4 Nights in Bangkok
Our 4 nights in Bangkok were the very beginning of our travels. We’d roughly planned our way through Thailand and the obvious place to start was in the capital, I’m not sure we were quite prepared for the culture shock of Bangkok though!
There is a huge range of accommodation available in Bangkok, ranging from the very cheap to the very expensive. The most difficult part of choosing accommodation in a city you’ve never visited is getting the location right, being miles away from the action isn’t much fun! Since we wanted to see different parts of the city we decided to stay for 2 nights at Siamaze and 2 nights at Sam Sen Sam Place. Both of these were very good but we definitely preferred the location of Sam Sen Sam Place. It was a few minutes walk from Khao San Road (and no trip to Bangkok is complete without an adventure here) whereas Siamaze was tucked away a fair distance from the centre.
What to do
There’s no shortage of things to do in Bangkok but we found that 4 nights was more than enough for us to do everything we wanted. Top of our list was a visit to the Grand Palace. This is a spectacular royal residence which is a must-see if you’re in Bangkok, remember to bring long sleeves and trousers and be prepared to face the heat and the crowds though! Just around the corner from the Grand Palace is the similarly magnificent Wat Pho which houses a gigantic reclining Buddha.
Another attraction well worth visiting is the Golden Mountain or Wat Saket. This tall temple in the heart of the city offers amazing views if you can manage the 318 steps to the top. Don’t worry though the climb really isn’t too bad, the steps are wide and there are plenty of places to take a break on the way up. It’s also completely free! You can check out the view from the top for yourself below:
As I mentioned at the start of this post, no visit to Bangkok is complete without sampling the delights of Khao San Road. Whilst this place is a bit of a tourist trap it’s also a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and smells that you can’t really find anywhere else. The streets are lined with bars, clubs, street vendors, shows and, well.. Tourists! We went to The Rooftop Bar here and had a great night. There were live bands playing a great selection of covers and the beers, whilst expensive for Bangkok, were still much cheaper than back home at around £2 a bottle.
Where to eat
There’s so much choice for places to eat in Bangkok that it’s hard to make many recommendations. It’s something you really need to explore for yourself. An absolute must is sampling some of the street food while you’re here. It’s delicious and incredibly cheap. Our first night was spent desperately trying to find somewhere for dinner before we stumbled on a street vendor. We got two servings of (very tasty) curry and rice for about 60p! That certainly put smiles on our faces!
My favourite place to eat out was Smith’s Bar and Restaurant, a lovely little place where I had the best Thai Green Curry I’ve ever tasted! It’s run by a mother and her son and the mum cooks everything fresh on a tiny little two burner hob. They also serve happy hour beer before 8pm.
We also really enjoyed a place called Cafe The Flow, really friendly service and delicious home-made curries and apple pie.
How to get around
The best way to get around Bangkok is by taxi. These are very inexpensive as long as you make sure the driver uses the meter! 90% of the drivers will try to turn off the meter and quote you a price. This might seem cheap compared to home but it will always be more expensive than if they use the meter. This is a particular problem outside the train stations where you are likely to get hassled constantly into over-paying for a taxi. Do your research beforehand and know how much you should be paying, this should stop you getting ripped off.
You can also get around using the iconic tuktuk. There’s no shortage of these but they will either be expensive or you will get scammed into accepting a very cheap ride only to get taken to suit shops, false travel agents, overpriced restaurants, jewellery shops and various other places that will pressure you into buying overpriced items you probably don’t want. This is not only annoying but you will miss out on the things you actually wanted to see which can be very frustrating if you have limited time in the city. Our advice is to take one ride in a tuktuk for the experience but don’t use them to get around the city.
There’s a good MRT system but unfortunately it doesn’t cover that much of the city. It’s reasonably priced and very handy to get within the ballpark of where you want to go though.
Finally there are boats which you can use and these are great for visiting areas near the waterways. They are cheap and offer a great alternative to the VERY hectic roads of Bangkok!
We enjoyed Bangkok but we were also glad to be moving on after our 4 nights there. Bangkok is dirty, chaotic, noisy and suffocating but also a lot of fun. It’s a real experience spending a few nights here and it’s definitely worth planning in advance for your visit so you don’t miss out on anything. Just remember to watch out for overly friendly guys trying to offer you a great deal on a tuktuk ride, they are not your friends!
Do you have any more tips on seeing Bangkok? Do you have any stories you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them in the comments!