After 3 days of exploring the Kingdom of Wonder, we arrived in Bangkok in the Land of Smiles.
Getting Around in Bangkok
We used the BTS and walked. The only time we used a cab was to get to the airport and that was because it was early in the morning, which meant little to no traffic. Traffic can get pretty crazy in Bangkok, so I’d stick with using public transportation unless you’re trying to get to places that aren’t along the skytrain lines. You can find the most up-to-date information on routes and fares here.
To get to the Grand Palace, take the BTS and get off at Saphan Taksin. Sathorn Pier is right below this station. Wait for the orange flag express boat (they’ll collect fares on the boat, don’t fall for scammers at the pier) and get off at Tha Chang Pier (N9). Follow the large white wall after you exit and you’ll reach the palace entrance soon after.
Where to Stay in Bangkok
After comparing locations and prices, we chose airbnb over staying at a hotel. Hotels aren’t expensive in Bangkok by North American standards– you can get a decent 4-5* hotel starting from $150. I didn’t see a point in splurging on a fancy place since we’ll only be using our room to sleep. We ended up paying $30 a night for a clean, fairly new apartment that is only a 2min walk from Banchaek Station.
What to Do in Bangkok
Siem Paragon is one of the biggest shopping centers in Asia. It’s fancy as hell! We didn’t buy anything but it was still nice to walk around and see what well-off folks can afford. It’s also filled with restaurants and entertainment (Siem Ocean World is in the basement). MBK Center- a more affordable mall with low-mid range stores- is also close by if you’re looking to shop.
Grand Palace (500 baht)
Take the BTS and ferry to the Grand Palace. If people tell you that it’s closed- ignore them because they’re touts trying to scam you. Actually, just ignore everybody until you’ve made it inside to the legit ticketing booth. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately! Your shoulders need to be covered and your bottoms have to be at least knee-length (elephant crop pants are perfect).
Wat Pho (100 baht)
The golden reclining Buddha is about a 10-15min walk from the Grand Palace. You’ll need to remove your shoes before you get inside (they have these bags at the entrance that you can use).
Wat Arun and Wat Phra Kaew
If you’re not templed out like we were, check out Wat Arun and Wat Phra Kaew. I’d wait until after the sun sets (or just before) to visit Wat Arun because it looks beautiful lit up!
This is one of the favourite things we did in SE Asia!! We signed up for an evening class at Silom Thai Cooking School for 900 baht. If you sign up for the morning class they’ll take you to a market to pick out the ingredients. We made 5 dishes in total- it was so much fun! The only downside is that prep work is done on the ground, so if you have back problems this can be a bit challenging.
What we really liked about this was that we each got our own station. We went to a class once at the Pacific Culinary Institute of Culinary Arts on Granville Island and that was a nightmare. Food prep and cooking with noobs that don’t even know you have to use a different knife to cut proteins vs. vegetables? NAH. Silom Thai was great- you make your own 5-course meal on your own with a great instructor, from beginning to end.
What to Eat in Bangkok
AWYIS the best part about Bangkok. The food!
Som Tam Nua (Siem Square)
This restaurant serves the best wings ever (115baht). Is there crack in it? Because this stuff is addicting. Their somtam (papaya salad, for 85 baht) is very yummy, too. HOWEVER, their service is absolute GARBAGE. At first we thought it was because we’re tourists but we realized that they treat locals the same way. All of them looked as if they hate life with a passion. They’d ignore you a couple of times before they acknowledge you. We even saw one of them picking his nose as he was cleaning up a table. Nasty! We’d still come back, though, because the wings and somtam are that addicting haha.
Queen of Curry
This place is a 5min walk from Sathorn Pier. Their curries are amazing! Service is great, too.
After You Dessert Cafe
Are you a pastry addict like me? If so, head on over to this famous cafe because their honey toasts are so delicious. And fattening. But who cares! We shared a ferrero rocher one- even the insides oozed with buttery goodness.
Thip Samai Phad Thai
The line is ridiculously long for the best pad thai in town (supposedly). We got lucky and didn’t have to wait at all because our guide helped us order takeout from this place on the way back from our tour.
Eat to your heart’s content with the cheap food stalls on the streets but be very careful if you have a weak digestive system like me! We went to a market close by our condo one morning and while the food was very tasty, I got mad runs a few hours after 🙁