People often ask me what they should do when in Bangkok. I usually retort “What’s not to do?” because Bangkok is an immense city, the hub of SE Asia, and has countless things to do.
The real problem is narrowing those things down.
There’s a vast difference between travelling Bangkok and experiencing Bangkok. So, at what point can you say you’ve experienced Bangkok? Perhaps when you bleed somtam. Joking aside, it is a difficult question to answer. Bangkok renews itself every few months. There’s always something new going on. Take the shopping districts for example. This season, there’s a block party style festival on Silom road. The Ratchaprasong Winter Sale nearly matches Singapore’s Great Sale with everything at 30-70% off.
- Visit a floating market
- One Night in Bangkok
- Dine with a panoramic view
- Hang out at Central World Plaza
- Get a massage at Wat Pho
There’s just nothing like it in the world, and you don’t have to go all the way out to the touristy Damnoen Saduak Floating Market near Pattaya. Bangkok has a real one located on the Thonburi side of the Chao Praya River. Whether you arrive by water taxi or take a bus, a lazy afternoon at the Taling chan Floating market would include picking up orchids, eating fresh BBQ fish on low stools next to the river, and a side tour up Bangkok Noi Canal.
Bangkok is a different place at night. When night crackles electric in the City of Angels, the street vendors and food stalls have all changed over, night markets open, and red light districts are a go-go. A jazz or blue’s club anyone? Or perhaps dancing at RCA club district’s 808 club (where there is a live acoustic band in the massive bathroom) is more your game? Khao San Rd. is like carousing down Bourbon Street with it’s night clubs and restaurants and people from all over the world looking for a good time. The possibilities of night entertainment are endless. A night in Bangkok can make “a hard man humble.” Forgive the cliché.
The twinkling lights of the city below are best seen from it’s top! At 88 stories, Baiyoke Tower is the tallest building of Bangkok. Baiyoke’s three international buffet restaurants on the 78, 79 and 82nd floors, offer panoramic views from a circular room panelled from ceiling to floor in glass. And if you dine the observation deck is free. Another but more pricey place to go for roof top dining in Bangkok is the Moon Bar and Grill located at the top of The Banyon Tree Hotel. At 59 stories, the view is well…nice, but the Baiyoke is higher and gives one a solitary sense.
There’s always something going on at Central World Plaza. Presently, there is a motorcycle show with beer gardens and hawker-style snacking, before that the major bottling companies went all out with beer gardens and bandstands set up for upcoming Thai pop stars. The greatest thing about Central is that each time you visit there will be something new.
Many travel to Bangkok just to receive therapy. And Wat Pho is the source to get it. Thai Yoga Massage originates out of Wat Pho and is the place to study massage. If you ask any therapist they will promptly say they studied at Wat Pho. So why not have your massage at the source? But be warned a Wat Pho massage is much more intense than at more touristy places.
Many other things to do could of easily made this list. I would not hesitate to say that a trip to Bangkok wouldn’t be complete without having cocktails at sunset by the river at the famed Oriental Hotel, or loading up with goodies at Chatuchak Market (JJ Mall) –proving again that Bangkok is a city worthy of multiple visits.