I love Bangkok. It is a multifaceted city; then again most cities are. While many travellers decide to skip Bangkok, or only spend a day or two in the city, I like to stay awhile. Why? Because it is awesome, and there are still so many things I want to see/do/experience there (and share with you guys). The following is a list of experiences that I think ALL OF YOU should consider doing in Bangkok. Some of them I’ve already done, and others are on my personal bucket list for 2013.
Rod Fai Market
Rod Fai Market is one of those mysteriously cool places, that many travellers never find. Why? Well, it’s only open on the weekends from 17:00 (5:00 pm) to midnight. And the market is located on abandoned railroad tracks near Chatuchak Weekend Market. I am SO going to find this market. Then snap way too many photos and buy some cool vintage goodies, and blog the shit out of my experience – which means you’ll totally want to add this to YOUR Bangkok Bucket List as well.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
If you love to shop, then plan to spend a few hours getting lost in Chatuchak Market. This market sells pretty much everything. No really, you can find pretty much anything here. Chatuchak is a massive maze of stalls, so you may want to avoid splitting up; unless you’re with someone who knows the market well. I’ve been utterly lost in this market before.
DID (Dine in the Dark)
When I first heard of Dine in the Dark, I was intrigued. It’s exactly as it sounds, you dine, in the dark! I know, it’s a shocking revelation. Aside from eating in pitch blackness, I love the fact that all the waiters and waitresses are blind, and that a portion of the proceeds goes to a charity which supports the blind. I am totally going to experience DID in Bangkok.
Forensic Museum at Siriaj Hospital
Does it sound weird? Yes. Does it sound creepy? Yes! But despite everything I’ve heard about the fetus in formaldehyde, and other gruesome things – I promise you, I’m not a sociopath. It just sounds weird, and well, you know me, I like to check out weird things; even if it means freaking myself out.
Cruise along the Chao Phraya River
It took me like 4 trips to Thailand before I decided to check out the Chao Phraya river, and man, I felt like a travel knob for not going sooner. Buying a tourist pass is worth it if you plan to spend a day taking the ferries up and down the river, stopping to visit Wats, markets, and Chinatown. Way better than taking a tuk-tuk through the city!!
A Fancy Night of Cocktails
It’s not cheap, but it’s something to experience in Bangkok; after all, who doesn’t like a little bit of luxury in their life?! Hit up Sukhumvit Soi 11 for a martini in the Grey Goose Lounge at QBar, or molecular cocktails at XYZ Bar (Aloft Hotel). Take the BTS to Nana and go to BED Supperclub (cause, you totally want to drink while sitting on lush beds, right?). Dance the night away at RCA.
Calypso Ladyboy Cabaret
Oh yeah, it’s a cabaret show that is all ladyboys! Oh, and you can eat dinner there too if you like. Forget going to a bikini bar in Patpong and to play ‘Which one is a dude?’. I’m a geek for cabaret; and Chinese Opera. Calypso is one thing I plan to finally check out when I return to Bangkok.
Watch a Muay Thai Fight at MBK
Sure, you could pay some money to see Muay Thai fights in almost every city in Thailand, but if you’re on a budget I recommend going to MBK to watch the FREE outdoor showcase fights that take place every Wednesday night.
Eat at Cabbages & Condoms
No pun intended? I love checking out quirky restaurants in Asia (like the Toilet Bowl in Penang). Seriously, I plan to review the best quirky restaurants in Bangkok when I return, and this place is definitely on my radar. Cabbages & Condoms is a restaurant outreach program by the Population & Community Development Association ( think sex education and AIDs prevention).
24 Hour Flower Market
This flower market (within walking distance of Chinatown) is always open. I don’t think you need a day, or even half a day here, but it’s still cool to see. Plus, all the bright colours and activity makes for fabulous photos. This is something you could easily do after touring Chinatown.
A Bakery that sells Body Parts Made of BREAD!!
