An often asked question is ‘’I am going on holiday to Thailand and planning on spending time relaxing at a beach resort, however I shall be arriving in Bangkok to begin with and was wondering how long I should spend in Bangkok and what should I see and do?
Usually opinion is divided on Bangkok, you are either in the love it camp or just want to get the hell out camp. For me it is the first camp as I must admit to having always loved Bangkok. However to make a decision you need to spend enough time there to make up your own mind and I would suggest (depending on the time you are staying in Thailand) that to be between 4-7 days. I have in no particular order created a possible 5 day itinerary to see some of Thailand’s capital city.
The one thing I would recommend with Bangkok is whatever you decide to see and do try and keep the selected attractions or activities in one area each day. There are several reasons for this
- The traffic can be a nightmare, expect to spend time and plenty of it at times stuck in traffic jams. This will eliminate a fair bit of that.
- Bangkok can be exceedingly gruelling with the heat. Energy should be conserved as often as possible and used in short bursts where necessary. Rushing around from here to there will burn you out completely.
- Take your time looking around an area. So often we rush around trying to cram in as much as possible only to miss the real Bangkok. By the real Bangkok I mean things like taking time to have a delicious roadside noodle or exploring the (sois) small side roads. Sometimes whilst rushing to the grand attraction we forget life’s simple pleasures.
(These days are in no particular order)
Day 1 China Town
China Town located in the Yaowarat district is a bustling hive of activity and in my opinion the real Bangkok. The area is best explored on foot as it is just one constant traffic jam and those who have their hearts set on doing some shopping here should have the shopping section of their phrase books constantly available as there is very little English spoken.
Some people don’t make it past the crowds of people, lack of space, fresh market smells and the heat, but for those that do the rewards are great with an insight in to the area’s day to day life.
The thing to do is keep well refreshed on your walking tour with the plenty of fluid stops and a couple of noodles and working in short bursts.
So what is in China Town?
The place is a haven for food lovers especially in the evening with food vendors and all sorts of street side cuisine, there are Chinese medicine shops and stacks of gold shops, fabric stores and temples with Wat Traimit (temple of the golden Buddha being very popular. The best thing to do in China Town is take your time, wander, see the sights and soak up the atmosphere. Check out the narrow alley ways whilst still keeping an eye on that vehicle getting closer that you think is surely not coming down here is it as there is no room? Yes it is…. Amazing.
China Town Alley Ways
Recommended Guide On Travel In Thailand: (Link For people outside of the U.K)
(For people living in the U.K)
Day 2 Lumphini Park And Silom
Located a stone’s throw away from Silom subway station and Sala Daeng sky train is the very impressive Lumphini Park.
The park is an escape to peace and tranquillity outside of the hustle and bustle of Bangkok whilst still being in Bangkok; it is also the largest and most popular park in the capital.
The park has a very large artificial lake where you can rent out pedal boats and some nice shaded and woodland areas to move out of the sun when required and that is essential.
The Fantastic Lumphini Park
Get there early in the morning and watch the Chinese practicing Tai Chi whilst early evening the place is alive with aerobic dancing. For the weight lifters and body builders there are free weighs section that certainly saves on a Bangkok gym membership. There are also such activities as jogging, badminton, football and Cricket in fact whatever is your pleasure.
On the other side of the coin for less energetic activities there are some nice places for a picnic lunch , some tasty food vendor stops, a romantic walk or sit down for lovers, a library, a play ground for the children and even the occasional appearance from lizards sunning themselves. A fine place to spend some time in. You can also combine the day with a look around the Silom road area where some shopping may come in to play.
Aerobic Dancing In Lumphini Park
Recommended Book On Thai Culture And Culture Shock (Link for people outside of the U.K)
(For people living in the U.K)
Day 3 The Grand Palace Complex And National Museum
Probably the most famous attraction in Thailand and a massive landmark on the world scale also. The Grand Palace was built-in 1782 and for 150 years was the home of the Thai king.
In one corner of the Grand Palace complex sits the magnificent (Wat Phra Kaew) or Temple of The Emerald Buddha. The temple is one of Thailand’s most sacred sites and there is a strict dress code on entering. For those who do not qualify there is a booth nearby where you will be provided an outfit that does cover you up properly, but you will have to leave your passport or credit card as security. The Grand Palace is open from 8-30am – 3-30pm daily unless being used for special occasions or functions. The admission fee is about 350 baht.
Talented Artists Hand Painted Wall Murals (Grand Palace)
The Grand Palace compound and especially the temple of the emerald buddha is a must see with it’s breath taking architecture and superb craftsmanship. Whilst in the area make sure you drop in on the National Museum.
Part Of The Grand Palace Complex In Bangkok
Right next to the Grand Palace sits the National Museum which houses the biggest collection of Thai artefacts in the country. The Museum was opened by King Rama V to display antiques and gifts that had been collected and given to him by his father. It is Thai history right through the Sukothai and the Rattanakosin periods.
You will find a large collection of sculptures, decorative arts, precious stones, wood carvings, fantastic Thai architecture and much more besides.
