9 suggestions for Bangkok ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ

Welcome to the Thai capital, a bustling, sweltering metropolis and the hub for travellers entering South East Asia! Here are 9 suggestions for Bangkok

1. Cruise down the Chao Praya River

This is a great way to either start or end your day in the capital city. If you don’t feel like jumping straight into the hustle and bustle then a cruise is a good way to start off. In the evening it’s a nice way to wind down and watch the sunset.

The river is known as the River of Kings and has 4 main tributaries: Ping, Wang, Yom and Nan. These waterways (also known as khlongs) have been described as the main arteries of Bangkok and feature prominently in most people’s daily lives. For some, such as fishermen and boatmen the river is their main source of income, whilst others use the river to reach work every day.

Two of the main sites, Wat Pho and Wat Arun, can be reached from the river but more about these later!

There are different types of boats going up and down the river. You can choose from express boats, tourist boats and dinner cruises! Check out the apps that can be used to book tours on my Handy Travel Apps page.

Top Tip: The river is known as a tourist hot spot and the boatmen will try to rip you off. Don’t pay more than about $5 for the express and tourist boats. Remember to barter!

Chao Praya River, Bangkok

2. Wat Pho (The reclining Buddha)

This temple is on the banks of the Chao Praya River and is the oldest and largest of all the temples (or Wats) in Thailand! The Reclining Buddha was built in 1848 (the Temple itself was built in 1788 during the reign of King Rama the First) and is the largest Buddha in Thailand.

The temple houses a Bodhi tree and it is believed that this tree was grown from part of the tree under which Buddha himself became enlightened.

Depending on where you are staying it may be easier to take a tuk-tuk instead of using a water taxi. Some drivers will tell you that the temple is closed and will try to take you somewhere else. Ignore them as the temples are open daily and they just want to take you somewhere more expensive to try and extract more money from you!

Top Tip: Women have to cover up inside the temple and on arrival you are given a light green robe. However, if you’d rather not wear this, I suggest that you bring a pashmina or a sarong that you can just slip on.

Bangkok
Bangkok

3. Aeroplane graveyard

Set in the Eastern part of the city lie the old and abandoned shells of a 747 and two smaller MD-82 aircraft. These planes have been left to rot and are derelict and covered in graffiti.

They also happen to be home to 3 families who will charge you approximately ยฃ2.50 to see all over the field. This includes climbing inside the planes that they haven’t claimed as home.

Scrapped planes have been arriving since around early 2010 with the MD-82s arriving a couple of years later. It seems one used to be owned by Orient Thai Airlines and was involved in a fatal crash in Phuket, probably why it has found its way to a field in Bangkok!

Please be extremely careful when climbing in and out of the planes and looking out of the windows. Some of the windows are high and there is debris all over the floor. There is no health and safety here!

It is an eerie feeling to see these planes just lying there and then going inside and seeing empty an empty shell. Some still have toilets and other random parts but the seats, overhead lockers, tv screens and oxygen masks are all long gone!

The graveyard is easy to find but bear in mind that it takes a good hour by water taxi from the centre of this sprawling metropolis! Just follow the directions found here.

Top Tip: Please be respectful of the families who are living here. If the curtains are down then please do not disturb them.

Airplane Graveyard
Bangkok
Bangkok

4. Wat Arun

This temple or Wat is also found on the Chao Praya River on the western bank and can be easily reached by a water taxi. Remember to haggle over taxi prices before you get in!

Wat Arun is also known as the Temple of Dawn and was named after Aruna who is the God of Dawn. The temple is 80 metres tall and is covered in beautiful ceramic tiles and porcelain. But there is something unusual about these tiles. The tiles started life as bits of broken Chinese dishes that were rescued from a shipwreck! They also look incredible at night.

At the entrance are two statues of mythical giants who are said to guard the temple and to keep watch over the grounds.

Top Tip: Open daily between 08:30 – 17:30

Wat Arun
Image by Carina Hofi

5. Chatuchak Market

Welcome to the biggest market in Bangkok, a must-see for visitors! This sells everything and I mean everything. Jewelery, art, clothes, shoes, souvenirs, you name it and you will find it. I bought a lovely elephant cushion (that was fun to fit in my bag to fly home…). There are helpful information kiosks with free maps to show you where everything is (the market is split into sections) and in case you get lost.

