|Original photo from 9holidayscouk.wordpress.com
BANGKOK SHUTDOWN. I visited Bangkok almost a month ago during the Valentine’s Day weekend and it was also unfortunately at the height of the massive local demonstrations in the city. Prior to our trip, I monitored the city’s protest situation for days, especially on Twitter (via @191Thailand) and I must admit, reading all the news about Bangkok was nakakaloka and nakakapraning. News about the bus bombings, blocked roads, and legions of human barricades marching down the major roads of Bangkok didn’t help either to pacify my travel apprehensions.
But holidays are holidays… I wouldn’t want to cancel my air tickets and hotel bookings JUST LIKE THAT… y’know. After all, I was already salivating every single day to eat local Thai food and shop-’till-I-drop in Bangkok’s notoriously cheap weekend markets.
I am no Bangkok virgin.
Although I’ve already been here twice before in the last two years, there’s still so many things and places to discover in the City of Angels. Hence it all boiled down to your holiday objectives which may differ per trip. For us, we wanted a mix of R&R (rest & relaxation), culinary adventure, exciting nightlife, minimal touristy spots, and lots of shopping.
Do you have only three nights to spend in Bangkok? Here’s my suggested list of the Top 10 Must Visit Places you should write down in your itinerary for your next visit to the Thai capital.
10. Chao Phraya River
Saturday. Although taking taxis might be more convenient for you, it’ll be best to stay away from the city’s infamous traffic jams that can sometimes be worst than Manila. If you are planning to visit some temples such as Wat Arun and Wat Pho, hopping on a boat that sails through the Chao Phraya River is probably the best alternative to reach these tourist spots around the city.
How to go to Wat Pho/Wat Arun by taking a boat?
Take the BTS Sky Train (their main train system) to Saphan Taksin station and look for the ‘Sapphan Taksin Boat Pier’ exit. At the pier, take the local river boat and alight at Pier 8. Wat Pho is merely 5 to 10 minutes away from the pier (by walking pass through the street markets). If you plan to visit Wat Arun, take a smaller boat (about THB3.00) at the same pier station and this will take you at the opposite side of the river where Wat Arun is located.
9. Wat Arun, The Temple of Dawn
Saturday. We arrived at Wat Arun around 2 p.m. As it was hot and humid that day, we were all sweaty while walking around the temples. Tip: It’s always best to wear comfy clothes and extra shirts if you can.
I didn’t imagine that visiting the temples of Wat Arun would involved a long climb up. My knees were trembling while I was carefully going up and down the steps. Steep-ano Morrie!
Reaching the top gave me a sense of fulfilment especially after seeing the beautiful city river and the city skyline. Bird’s eye view kung bird’s eye view ang peg.
8. Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
Saturday. The Buddhist temples in Bangkok look almost the same for me. Same architecture and layout. If you only have limited time to spend on temples, just select the ones you think will be of interest to you. Plus you can save on the entrance fees.
What’s interesting with Wat Pho is that it houses a giant reclining Buddha made from gold plating with intricate designs
|Photo from itchyfeetmagazine.wordpress.com
7. Sirocco Sky Bar at Lebua State Tower
Saturday. My friend and I capped off our first night while casually drinking our ice-cold Heineken beers in the grand rooftop bar of Sirocco Sky Bar at Lebua State Tower. The least expensive way to get there is by taking the BTS Sky Train and alighting at the Saphan Taksin station. The bar became even more famous after it was featured in the Hollywood movie, “The Hangover 2.”
As expected, it was pretty crowded there when we arrived at around 9:30 p.m. on a Saturday. The bar area was filled with mostly Caucasians sipping their margaritas and wines while chit-chatting with their friends and dates. Despite the nakaalta-presyong expensive drinks, the cool breeze (while in an outdoor bar), the scenic city lights, and the handsome Bangkok skyline made us love Thailand even more.
|Photo from flickr.com
6. Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market
Sunday. There are more than 10 floating markets in Bangkok and in nearby towns. After some thorough research–reading different travelers’ and bloggers’ suggestions–we opted to go to Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market.
Based on the blogs and reviews I have been reading, this is supposedly one of the least commercial and least touristy floating markets around. Best to come around 10 in the morning so you can take the boat tour first (THB 20) which lasts for about an hour and to be followed by a hearty lunch at the huge food market just beside the river. Here you can buy a variation of Thai dishes and street food, from seafood rice, chicken in pandan leaves, roasted pork belly, squid, fresh coconut juice, etc.
How to get there: Take a taxi from Wongwian Yai (last BTS station in the Silom Line). On a normal day, the travel time will be around 20-30 minutes and your taxi cost will be around THB100-140.
5. Chatuchak Weekend Market
Sunday. Be prepared to get lost in a large shopping maze. Tip: Approach any store and try to get a map as this will help you navigate your way around the different stalls. Most of the stores are open only during weekends and it’ll take you more than half a day to complete your rounds, hence it’s best to allocate at least a day for this either on a Saturday or on a Sunday.
As for me, I was able to buy cheap t-shirts (THB80) and cute house furnishings such as wall paintings, flower vases, and light fixtures at affordable prices.
Nearest BTS station: Mo Chit Station (5-10 mins walk to Chatuchak)
|Photo from thedailybeast.com
4. Platinum Fashion Mall
Monday. Pronounced mostly by locals as “Prata-nam” or “Plati-nam,” this air-conditioned shopping complex has all the latest stylish designs for clothes, shoes, and fashion accessories.
I got excited to see a trendy, quality casual jacket at THB2,000 which I right away bought. Compared to big brands like Topman or Zara, they can easily sell a similar design at 3x the price.
|Photo from wikipedia.org
2. Siam Square | For dining: Som Tam Nua at Siam Square
Monday. Siam Square is Bangkok’s tiny version of Eastwood City in Manila where most young people hangout. This shopping and entertainment area has a dozen of boutique fashion stores and cute little dining nooks.
If you are looking for a good Thai eatery, check out Som Tam Nua (Address: 392/14 Siam Square Soi 5. Nearest BTS station: Siam). They serve delicious fried chicken and green chicken curry which my friend and I loved.
|Photo from whereisfatboy.blogspot.com
1. Massage: Chang Foot Massage & Spa
Last day. And what’s the best way to end your holiday in Bangkok? Go for a Thai massage!
Probably the most popular in Bangkok, Chang Foot Massage & Spa (Siam Square 6) offers the best 60-min body massage to relax your aching body.
|Photo from ladyironchef.com
P’s next travel destination: Taipei in April. So stay tuned for my next blog post about this trip!