Trip Index (what we have published so far):
Table of Contents
- 1 Safety
- 2 Annoyances
- 3 Feast on incredible Thai Food
- 4 Delicious Coffee in Bangkok
- 5 Bangkok Shopping Indulgence
- 6 Get a Thai Massage in Bangkok
- 7 An impromptu Chao Phraya River cruise
- 8 Bangkok Temple Tour
- 9 Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Bangkok
- 10 Bangkok Rooftop Bars
- 11 Take a day trip to Ayutthaya
Safety seems to be a non-issue in Bangkok. It’s really hard (albeit not impossible) to become a victim of violent crime in this city. There are a few scam artists in touristy areas, but nothing that will spoil your visit too much.
While the road traffic still faces constant gridlock, things have gotten much better in the last 10 years. The pollution from traffic has been reduced a great deal and the public transport system (MRT and BTS) now absorb the bulk of people transport.
The biggest issue is usually the heat, which drenches you in your own sweat after 10-15 minutes of walking – so walking tours of the city are a very sticky affair.
Feast on incredible Thai Food
The city of Bangkok is chock-full of great restaurants and street food stalls all over the city. It is hard to find such an abundance of quality and affordable food anywhere in the world.
Here are some recommendations of places I enjoyed. Use the Foursquare app to find places around you.
Delicious Coffee in Bangkok
While Bangkok as a coffee destination is just starting out, there are some great places for your high-quality caffeine fix:
Bangkok Shopping Indulgence
Bangkok has it all – huge indoor shopping malls and too-big-to-be-believed outdoor ‘wet markets’.
The MBK is my favorite, although older, mall, with its many non-chain shops. The mobile phone floor is pretty impressive and there is no cell phone ailment that can’t be taken care of here for under $10.
Directly opposite is the Siam Paragon Mall, which is more upmarket, but has a great lower floor with food and and an interesting supermarket.
Siam Square is another city square that has been overtaken by several interconnected malls. It’s a great place, where you can cool down from the heat.
Just a few BTS stops further is the Terminal 21 mall, which has a lot of upmarket options and a great upstairs food court.
The Pantip Plaza mall is dedicated to electronics and camera equipment.
The most popular outdoor market is the Chatuchak Weekend Market. Plan a whole day and get ready for crowds and debilitating heat!
Get a Thai Massage in Bangkok
Two-hour Thai massages start at 500 baht ($17, Health Land) and 800 baht ($26, Urban Retreat). It is usually necessary to call ahead for an appointment, especially at the weekend, as these places fill up completely.
The massage therapists are usually well-trained and won’t break your back (as I always fear with some of the painful Thai massage techniques).
An impromptu Chao Phraya River cruise
Getting on the Chao Phraya River is a great way to see Bangkok in a different light. It is cooler and the perspectives show more of the old charm the city must have had 20 years ago.
There is no need to join one of the touristy tours – just take the BTS Skytrain Saphan Taksin and then get on one of the local boats that run up and down the river.
I recommend going all the way north, about 45-60 minutes one-way, to get a real feel of the city.
Bangkok Temple Tour
(Picture courtesy of Greenwood Travel)
They are both very worthwhile seeing and the entry fees are minimal.
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Bangkok
This museum takes a bit of effort to get to (though it is close to Chatuchak Market).
It is surprisingly well-organized and the art on display is superb.
Bangkok Rooftop Bars
Bangkok just looks very different from above, if you can escape the urban jungle for a bit.
While several hotels have a rooftop bar, these two places are very high up and give you the best view of the city:
Take a day trip to Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya is a pleasant town just one hour north of Bangkok. It is easy to reach by minibus (just 50 baht one-way) and impresses with fabulous temples.