiny piece of what Bangkok has to offer, cannot wait to go again sometime soon!
I think the best thing about it is that it is so diverse, it does not matter if you a backpacker or a multi millionaire you can have a great time exploring the city. The people are friendly, the food is amazing and everything is cheap – what more could you want to make somebody happy.
WHERE TO STAY
I think the most daunting thing about a visit to Bangkok is picking a place to stay. It is so big and every suburb offers something different depending what you are after. I found a great blog that describes these a lot better than I ever could so take a look:
I have stayed in both Khao San Road and Sukhumvit and would recommend both. Khao San Road area is great for backpackers and I wouldnt stay elsewhere if that is why you are visiting, Sukhumvit is huge and can be a bit confusing but really central to the train line which is handy. As a small breakdown of my understanding of the other areas: the river is the fancy area. Siam is where the shopping is done and Silom is more the business district.
WHERE TO EAT
In Bangkok there are just so many options that it is hard to even fathom. I think the safe thing to know is that thai food is delicious so if you eat traditional food you will not be disappointed. There are some really high end places as well which I have not visited yet…maybe one day when I go back with some more money.
Khao San Road – Best street food, really good pad thai for $2 NZD, meat skewers, and wacky foods like cockroaches. There are also some good restaurants around this area as it is always so full of tourists. Also some tourist traps like maccas and so forth.
Siam mall food courts – Sounds silly to New Zealanders as our mall food courts are terrible but honestly the food courts in all of the malls are unbelievable. Most of them run a system where you put a certain amount of money on a card and then use that card to purchase. You can redeem the left over money in cash at the end. Perfect pit stops for those shopping days.
Yaowarat china town – This place is seriously crazy, so busy, traffic and people everywhere and colourful lights everywhere you look. China town is known for its seafood and other weird and wonderful treats so have a wonder down and see what takes your fancy. There is one place however that we had read about a lot before visiting for having the best seafood and being the most popular and I would recommend it! T&K seafood is the name and they are on a corner and staff wear green t shirts. It is just stools on the side of the road but very tasty and you will not be disappointed. P.S. do not visit on a monday as street vendors cannot operate on this day. Intersection of Yaowarat Road & Phadung Dao Road
B-story cafe and restaurant – This cafe is a must visit, it is quite close to the malls and also close to the train station to head out to the airport if you need to kill some time. Amazing food, great homemade sodas and a super cute interior fit out. Ben picked this one and he serious nailed it. Such a hidden gem. 89/70 89/70 Phayathai Rd, Khwaeng Thanon Phetchaburi, Khet Ratchathewi, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10400, Thailand
WHAT TO DO
Grand Palace – Must visit tourist attraction in Bangkok, For just about 150 years, Bangkok’s Grand Palace home of the King and his court, and his entire administrative seat of government. When you visit the palace you must have your shoulders and knees covered. It also costs 500 baht to get in so not the cheapest but you should go at least once.
Wat Pho/Reclining buddha – A gold buddha buddha statue that gets a lot of tourist attention. Worth a look if you are into the culture of Thailand and seeing one of the royal temples. The complex also has other buddhas around the grounds which are quite interesting as well. It is very close to the grand palace so you can see them both in one day.
Siam malls – Bangkok has a huge number of shopping malls and markets which makes picking one difficult. The good thing is that a lot of them are in the same area. There is Siam Paragon, MBK, Siam centre, siam discovery etc etc. Easy to get to, great air con, good shopping and yum food.
Khao San Road – Iconic road in Bangkok where all the backpackers flock. The road is closed to vehicles at night and there is street vendors selling food, clothes and all sorts of little random things. A must visit if you are not staying here.
Ping Pong Show – These are not for everyone and for me I have only been once and found it a bit disturbing to be honest. I would say go once but at the same time try not to think too much into why these people are doing what they do, this is what i struggled with the most. Without a doubt there is some talent involved though!
Rooftop bars – When in bangkok you must visit at least one rooftop bar, and there are so many to choose from. I have visited both the vertigo and moon bar and also sky bar – lebua at State tower. Both were amazing. Be aware these all have a dress code, men must be wearing pants and have covered knees and a shirt, women cannot wear jandals or beach attire. Here is a link to all of the top ones if you want to check out more than one. http://www.bangkok.com/top10-rooftop-bars.htm