Posted on August 25, 2016
Bangkok is a crazy city! It is the capital city of Thailand where over 14 million people (22.2 percent) live. You can find everything there: adventure in Bangkok, street food, fun or spiritual time, shopping, chilling in the park or drinking yummy cocktails in one of the roof top bars. This might be the most exciting Asian or Southeast Asian city that you should visit at least once in a lifetime.
The reason why I traveled to Bangkok for the first time was to take a plane and return to Europe after my 8 months stay in Bali. Bangkok is one of the main hubs for transportation so it’s worth booking tickets to or from Asia via Bangkok and spend some days there.
When I asked my travel community for travel and adventure tips for Bangkok, I was positively surprised by their feedback. Hetal from NYC said that it’s the best city in Asia, others kept sending me messages or comments with their tips. I had only three days there, so I couldn’t do it all, but I tried to select the best of the best. A mixture of adventure, street food and some cultural experience. Thanks to my housemate Isa for being my “travel buddy” for adventure in Bangkok!
Enjoy this photo story with 31 photos just for you 🙂
How to move around in Bangkok?
It’s very easy to move around in this city. People are used to tourists and even though the majority doesn’t speak English, you will get by. Be creative when asking for something, use google maps or simply take it as it comes.
To move around the city center, e.g. Sukhumvit, you can jump on a water taxi.
Here I am, being grateful for having a seat in a packed water taxi and not falling into the river while jumping on it.
Bangkok has a nice and clean MRT – metro or underground system which will save you lot of time in the traffic.
You can use the services of scooter taxi, tuktuk or a regular taxi everywhere. Just keep in mind that a “meter” should be turned on when riding in a taxi. It’s cheap there but there are some “creative” taxi drivers who forget to turn on the meter and they will charge you 3 times more.
Where to stay?
I wanted to stay in a nice, clean and fun hostel. One friend recommended to stay in Hostel Bodega Backpackers so I stayed there. It is located in Sukhumvit district which is a great location for getting everywhere in a relatively short time. The staff was friendly, it was clean and they had all kind of fun activities.
What to see in Bangkok?
Bangkok traces its roots to a small trading post during the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 15th century. It was at the heart of Siam’s (as Thailand used to be known) modernization, during the later 19th century, as the country faced pressures from the West. The city was the center of Thailand’s political struggles, throughout the 20th century, as the country abolished absolute monarchy. The city grew rapidly during the 1960s through the 1980s and now exerts a significant impact among Thailand’s politics, economy, education, media and modern society.
As you can imagine, due to the history and also modern times, you can find many interesting sights in Bangkok. I did a smart thing and I followed the recommendation from my hostel. They gave me a paper with instructions for a walking tour, so I did that. It took me around 7 hours to see it all and it was worth it.
My first stop was the Temple of the Golden Mount. I left the hostel in the morning and I took a water taxi to get to the temple which is a popular tourist attraction and has become one of the symbols of the city. The temple is built on a hill so you can walk up and have some great views on the cosmopolitan Bangkok.
The second stop was the famous Khao San Road, but I didn’t like it, so I didn’t take any photos. It was too touristy and overpriced.
The third stop was The Grand Palace. It is a complex of buildings at the heart of Bangkok. The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam since 1782. I didn’t visit the Grand Palace because there were too many people and the ticket was a bit pricey. So I went for the cheaper and less crowded alternative…
Wat Pho is a Buddhist temple complex in the Phra Nakhon District. Wat Pho is one of the largest and oldest wats in Bangkok with an area of 80,000 square meters and is home to more than one thousand Buddha images, as well as one of the largest single Buddha images at 150 feet (46 m) in length – also known as the 46 m long Reclining Buddha.
The image of the reclining Buddha represents the entry of Buddha into Nirvana and the end of all reincarnations. The posture of the image is referred to as sihasaiyas, the posture of a sleeping or reclining lion. The figure is 15 m high and 46 m long, and it is one of the largest Buddha statues in Thailand. Source: Wikipedia
The last stop of the walking tour led me to Bangkok’s China town. I’ve been to many China towns before (NYC, Singapore), but this was the most authentic and exciting one. I recommend you to walk around and get lost in one of the side streets and observe people and food they are selling.
The last temple that I visited was Wat Trimitr Vityaram Voravihahn or the Temple of the Golden Buddha. It was nice but by that time of the day I was so hungry that I was just dreaming about my pad thai.
Where and what to eat?
Thai food might be the best food in the whole world. I’ve been in love with Thai food since I lived in New York and tasting Thai street food was one of my biggest travel and adventure wishes in Bangkok. You can find all kinds of dishes on the street and I would suggest you to skip eating “touristy” scorpions and eat the real thing. For example grilled fish cake or other delicious sticks.
