January 17, 2017
Four Must-Do Things in Bangkok
Straight to the Point
Bangkok is the bustling capital of Thailand and is full of friendly locals, cheap delicious food, and beautiful Buddhist temples. Here are the first four sights a first time visitor to Bangkok should see.
Khao San Road
Khao San Road is a well-known street in downtown Bangkok where tourists and backpackers love to congregate. It’s a great spot to meet other travelers and it’s very easy to talk to new people. Along the road you’ll find various merchants selling their wares, tons of restaurants serving Thai food, bars, and nightclubs. There’s loud music blasting from the clubs all along the road and the younger crowd is generally having a great time. Like most of Thailand, food and drinks here are a bargain compared to prices in the West. You can get dinner and drinks for under $10 USD. You’ll also find many vendors selling cooked critters to tourists. They have scorpions, snakes, spiders, crickets etc. available for consumption if that’s what you’re after. If you want to spend a night out in Bangkok, this is a great place to start.
Bangkok is full of hundreds of temples as most of the population is Buddhist. Some are huge landmarks while others are tiny and look like they’re in the middle of nowhere. If you only have time to see three temples, I’d recommend you check out Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of Emerald Buddha), and Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha). It’s very easy to see these temples in the same day as they’re located within walking distance of each other.
Wat Arun is right across the river from Wat Pho. You can take a quick ferry ride to see it. This is one of the most unique Asian temples I’ve visited and it’s definitely worth the trip if you’re in Bangkok. As you can see, reconstruction was going on when I was there in January 2017.
Wat Phra Kaew is located within the huge Grand Palace complex. Once you make your way inside the temple, you’ll find the Emerald Buddha. The Emerald Buddha is a sacred statute of Buddha and is carved from a single piece of jade. You should know that there is a dress code when visiting the Buddha. Low cut shorts and tank tops aren’t allowed. Visitors also aren’t allowed to take photos of the Buddha.
Wat Pho is the Thai temple you’ve probably seen the most online. Inside you’ll find the giant gold Reclining Buddha measuring 46 meters long. You’ll also see that the walls along the temple are covered in intricate Thai drawings. This was one of my favorite temples to visit in Bangkok.
Asiatique is a huge outdoor mall in Bangkok. You’ll find tons of modern shops selling everything from Thai souvenirs to soaps, carpets, kitchen appliances, clothing and more! There’s also some cool live shows here.
I had dinner at the Joe Louis Thai restaurant where they also do a Thai puppet show once a night! The food was great and it was a novel experience to see Thai puppets come to life. You can also find a Muay Thai performance and a Cabaret show at the Asiatique market. Overall this is a neat place to get away from the bustle of downtown and stroll through shops, restaurants, and fruit vendors at your leisure.
Tuk tuk’s are iconic to Thailand. You pretty much have to try it if you’re there. It’s basically a fun taxi with three wheels. Make sure you negotiate the price of your ride before getting in as tuk tuk’s don’t have meters. The drivers are also notorious for gauging tourists so bring your A game negotiating skills.
Overall I enjoyed my first trip to Bangkok. The prices of everything in the city were very reasonable and the locals were quite hospitable. I only spent about two and a half days in the city so I wasn’t able to see everything I wanted. I’ll need to plan another stopover through Bangkok next time I’m flying through Asia!