OMG, this is AH-MAZING! Thanks to a tip from reader Elaine Wilson I have now added this to my Bangkok Bucket List. The bakery is in Ratchaburi, and each body part is hand painted. It’s supposedly a tad gruesome. I know, it’s kind of creepy and morbid, but I am SO CURIOUS!! Definitely going. I’ll keep you guys posted on this one.
Tuk Tuk Ride through Bangkok
Yes, Tuk Tuk is a lot more expensive than Taxis and the BTS, but it’s something EVERYONE should experience in Bangkok. If you’re worried about pollution, wear a mask. I recommend shooting a little video or snapping some photos. Keep your eyes open and enjoy the craziness.
Eat Shwarma. Eat Shwarma. Eat Shwarma.
So, if you’re in Bangkok, you NEED TO EAT SHWARMA! I am obsessed with Shwarma in Bangkok. In fact, if you ask my friends in Bangkok about what I’ll do as soon as I get back, they will probably tell you I’ll go see my Shwarma guy.
Yes. I have a Shwarma guy!! If you’re going to Bangkok, and you want to try my guy, go to Nana soi 3, he is just after the 7-eleven, on the right side of the road.
Lumphini Park is a lush oasis in the middle of Bangkok. It’s a great place to go for a picnic, relax, jog, yoga, or collect your thoughts. I highly recommend trying the various vintage exercise thingies (I can’t call them machines, as they’re all manual. Ugh. Salted Caramel ice cream brain is making it hard to think of the right word).
Go to a Gay Bar
OMG, there is nothing like going to a gay bar in Bangkok. I’ve been to a couple near the Patpong Market area, and wow, it was crazy fun. Just remember to share the dance floor, as the local gays don’t really like it when farangs completely take over the bar. Share. Share. Share – the dance floor.
The Grand Palace & Other Awesome Wats
Although the Grand Palace is a must see, it is also a one time only type of site. There are several Wats that should be visited during your trip to Bangkok. I HIGHLY recommend visiting Wat Arun around sunset. As well as stops at Wat Pho, Wat Ratchanatdaram, and The Golden Mount (Wat Saket). I obviously need to do a Wat post when I return to Bangkok, complete with photos, locations, hours etc.
Stay at Bangkok Treehouse
I read about this place last year and I am DYING to go! After all, who doesn’t want to spend a night in a stylish treehouse, in Bangkok! This place has a couple of options that are completely outdoors, as well as a couple with roofs. Either way, I wanna go!! Stay tuned…
A visit to Chinatown is a MUST in pretty much every city that has a Chinatown, but especially in Bangkok. Chinatown has a labyrinth of souvenir streets which are even more crowded than you’d think. Seriously. When you think another person could not possibly walk past, a scooter comes by. It’s a crazy hot mess and totally worth it. Be sure to hide your money and valuables, and come back after dark to eat at the Night Market!
Yadong is a Thai Rice Whiskey that will probably corrode your stomach. It’s strong (think Moonshine) and can be found at street stalls, or at Lub d Silom and Lub d Siam on most Wednesday nights. Tip: Be conservative. This stuff packs a massive punch and you can get quite sick if you drink too much. Seriously.
Thip Samai Noodle Shop a.k.a The BEST Pad Thai in Bangkok
I was taken to this gem of a place on my last trip to Bangkok, and OMG! The Pad Thai is to die for, and an absolute must; especially late at night. Dishes cost about 60THB (roughly $1.75). Thip Samai is Mahachi Road between the Golden Mount and the Giant Swing. Oh, and it’s open until 3 am. You. Are. Welcome.
Dinner & Cocktail at Sirocco
Sirocco has one of the BEST views of Bangkok. Dinner and cocktails at Sirocco is a bit of a splurge, but totally worth it. However, if you just want to check out the view, you can buy one cocktail for 350 THB (mandatory minimum charge to get into Sirocco). I also suggest checking out the view from Vertigo and Moon Bar.
This post barely scratches the surface of Bangkok. When I return I plan to write more detail guides on where to shop, the best places for street food, Wats and other sacred sites, Funky bars, and quirky/weird sites to visit.