9 Best Things To Do In Bangkok
If you are visiting any part of Thailand, you will most likely be flying into Bangkok or passing through it at one point or another. Bangkok has great connections if you are traveling north to Chiang Mai or south to the beautiful Thai Islands. After watching the Hangover Part II movie, we were very excited to visit Bangkok. We had already heard of the bustling nightlife, cheap food options, and the beautiful temples. We spent a total of 7 days in Bangkok. The following is what we did and our top recommendations along with tips so you can have the best experience!
THE GRAND PALACE
If you don’t have a lot of time in Bangkok, the one place you can not miss is the Grand Palace. This palace was at one time the king's home. It will take you a couple of hours to see the entire place, but the Grand Palace is worth your time. This mesmerizing palace will leave your neck stiff from looking up and admiring its beauty. Do not miss the Temple of the Emerald Buddha which is one of the most beautiful sights within the Grand Palace as well as Wat Poh Crew. Make sure to take your time taking in all the beauty of this temple.
We will warn you, be prepared for large crowds of people. This attraction is one of the most visited in Thailand. Get there as early as you can to beat the crowds. When visiting the palace you need to dress modestly. Women and men should wear long pants that cover the knees and shoulders. Ladies, unfortunately a scarf wrapped around your shoulders will not work and they will deny you entrance as it happened to me. If you do forget to bring the adequate clothing, there is a store next to the 7/11 by the entrance gate where you can rent or buy pieces of clothing. I had to go here and rent a blue elephant shirt for 30 Baht ($.96). (At least I matched the palace! lol)
How To Get There:
The most enjoyable route is to take the BTS Skytrain to Saphan Taksin Station. From here take a Chao Phraya River Express boat to Tha Chang Wang Luang Pier. It is a short walk from the pier to the entrance of The Grand Palace. There are two types of cruises that take you to the Grand Palace. One is a river cruise which cost 50 Baht ($1.60) and the other is an express boat for locals which cost 20 Baht ($.64). Just ask around at the piers for the non-tourist "20 Baht boat" to Grand Palace and they will direct you.
Fees to Grand Palace:
500 Baht ($16.03) per person (cash only)
This temple is walking distance from Grand Palace and you can visit the same day. The temple holds the reclining Golden Buddha which is 15 meters tall and 46 meters long. It is covered in gold leaf. You also have to dress modestly at this temple. Take your time to walk around all the neat displays and the neat architecture. If you are looking for a massage, they also have a massage school in the temple complex!
How To Get There:
Wat Pho is located besides the Grand Palace. It will take you about 5 minutes walking to get there. Ask around and we are sure someone will be able to point you in the right direction once you exit the Grand Palace.
Fees to Wat Pho:
100 Baht ($3.20) per person (cash only)
The best time to visit Wat Arun is at sunset, but it is magical at any time of day. Take your time admiring the beauty of this temple. The intricate art will leave you captivated. You can climb the central prang if it is open. From here you will have a beautiful view of Chao Phraya River and the Grand Palace. Since it is a temple, make sure to dress modestly. If you do forget, there are some items available for rent at the entrance. If you are short on time you can combine the Grand Palace with Wat Arun as they are only a pier away.
Hot To Get There:
Catch the local express boat from Grand Palace to Wat Arun. Cost is less than 10 Baht ($.32) per person.
Fees to Wat Arun:
50 Baht ($1.60) per person (cash only)
DAMNOEN SADUAK FLOATING MARKET
Although this market is a bit out of the way, it is a total eye candy when it comes to the Thai ladies selling food and fruit directly from their boats. The best way to get here is to hire a tour. For us, to get a glimpse of this action was well worth what we payed. It is a very touristy market, but you get a taste for what a floating market was like back in the day. For around 250 Baht ($8.00) per person, the tour company will pick you up at your hotel, take you to the market in an A/C minivan, (a longtail motorized ride will be included) and bring you back to the hotel. The tour will last from 7am-1pm. There are other ways to get to the Floating Market, but you won’t be saving yourself enough money to be worth the hassle. The market starts getting really busy after 10am so get there early!
Chinatown is great to get a delicious meal! You can get anything from the traditional Chinese street food to scorpions, crickets and worms! There will be plenty of food stalls to choose from. Take your time walking around this neat area.
KHAO SAN ROAD
This street is famous for being the “Backpacker Heaven”. A night in Bangkok should be spent walking around the streets of Khao San Road. You will be able to find lots of great bars, shopping stalls, places to eat and a lot of people. A neat place to check out if you have the time!
If you are lucky enough to be in Thailand for the weekend, the Chatuchak Market is a must! This is the largest market in Thailand holding over 15,000 stalls! This market is perfect for buying souvenirs and eating great street food. The market is open only on Saturday and Sunday from 6am to 6pm. Getting here via the BTS Skytrain (MoChit) and MRT (Kamphaeng Phet) is easy and walking distance to the market.
If you are a curious adventurer, Nana Plaza is a neat area to check out. It is Bangkok’s Red Light District. Its 3-story building is like an adult Disneyland. You can easily get here by taking the Skytrain and getting off on the Nana stop. Be warned, this place is not for the faint of heart!
Another adult entertainment area in Bangkok is Soi Cowboy. This street is full of go go bars and it is one of the liveliest streets in Bangkok.
Bangkok has a lot of affordable accommodation options. It is still highly recommended you get something in advance to ensure you get a good price. We normally use Booking.com or Airbnb for our accommodations. In this case, we were able to get a high rise Airbnb with an incredible view over the Chao Phraya River. This Airbnb was only $35 per night for both of us. It came equipped with a full gym, sauna, steam room and pool! This is normally not our typical accommodation, but for the price we thought we got a great deal! You can't beat the view of this Airbnb.
Thai (You won't have trouble finding locals that speak English.)
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CREDIT CARDS AND BANKS
Cash is king in Thailand so make sure to have it handy all the time.
ATMs are readily available, but be sure to take out enough every time you use the ATM. We had a very hard time avoiding those hefty ATM fees! (~$7 per ATM withdrawal).
Visa Required for US Citizens:
No, if you are staying less than 30 days. (If planning on staying for more than 30 days, make sure to apply for the tourist visa that will allow you to stay a total of 60 days. Cost of the 60 day tourist visa in Thailand is 1,900 Baht ($60USD). Make sure to check with your local embassy for visa updates.)
You will have plenty of transportation options in Bangkok. From the new easy to ride Skytrain to Taxis, Tuk Tuk's, Grab and Uber. Taxi's are fairly inexpensive and at times less expensive than riding the Skytrain or Uber! Make sure to get familiar with the BTS Skytrain and the MRT maps. You should be able to move around Bangkok fairly easy using the train. Taxis are always a good option for 2 passengers since the cost of the Taxi can be the same cost as the trains, so check your options!
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