If you’re looking for an eclectic mix of culture, food and nightlife then Bangkok is a must. We spent five days there which felt like an absolute whirlwind (and over way too soon!).
After a 34 hour journey (yeah, really) and a sketchy ride through Downtown Bangkok at midnight we arrived at the Kama. Relieved to find our key and instructions on the door as planned, we headed on in. The boutique style hostel didn’t disappoint. Our room was spacious with a fully stocked fridge of beer; needless to say we took full advantage.
Over the following five days, armed with a few recommendations and maps.me (a godsend) we explored Bangkok. Here’s our highlights…
Just a stones’ throw from our hotel, Asiatique was one of the first places we stumbled across. It was an Aladdin’s cave of stalls offering anything and everything from traditional Thai silks and trinkets to watches and mango shaped soap…
When people say pack light for South East Asia, I now know what they mean. Given the prices it was hard to resist a shopping haul.
After working up an appetite, we headed over to the outdoor food market on the river front; an explosion to the senses to say the least! Scorpions on sticks, fried squid, curries, fruits, noodle dishes, you name it.
We weren’t brave enough to take on the scorpions, as appetising as they were…but did wash a Phad Thai, beef curry and some roast chicken down with a few beers all for around £5…
It’s near on impossible to go to Bangkok without stumbling across a few temples, whether you intend to or not. The ornate buildings are scattered across the city and boast some breathtaking architecture. Whether you’re into the culture or not, you have to go to at least one! Our favorite was Wat Arun, located on the bank of the Chao Phraya River.
The imposing temple stands 86 meters tall and is covered in minute stonework. We explored the stunning grounds and went into the temple where a monk was delivering a sermon.
All in all a pretty surreal experience and a must if you want to see the cultural side of the city. After taking in the temple, we hopped across the river to watch the sunset over a few drinks.
Khao San Road
We took the taxi boat and headed upstream to Phra Arthit where we found the infamous street. Known as the traveler hub of South East Asia, it’s nothing short of mental.
Lined with bars, street food vendors, market stalls and just plan crazy antics it’s a place not to be missed. We made the most of the street food and took in the atmosphere at the Irish bar. It’s a great place to meet fellow travelers whether you want to party the night away or just hear a few priceless tips.
The tuk-tuk experience
Ok, so this was something we knew we were going to have to just embrace. It turned out to be one of the most petrifying yet hilarious experiences of the trip so far.
Over two hours, we were chaperoned around some of the tourist hotspots including the Golden Buddha at break neck speed.
Meandering through traffic with no regard for any road markings, we made it to our final destination unscathed all for 20 BHT (50p). A journey we won’t forget in a hurry…
No matter where you are in Bangkok, the streets are lined with food. From make shift stalls ran by families to high end restaurants all offering delicious Thai cuisine…(and coconut ice cream).
As we were on a traveler’s budget, we opted for the street food which didn’t disappoint. We were slightly picky (hygiene standards don’t come close to what we’re used to) but everything we ate was a pure delight – you have to try it to believe it. To give you an idea, a large plate of Phad Thai cost us between 50-110 BHT (£1.10 – £2). I’ll say no more.
This is hard to explain, but there’s a certain vibe in Bangkok that I haven’t experienced before. Laid back yet manic, if the city’s anything it’s unique. From tranquil temples to crazy bars, there is something for everyone. You just have to stay on your toes and go with the flow.