Bangkok is probable THE most popular metropolis in Southeast Asia. People from all over the world dream about visiting the beaches in Thailand or exploring the islands off the coast. In order to do these things, you have to pass through Bangkok. It’s home to the largest airport in Thailand and is relatively cheap to fly to. Before my trip to Vietnam, I arrived in Bangkok to explore a little bit of Thailand. It was a wonderful city with so much to see.
Getting to Thailand
Bangkok does have a lot of direct flights from places. I flew in from Vancouver, Canada, so I had a layover in China. If you’re coming from the States, you’ll most likely have a similar layover. Make sure to check your country’s visa regulations. Some countries require a visa to enter Thailand. I had a friend coming from South Africa, and she needed a visa just to enter.
Where to Stay
Thailand has some very cheap options for accommodation. Hostels run you about $4 to $10 per night, depending on where you book. Airbnb can run you from about $15 to $50 per night. If you’re looking to ball out on a luxurious place, you can do this for about $40 a night up to over $100. You can find accommodation here for almost any budget. Here are some of the most popular neighborhoods to stay in:
- Khao San: Home to the famous backpacker street, Khao San Road, you’ll find a lot of travelers in this area. There’s a bunch of bars, restaurants, hostels, and attractions to explore. You’ll be close to markets and a raging nightlife. Be warned, if you don’t like noise or drunk backpackers, this may not be the best option.
- Saim: If you want to find amazing shopping options for way cheaper than you can find at home, Saim is the place for you. This neighborhood is all about shopping. The BTS Skytrain goes through here, so it’s easy to get around the city from this location.
- Pratunam: This neighborhood has a lot to offer a traveler. You’ll find floating markets, shopping centers, a great tower with a beautiful view of Bangkok. It’s also home to the Pratunam market that’s open 24/7. There is a bit of traffic here as well.
- Chinatown: Home to some absolutely amazing food options. Chinatown is always active and has a lot to explore. It’s also not too far from some of the main attractions.
What to Pack
Besides the obvious necessities you need for any trip, you’ll want to keep the weather in mind during your stay to Bangkok. The temperature is almost always above 90 degrees F. And this sun is hot. You’ll need plenty of sunscreen, even if you think you’re used to sunshine. Bring clothes that help keep you cool and wick away moisture when you sweat 100 gallons of water a day.
It also rains quite often from May to October, so bring a poncho for those unexpected monsoons. It doesn’t normally rain all day, but the short hour or two that it does rain, brings a lot. You’ll also want comfortable sandals for all the walking. Chacos or Tevas are great for both men and women.
The Main Attractions
Bangkok has a lot of culture to explore. There’s also a lot of fun things to see and experience in this town, and here are some of my favorites:
Ride a Tuk-tuk
Tuk-tuks are motorized vehicles that allow people to get around the city. They are famous in Bangkok and give you a great view of the city while you ride around. I wouldn’t recommend using them everywhere you go, but at least once during your trip.
Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
This is one of the most beautiful Buddhist temples I’ve ever seen. It’s full of so much detail in ever square inch of the structures. I could have wandered around here for hours if it wasn’t so hot. It’s located across the Chao Phraya River, so you’ll need to take one of the water taxis across the river.
If you’re not staying in China Town, you still need to make a trip to this part of Bangkok. The streets are always busy with street vendors and festivals. If you happen to be in Bangkok during the Lunar New Year, China Town is absolutely crazy. With good food and good festivities, this was one of my favorite places to wander in the city.
Taling Chan Floating Market
Thailand has floating markets throughout the country. There are a lot in Bangkok, and the Taling Chan Floating Market was my favorite. The vendors have almost everything you could need. From food, to stationary, to clothes, to puppies.. Yes, even puppies and kittens are available to buy. The food stands have little seating areas to eat at with some amazing food.
This is considered to be a backpacker’s paradise. You can find cheap food, cheap accommodation, and there’s an amazing night life. You’re bound to meet people here from all over the world. There’s a market where you can try to negotiate for the best prices for that banana t-shirt you want or matching henna tattoos for you and your gang. My favorite activity on this road was the massages. I got a one hour foot massage for about $3usd. That’s crazy!
Day Trip to Ayutthaya
I took a day tour to explore the beautiful Ayutthaya a few hours north of Bangkok. This was such a unique experience because I was able to see some more of Thailand’s history that I wouldn’t have been able to see alone in Bangkok. There’s a number of shops that sell these kind of tours, so it wasn’t hard to find. It’s a two hour bus ride north with a lot of stops.
I saw the Bang Pa In Palace, Wat Maha That, and Wat Phra Si Sanphet. It was all included in the tour and was such an educational experience. I learned more of the history of Thailand, including the influences from Cambodia, Sria Lanka, and Thailand. I highly recommend a visit to Ayuttaya.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Bangkok? It’s such a fun city to explore. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! Make sure to contact us if you need help planning your next trip.