My favorite thai meal is Pad thai with shrimp. I didn’t go to any fancy restaurant to try pad thai. I just ate it on the street for 60 baht. It was delicious and it made my day 🙂
As part of our street food and adventure in Bangkok we had to discover some night food markets. To be honest, I don’t remember where was this one, but I can tell you that you don’t have to worry about it too much. Street food is almost on every corner of Bangkok.
I highly recommend to try the Green papaya salad. It was so yummy! One warning from my side: Ask for the less spicy version, because the meals in Thailand can be very very spicy.
For everyone who doesn’t like to eat directly on the street, I recommend to visit one of the food courts in shopping malls. I visited the MBK Food Court and I was positively surprised by the quality of food and services. Both locals and tourist eat here.
Do you want to try something sweet? You should try the Thai pumpkin pie, for example at the MBK Food Court.
I came to Bangkok from Bali where the fruit is not that cheap and ordinary street juices and smoothies are not that tasty – as in Thailand (sorry Bali). In Bangkok you can find fantastic 100% fruit mixed juice for the price of 1 EUR (and most probably cheaper in the less touristy areas). Enjoy!
What to explore?
Ok, ok! And now we´re getting to the real thing! Let’s look at some “missions” you can have while exploring the adventure in Bangkok. So perhaps you can jump on a water taxi and observe how the locals live in the areas by the river…
…or you can discover the local street art…
For everyone who loves markets, I recommend to visit one of the food, grocery or thing markets. There are so many markets in Bangkok and some are very touristy and some are very authentic. I had a recommendation to visit Khlong Toei Market, which is Bangkok’s biggest fresh market. In January 2010 CNN listed it as one of the most authentic markets in Bangkok as well as a place to avoid when hung over. Mhhh, I´m not surprised that they said that it should be avoided when hung over. There is so much stuff in big quantities, like fresh veggies…
…or fresh meat, fish, animals. I was happy to see it but it was too much for me too 🙂
In case you are a fashion designer, you can have a very specific mission. Like my housemate Isa who joined me for the street food and adventure in Bangkok. Isa is a fashion designer so she had to do some shopping and test the quality of the local materials.
After all of that exploring, sightseeing, shopping and eating, we were ready for some chill time. Friends recommended to see Bangkok from above, so we visited the Long table roof top bar. Roof top bars can get a little pricey, but it´s worth watching the skyline.
There was one more cocktail bar that we visited. The name will remain secret, because I think that it’s fun to have a secret bar mission in Bangkok. So if you want to visit a very cool place, these are the hints: It´s underground, there are ladies swinging on the swings and they have a ladies night on Wednesday. Yaaaay! We had a good time there, cause we were there on Wednesday!
Soi Cowboy is a short (150 meter long) street with some 40, mostly go-go bars. It is famous because the Hangover II movie was shot there and it is also famous because there are lot of prostitutes and ladyboys. So, I´m leaving this mission up to you 🙂
What to watch out for in Bangkok?
Scams! There are lot of scams for the tourists. I was in a scammy situation for at least 4 times during 48 hours. The most ridiculous one was when the man on the picture tried to convince me that the Grand palace and Wat Pho is closed because of some ceremony and that they will bring me to see some different sights. Of course that it was not true and I talked to him purely so that I could write about it on my blog and you would know about it 😉
Hurray! That’s the end of my 48 hours of street food and adventure in Bangkok photo story. As I said in the beginning, I had a great help of my travel community. Here are some extra tips from my friends for you:
– Elana: Do a cooking class, best food we ate and they take you to the market, super interesting. We went to shilom cooking school
– Alexandra: Go to sky bar, amazing views
– Bryce: Cabbage & condoms…. Despite the name, hands down the best place to eat in Bangkok
– Kenny: could spend all day here. It’s free and design geeky – https://www.facebook.com/tcdc.thailand/
Thanks for all tips guys and thanks to Isa for being my travel buddy in Bangkok and Penang and also for being my housmate in Bali. I can’t wait for more adventures in the future.
About the Author
Thanks for reading this article! My name is Silvia and I’m from Slovakia. I’m passionate about entrepreneurship, marketing, traveling, surfing, photography and I’m in the search of the best ways how to combine it all. Over the past 3 years I changed my lifestyle completely. From an employee in a larger company I started freelancing and working online to be location independent. What drives me is the idea that if I want to, I can book a ticket and go surfing anywhere in the world and stay as long as I want. Also, I gathered lot of content and ideas inspired by beautiful people, places and products. I blog and organize presentations about these topics. Safe travels!