Bangkok, the City of Royal Palaces
Bangkok, a city so wildly adventurous that it’s filled with extremes of colors, drama, beauty, tradition and even sadness. It’s a city that answers every different findings for each and every seeker. It’s one of the city I can always re-visit; it’s near to home, relatively cheap & affordable, has all the answers for the foodie in me, is a shoppers’ heaven and the biggest pull of it all, at least for me, is home to my absolute favorite massage in the world!
So, what are some of the must do’s while in Bangkok? Here are some from my own must do’s list.
1. Unleash the Foodie in you
If you are a Thai food lover, this is undoubtedly the best place to taste authentic Thai food. Every where I went for foodie adventure did not let me down. Some stalls which were accidental discovery, turned out to be surprise gems. Thai food are known for its aroma and mixture of spices that is strong and extremely flavorful, so it is indeed a haven for foodies and adventure eaters. Do not miss trying the musts like Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong, the Papaya Salad, Mango Sticky Rice & Coconut Ice Cream.
Sharing some of the pictures of the foods I savored during my wanderlust to Bangkok:
2. Cruise the Chao Phraya River
This is a spectacular way of seeing the beauty of Bangkok at night along the famous Chao Phraya River. There’s plenty of cruise operators to choose from, Royal Chao Phraya Princess, Grand Pearl Cruises, White Orchid River Cruise, to name a few. Almost all of the cruise comes with dinner since it sets after sunset just before dinner time. Avoid booking for these cruises through agents or third parties. Best is to book directly with the operators, whom mostly have their own website up and running. I took the Chao Phraya Princess Cruise & it was not a bad one. Decent food and comfortable seats in a well maintained cruise ship.
3. Explore Chatuchak Market
Chatuchak Market has become such an important iconic part of Bangkok. A definite shoppers paradise, it doesn’t disappoint shopaholics and foodie alike. It’s open during weekends where all stalls will be opened whereas Fridays are open for wholesale purchasers. Heard they have night market as well which I did not go to since we made it a point to go as early in the morning as possible to beat the heat. Obviously, that strategy didn’t work that well as planned because there’s just rows after rows of shops and interesting what nots that I think I’ve only seen in Chatuchak! Too many shops to just walk past. Just remember to bring out your best bargaining skills and be focused on what you really want to be buy – I mean it’s too easy to be distracted here! If you plan to purchase a lot, please do bring along handy bags/carriers. It’s not an easy task to walk around with your purchases especially when you are done and to be walking back to the nearest BTS train station (Mo Chit Station) with your hands full under the heat. Trust me, is not something pleasant to do!
4. Explore the City by Foot & Go on Shopping Spree, what else!
Guess I’ve said this a few times by now, but Bangkok IS A SHOPPER’s PARADISE! If you are not done with all the shopping (window shopping included) just step out of your hotel (which I’m sure must be strategically located somewhere along the busy Bangkok streets, which btw is just one long never-ending kinda road) and start walking around. Chose right or left or even cross the road and everywhere you see is shopping centers, malls and more shopping outlets. Popular malls like Terminal 21 have unique themes to attract more shoppers and even tourists. Finding for food is always easy with all these malls around. Even a visit to the food court will leave you and your stomach happy, the variety and taste is just too good. See beautiful temples along the way and even railway crossings. Just be alert of your surroundings and walk carefully whichever way you go.
5. Be Awed by Superstars (& all people famous) – well at least by their wax replicas @ Madame Tussaud
Not all tourists especially wanderlusters like to step inside a closed area to stare at something on exhibition (museums and the likes) but this will definitely NOT disappoint. Especially if you’ve always wanted to go to the super famous Madame Tussaud but have not just been to one. They have some different deal packages for the tickets, so do check their website to get yours. Go early, get all your various cool poses perfected & snapped and don’t forget some extra cool souvenirs. Well worth your day.
6. Watch a Cultural Performance (or whatever performance your mind tells you to – It’s Bangkok, Baby!)
Name what you want to watch & you can in Bangkok. Really! Well, the city does provide the stage for numerous shows and performance and Bangkok is world-famous with that reputation. Its like a mini Las Vegas of the South East Asia. I went for three performances, to be honest. Not gonna lie. A ‘General Audiences’ classified one (a real deal cultural performance) which I quite enjoyed, a ‘Parental Guidance-13’ which I enjoyed the most and a ‘NC-17’ one which brought me more shock than any sort of appreciation (except maybe for the chilled local beer). So let’s talk about the latter two; some tips and guidance – never entertain the touts anywhere you see them if you don’t intent to subject yourself to what they perform. Be clear of which show you want to go to and bring along a trusted local guide, at least to get the entrance & price sorted for you. Don’t enter any place which makes you think twice, because yes, your gut feeling is right, because it’s telling you so IN Bangkok! Never ever get an entrance to a place without knowing the full charges and agreeing upfront on the charges – reason why you need the trusted local guide. The last thing you want is to be traumatized, firstly by watching some poor old ladies (I really do feel for them) doing what you never even in your wildest dream imagined and secondly, to be harassed into paying the bouncers there for even eye-balling the performers a second longer! I have heard of many such harrowing experiences tales so please do be very careful in choosing the right shows and performances that you want to experience. Girls, not that I have to state the obvious, but please do not go to these places alone, even on your loneliest nights, even on days where you feel adventurous on your solo wanderlustings.
7. Tuk Tuks & Some TLCs
Some other must dos that mustn’t be forgotten is of course the tuk tuk ride adventure, Buddhist temple visits and to those who knows me well (personally or after having read my blogs), some Spa and self-pampering actions. I’ve never felt my wanderlust to anywhere is complete without experiencing the local spa, massages especially and Thai massage is my absolute favorite. So, there’s definitely a big and special slot for massage time for me especially so while in Thailand. In fact, I think this was the trip that I got most massages – all the walking and the fact that you can easily find a massage place in Bangkok, of course I had to go for it! It’s really cheap too here compared to the so called Thai massage you find back home.
Anything that you thoroughly enjoyed doing in Bangkok that I’ve missed out? 🙂
Until the next, keep wanderlusting & stay safe wherever you are.