You either love or hate Bangkok. This city has so much to offer in terms of culture, food, amusement and really nice people that you can easily fall in love with this city. But it contains also some of the sneakiest Thais there are. It can easily happen to you that you ask someone for the direction to a temple and he will tell you that its closed but that he can bring you to a much nicer place instead. Also taxi drivers will often tell you that their meter is broken in order to negotiate a fix price which is way too high. You can be angry about that behavior or take it easy as they just try to make a living and with a minimum of preparation you will do well in this fascinating city.
The two aps google.maps and maps.me will help you to navigate in this enormous city and with Grab you can easily order taxis that will drive by meter. And with some common sense you will also be able to navigate around the other scams and enjoy our highlights from several visits to Bangkok:
Eat Thai food
The Thai cuisine is simply outstanding. This mix of sweet and hot and all the tasty ingredients is so unique and delicious. We particularly love the curries but there are also so many other excellent Thai dishes. One of our favorite restaurants is the Green House close to Kao San road.
Take a Thai massage
There are not many places in the world where you can get a 1-hour massage for less than 10 USD. But be prepared as the original Thai massage is more of a sport exercise than a relaxing treat. But don’t worry if you are more the soft type, you can always choose an oil massage which is really relaxing.
There are basically four kind of shopping possibilities in Bangkok. T-Shirts, bracelets and souvenirs can be found, among other places, around Kao San road. The second kind are shopping centers like the MBK. There you can buy all sorts of electronics and leather goods. There we prefer the ones without the fake luxury brand on it, as importing them to Europe or the US could lead to confiscation. The third option are luxury shopping centers like the Siam shopping center where you can find the original version of the fake handbag from MBK. The last option is to get tailored cloths. As the quality of the individual shops differs widely, we recommend to consult trip advisor to find the right tailor. And as their styles are not always up to date it helps when you know exactly what you want.
On my first visit I made the mistake to leave the finished suit with my tailor as I knew that I would come back to Bangkok by the end of my trip. Unfortunately, my flight was delayed and his shop closed by then. He only sent me my suit after putting on a bit of pressure.
Cheer at a Muay Thai fight night
This Thai national sport is a unique experience. When you see those small, lightweight Thai boys fight, you realize what power an insignificant person can create with the right training and technique.
Go out in Kao San road
When the sun goes down this street transforms from a shopping street to a party street. There is one bar and restaurant after the other and in between some clubs try to bring in the crowd. But some of the best parties you sometimes find in the middle of the street, when backpackers spontaneously start to dance. You can easily make friends with other fellow travelers and when you are curious you can go and see a ping pong show together.
We actually went to such a ping pong show on our first visit to Bangkok. It was a strange experience and not erotic at all, but still fun.
Have a drink on a rooftop bar
Enjoying a drink on a rooftop bar at night and looking down on the big city lights is almost always a fascinating experience. In Bangkok one of the best places to do that is the Moon Bar. Drinks are pricy but the view unbeatable.
Stare at all the gold at the Grand Palace
The grand palace is the residency of the Thai King and one of the main attractions of the city. It is full of golden monuments, beautiful statues and even an emerald Buddha. Make sure to cover your shoulders and knees or rent appropriate cloths when there.
Relax with Wat Pho
If you only have time for one temple, this probably is the right one to choose. There is not only a lying Buddha of impressive size to worship but also entire lines of golden sitting buddhas all with individual characteristics.
Enjoy the quietness of the Marble Temple
It is one of the less known temples and therefore less filled with tourists. But precisely this circumstance makes him perfectly suitable to enjoy the beauty of it in almost silence.
Climb the Golden Mount
There are more than 300 steps to climb to reach its top, but maybe that is part of the spiritual experience. The entire top of the mountain is covered in gold and from up there the view over Bangkok is unique.
Enjoy the sunset at Wat Arun
This temple consists of mostly white structures that are made with such a love for details that it is a pure pleasure to look at them and to climb through them. This temple is also known as sunset temple and it looks particularly beautiful at that time of the day. To get the best view we recommend to cross the river and enjoy a drink at the rooftop bar opposite the temple – it is spectacular.