Bangkok is a madhouse with the rushing of tuks tuks and motorcycles weaving in and out of the steady traffic. Skyscrapers paint the skyline and the smell of food (and smog) will become one with your nose as you make your way through the city. Yet, through the chaos, there is exquisite beauty found in the architecture and the temples.
Note: when visiting The Grand Palace or the temples, be sure to wear articles of clothing tha covers your shoulders and go past your knees. If you have failed to bring the proper attire, you can borrow a sarong for a small deposit.
If you are traveling super light and wish to bypass all of the traffic, hop onto a motorcycle taxi. You spot them in the streets by looking for the individuals who are a wearing an orange vest. Be warned that this mode of transportation is not for the faint-hearted for you will be squeezing through cars and most likely going faster than your level of comfort.
If you are only looking for a little bit of adventure, hail down a tuk-tuk a.k.a. everyone’s favorite three-wheeled colorful taxi.
If you prefer to keep it safe or are traveling with a lot of luggage then a taxi cab is for you. Be sure to settle on a price before entering the cab or simply ask the driver to turn on the meter.
If you want to travel like a local, snag a ride on the BTS (Bangkok Mass Transit System).
Whether shopping is your schtick or not, Chatuchak markets are a must because it is filled with over 8,000 vendor stalls divided into 27 different sections! Yes, 27 different categories to shop until you just can’t stop. This weekend market has anything your little heart desires from button down shirts with great white sharks to fine china and sweaters for your pooch, and before you go, learn the tips and tricks of bargaining! First, know the currency exchange rate of your native currency, second determine what you’re willing to spend and third be willing to walk away. Now you are ready to start bargaining! Begin around 30-40 price below the asking price, take your time and check different shops. In some shops the more you buy the larger discount you receive.
Thailand’s take on a modern pop-up market backed up by live music with seating underneath strings of tealights and a variety of food that goes from Texas BBQ to spaghetti. Talk about romantic, eh? The market’s unique setup is constructed by giant metal shipping containers that serve as stalls and can be shifted around the city of Bangkok. Now, here is the biggest difference between Artbox and the variety of markets you will find scattered throughout the city: Artbox supports local and asks you to shop small.
Nine stories and over six hundred shops to peruse, Terminal 21 takes you on an international journey with each floor possessing a new theme. Craving the caribbean, make your way down to the ground floor. Feeling a little French, saunter to floor M to get a taste of Champs-Élysées. It also doesn’t hurt to cool off in an air conditioned space and get away from the humidity.
Wat Pho is known for its giant gold leafed reclining Buddha that measures to 150 feet and whoa baby is it a sight to see! From the sheer size to the elaborate details of the wallpaper and ceiling. Outside of this majestic statue, Wat Pho is one of the largest temple complexes in all of Bangkok so take the time to wander the grounds and venture into the other temples.
The Grand Palace
If you can only create the time to visit one landmark during your stay, make it the Grand Palace, a mere ten-minute walk from Wat Pho. From the moment you enter the doors, you are taken aback by the intricate details of the architecture and the vivid colors to match. Be warned, a man with a megaphone will stop you dead in your tracks if you are not dressed in the appropriate attire. Don’t worry, your vacation isn’t ruined. There is an office located at the front that can provide a button up shirt and pants for a small deposit.
Jim Thompson House
Jim Thompson was an architect from Delaware who lived in Bangkok for 22 years before mysteriously disappearing in Malaysia. Throughout his time in Thailand, he contributed greatly to the Thai silk industry and received much praise. His property since then has been turned into a museum and consists of six traditional Thai houses filled with antiques, artwork and ancient artifacts with a lush green garden that encompasses most of land.
Bangkok National Museum
Home to the largest collection of Thai art and artifacts in the country, a definite must see if you wish to see the beginnings of Thai Culture all the way back to Neolithic times. Fun fact: free tours of offered on Wednesday and Thursday in English, German and French. Additionally, the grounds of the museum originally belonged to the second king and is THE first public museum of Thailand. You are literally taking a stroll through history.