The museum is open from 09-00 – 16-00 Wednesday to Sunday right next to the Grand Palace.
The National Museum Bangkok
Recommended Book On Thai Design and Architecture (Link for people outside of the U.K)
(For people living in the U.K)
Day 4: Chatuchak market
Chatuchak weekend market could quite possibly be re named as shop until you drop market as it’s a paradise for shoppers with over 8,000 market stalls and 200,000 visitors clocking in every weekend.
Chatuchak has absolutely everything, but goods are mainly covered under the 11 categories…..
- Clothing and Accessories
- Food and drink
- Plants and Gardening
- Miscellaneous Used clothing.
Chatuchak market can be found on Kamphaengphet 2 road, Chatuchak, five minutes walk from Mo Chit station and is open Saturday’s and Sunday’s between 9am – 6pm.
Buy Anything At Chatuchak Market, Bangkok
Recommended Bangkok Guide (Link for people outside of the U.K)
(For people living outside the U.K)
Day 5: Wat Arun (Temple Of Dawn) And Wat Pho (Temple Of Reclining Buddha)
Two more temples to put on the must see list.
Wat Arun or the temple of dawn was built during the ancient days when Ayutthaya was the capital of Thailand, it has a very long history and is one of Thailand’s most outstanding temples.
The temple has a 70 meter spire and when all lit up at night looks fantastic, however to see this great temple in its full glory the best time to view is at sun rise.
The temple opens from 8-30am – 5-30pm and costs 50 baht admission fee. Wat Arun is located on the west (Thonburi) bank of the Chao Phraya River.
Wat Arun (The Temple Of Dawn)
Wat Pho or the temple of the Reclining Buddha is the largest temple in Bangkok and most famous for its beautiful 46 meter long and 15 meter high Reclining Buddha covered in gold leaf.
Aside from the incredible Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho is also very famous for the fine traditional art of Thai massage. Anyone who is anyone including the rich and famous come here to sample the wonders of the home of Thai massage.
Before the temple was built the site was actually an educational centre for traditional Thai medicine.
You can choose between a 30 minute massage for 150 baht, a one hour massage for 250 baht or treat yourself to the fantastic herbal massage for 350 baht. However the one thing you must do if visiting the temple is to make sure you stop by for a massage, you won’t regret it.
For those who would like to discover the Wat Pho traditional Thai massage secrets for yourself then a 30 hour course will set you back 4,500 baht. After discovering the secrets it will set you forward and I am sure your partner will be elated.
Wat Pho is located on Maharat Road close to the river about a half a mile south of the Grand Palace and is open from 8am – 17-00 with massages carried out until 18-00.
Sunday is a good day for a visit as you can watch Thai dance and traditional Thai music taught to the students.
Tha Chang Back water Boat Trip
Why not finish the day off with a trip out on the Chao Phraya River. Times may have changed now, but the river is still a peaceful and pleasant way to get around. Get away from the hustle and bustle of City life and explore the back waters of Bangkok and river life.
A far cry from traffic jams and inhaling fumes and most of all a great insight in to how people live by the river. Book a boat or a guide and boat and go and explore.
Tha Chang or Chang pier is just across from the Grand palace. You have to walk through the market and right to the back to the pier and this is where bookings can be made also.
Back Waters Of Bangkok On The Chao Phraya River.
Recommended Book for getting to know ” Everyday popular Thai culture” (Link for people outside of the U.K)
(For people living in the U.K)
I would suggest whichever evening you have a spare few hours get this activity in to the itinerary.
Riverside boat tour
Take a trip on the banks of the Chao Phraya river on a dinner cruise boat at the river side, Bangkok on Ratwiti road. Absolutely highly recommended and delicious cuisine whether taking a lunch trip between 11-00am – 2-00pm or the dinner cruise between 19-00 – 22-00.
The buffet dinner cuisine consists of the most mouth-watering food complete with Thai dance and melody from musicians. Besides the great food and relaxing experience come the fantastic views of Bangkok. You can take this specific buffet boat cruise from the River side hotel situated on the Thonburi side of Bangkok. For a choice Of Boat tours and good food combinations in Bangkok.
Engaging Thailand Website
For more information on Thailand in general and subjects to do with Life design in the form of articles,guest interviews, products and relevant links ,please visit http://www.engagingthailand.com/ the site is constantly being updated with fresh information of mine and other people’s.
Other Useful Links
A blog all about Thailand – from Kitiya’s point of view. Kitiya talks about travel information, cooking and Thai culture, in particular Kitiya specialises in information and stories about Isaan (the north-east.)
Brilliant Thai Forum
Entertaining, friendly and very informative on subjects Thai. Come along and meet a welcoming crowd of Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, Americans, Brits, Thais and others and be in the know and inform.
A great little group on Facebook for those of you who love Thailand, discuss any Thai related things amongst friends. All nationalities from all over the world with one thing in common they simply adore Thailand. Why not join the group and be with friends on Friends 4 Thailand. Just log in on the link below to see the page.
http://www.facebook.com/groups/179211268812336/ Useful information from a group about living in Thailand.