A perfect day in BangkokEdit This
Make sure you get up early if you want to see and experience most of Bangkok in one day. You should stroll around in the streets and stop by at one of the thousands of food stalls you can find at every corner. Most Thais start the day with a simple rice soup called khauw tom (but you can also have European breakfast in every hotel or tourist area of Bangkok).
Another short excursion would be to the world famous Khao San Road, which has just recently gotten even more attention due to the movie "The Beach" with Leonardo DiCaprio. You find Khao San Road about five minutes walk from Sanam Luang. Here you can find everything that an independent traveler might need. The place is also a good shopping area and if you want to pretend that you have been to India, Nepal, Indonesia or even Ecuador you can find all sort of clothes and jewellery. There you can also buy tickets for traditional Thai boxing events or book a canal tour if you have another day to spend.
Having checked out the National Museum and/or Khao San Road, it is now time to go to one of the most beautiful Asian temples in the world: Wat Phra Kaew. It is the home of the Emerald Buddha and the Royal Palace, another touristic highlight located on the same compound. You can either hire a guide or stroll around yourself on the 940.000 m2 big compound. Do keep in mind that visitors should dress in a respectful manner. Many people had to miss out an outstanding site because they were wearing short trousers, sleeveless shirts and slippers. The palace guards are very strict when it comes down to dress codes (the same applies actually for the expensive hotels in the evening). Do not forget to remove your shoes before entering the inner temple halls.
Are you already a little bit tired? No problem. What you should have then is a traditional Thai massage. Behind the Royal Palace you will find the oldest and largest temple - Wat Pho. Wat Pho does not only host the largest reclining Buddha statue, but it also the most famous center for traditional Thai Medicine. On the eastern part of the compound you will find the Traditional Thai Massage school where you can get a massage for 30 minutes up to 2 hours. You should have an hour at least. By the way, if you want to learn Thai massage, that is easily possible, doesn't' cost much for a 10 day course and you will see quite a large number of foreigners doing it also. Your loved ones will be grateful for the rest of your life!
Now head for the nearest pier at the Chao Phraya river. The pier is a little bit hidden at the eastern side of Wat Pho. From there, you can get to another beautiful temple. Ask for the boat to Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn). The Khmer style temple is actually located on the other side of the river, but small ferries cross the river every few minutes. Probably you have seen this temple on brochures of Thailand.
If you are already too tired you can immediately take an express ferry down the river and jump off at the best town hotel in the world, the Oriental. The express stop has the same name. Go through the main entrance to the garden terrace. Sitting next to the river and enjoying the probably best milk-shakes of Bangkok or, for example, sipping a real Italian cappuccino while watching the river is really great and relaxing. If you come back in the evening it is even nicer and you can pretend to belong to the rich and famous of the world - if you are not part of them already. Be forewarned that they won't let you in if you're wearing shorts.
If you want to move on it is only a short walk to the beginning of Silom Rd. You can walk slowly up the street and check out the shops and stalls, but I suggest it is now time to try out a Tuk Tuk, one of the three-wheeled vehicles. Do not forget to negotiate a price. It should not cost more than 80 Baht to go to Patpong, the old Red Light District of Bangkok at the other end of Silom Road. The famous street (actually there are two and the neighboring Thanon Taniya, which caters for Japanese tourists) is actually located in the middle of restaurants, business offices and department stores. Despite its doubtful reputation it is an area stuffed with good restaurants. At seven o'clock, the night market will be built up and you can buy imitations of designer clothes or watches and many more things. Hordes of foreign tourists are passing by every night. I would rather recommend to come back around 10 o'clock and jump on the newly built Sky train, which has a stop on Silom Road. In a few minutes, you will be at Siam Square and Maa Buu Krong Shopping Centre. This is probably the best place for shopping in Thailand, but if you are more into international expensive brands like Gucci, Boss & Co., you can find these on the other side of the Square in one of the department stores there.
If you have not eaten yet and you want to try one of the food stalls my recommendation is always: Do it as the Thais do it. If you see a lot of Thais having lunch or dinner in one place, then this is most likely a good sign for good food. By the way, there is a saying about Thais, that if they are not actually eating, there are thinking about what they are going to eat next. If you have never eaten Thai food before you should definitely try the famous Tom Yam Kung soup (prawn & lemon grass soup with mushrooms) and Phat Thai (Thin rice noodles fried with Tofu, vegetables, egg, peanuts and very often with shrimps or chicken), but the Thai cuisine has much more to offer. It really deserves to be rated as one of the best in the world.
For Nightlife the possibilities are unlimited. Before you go to one of the numerous discos, pubs or night-clubs, go to Spassos. A very popular hangout place for both Bangkokians and foreign expatriates. The Spassos is an Italian Bar and Restaurant at the ground floor of the Hyatt Erewan close to the World Trade Centre. Do not forget to check out the Erawan shrine next to the hotel. There you can find all different kind of cultures and religions integrated in single place. The hotel is only one Skytrain stop located from Silom Road On Fridays or Saturdays Spassos is packed with people dancing to the disco beats of highly professional bands from the US or Canada. You can also check out the night bar of the disco located in the basement of the Novotel, which is less than a five minutes' taxi drive away from the Hyatt Erawan or go to Siam Square by Skytrain and walk back 250m. The alternative is to find a classical Thai dance and music place. Many restaurants offer them. Check out the Bangkok Post newspaper for more information.
Last but not least, if you are on a weekend in Bangkok do not forget to visit the giant Chatuchak weekend market located in the north of Bangkok. Because it is the final stop of one of the Bangkok Skytrains you can go there without any stress. Typical skytrain cost is about 40 baht. It is the best market in Thailand. Fridays and Saturdays are normally wholesale trading days with Sunday heavily dominated by retail trade. I have known 0.5million people attend over a weekend.
Dear traveler, I hope you enjoyed your stay in Bangkok. There are so many things to see and do, so do not forget to come back.
August 28, 2006 change by giorgio