Things are cheap but bartering is welcomed and welcomed even more if you can produce a bit of Thai. Try thao rai, which means how much. Check here for some other handy phrases.

The market is open from 09:00 – 18:00 but I’d suggest going in the morning. This is because you are likely to get a better price for something as the stall holders believe that the first sale of the day can be good luck!

If you start to feel peckish from all your browsing then fear not. This market is full of food stalls ranging from savoury to sweet.

Top Tip: The market is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Market
Image by Mailan Maik

6. Floating market

Now here is a sight that you don’t see every day. A floating market with vendors paddling small boats, packed high with their wares such as food that they will cook for you there and then, fruit and veg, house hold essentials, souvenirs and many more! Before urban Bangkok was created, the vendors struggled to make money from selling their goods so they took to the waterways, the artery of the city.

  • The most popular market is said to be Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, which also has the downside of being full of tourists. It is about an hour’s drive from Bangkok
  • Bang Kachao, also known as ‘Bangkok’s Green lung’, is much closer and easier to get to reach as it is just 6 miles from downtown Bangkok. It is beautifully located being shaded by coconut trees and papaya groves and is also home to Talad Nam Peung floating market, which is a honey market. Both of these markets have fewer tourists.
  • Amphawa Floating Market is located 50 kilometres from downtown Bangkok and is also very popular, mainly for its fantastic selection of seafood being sold on wooden boats where you can pretty much find anything!

Top Tip: Try to visit early! Is is usually best to book a tour to view these unique markets.

Floating Market
Image by Dean Moriarty

7. Thai Boxing (Muay Thai)

This is a Thai contact sport known as ‘the art of 8 limbs’ and received its name as participants use their knees and elbows and their shins and fists in each match. It used to be a training regime in the Thai military but now is a very popular sport throughout the country with a stadium in each town.

If you feel like watching this or even have a lesson yourself, then click here.

8. Bangkok National Museum

This is a beautiful building and has the largest collection of artefacts and Thai art in Thailand and the largest in South East Asia! It was the first public museum and was opened by King Rama the Fifth to show off the gifts that he had received from his father.

The museum features artefacts such as Chinese weapons, puppets, precious stones, textiles and local masks.

Top Tip: if you visit on Thursdays you should be able to have a tour in English!

9. Khao San Road

The home of binge drinking, wild bars and crazy night clubs in Bangkok! Don’t worry though, it isn’t as bad as it seems. There are plenty of civilised bars and restaurants further down the road where it is possible to enjoy a glass of wine and chat to your neighbour, without being drowned out by blasting techno music and interrupted every 2 minutes to ask if you’d like a shot or to visit a special show.

As well as civilised restaurants that serve good local food and international cuisine there are some rather unusual food stalls that sell fried crickets, scorpions, snakes and tarantulas just to a name a few! Pictures are prohibited but if you’re not squeamish then crack on! For the best spring rolls in town (and trust me, they are!) then visit May Kaidee Tanao, just a block from the Khao San Road

There are also lots of clothings stalls and souvenir shops.

If you want to party then stay around here but beware, it is very noisy at night!

Top Tip: Watch your drink!!!

Khao San Road
From the civilised end of the Khao San Road

Transport: I found that the 3 best ways to move around Bangkok are as follows:

  • Tuk – Tuk – These are easy to flag down and as long as you make sure to bargain hard then you can get a very good price. But be careful, there are no seatbelts, they speed along and take corners at breakneck speed. Hang on!
  • Water Taxi – This is a really good way to get avoid the traffic congestion, as long as where you want to go to is accessible from the river! They are cheap but check the timings as some can stop as early as 7pm
  • Sky Train – A great way to travel as it runs all over the city (including from the airport) Tickets are cheap and a fixed price. The only downside is that it is very crowded and becomes very hot

C.King

Brit girl on a bummel. A solo female traveller accompanied by her camera, aiming to see as much of the world as possible and sharing what she's learnt along the way!

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