During the planning stage of our trip, we’d heard a lot of mixed reviews about Bangkok.
Many loved the city but likewise many hated it but one thing we found is that the 5 nights we stayed was definitely enough. However, that is by no means to say we hated the city and we’d say it is well worth visiting therefore we’ve put together this brief guide.
Sightseeing in Bangkok
Perhaps in comparison to other capital cities, Bangkok doesn’t quite offer the same level of tourist attractions but there certainly remains plenty to do.
Firstly, no visit to Bangkok can be deemed complete without taking a trip to the Grand Palace. As a former home to the Thai royals you’ll not be surprised to find that the architecture is majestic. Visiting the palace was a truly surreal experience that is oddly peaceful despite the thousands of tourists.
Cost: 500baht (approx. £10)
Time spent: 1-2 hours
How to get there: Tuk tuk, metered taxi or SkyTrain then boat.
We choose the latter:
Skytrain: Silom line to Sathorn Pier (S6)
Boat to Nha Chang Pier – Orange flags are local boats (15 baht) and the blue flags are the tourist boats which are slightly more expensive but will point out sites along the way.
Jim Thompson’s House
Next up is a trip to the former home of an American architect, Jim Thompson, who moved to Thailand after World War 2 and helped to reintroduce the silk industry. Take a guided English tour of his beautiful home for only 150 baht (Approximately £2.50), to discover his many treasures that were garnered from antique markets and Thai palaces. One particular buddha was around 1300 years old! Most mysteriously is that Jim Thompson disappeared in 1967 without a trace…
Cost: 150baht (approx. £2.50)
Time spent: 40 minutes tour
How to get there: SkyTrain: Silom line to National Stadium (W1) and short walk
Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market
Although called a floating market, in fact most of it is on land and you’ll be met by stall upon stall of food, clothes, antiques and more! Although there are still lots of people around it’s a more relaxed environment than the city and you can feast on so much great food.
Between us we spent around 180baht and had plenty of lovely pork and chicken as well as a passionfruit smoothie. Perfect in the hot weather! However, despite the fantastic market the highlight was the long tail boat tour (200baht each) we took through the canals to a temple and orchid farm. It felt like a different world compared to the inner city. It last around an hour and was very peaceful.
Cost: £0 unless you buy food and take the boat tour
Time spent: 3-4 hours
How to get there: Taxi, Tuk Tuk or SkyTrain and taxi
We choose the latter:
SkyTrain: Si Lom line to Bang Wa (S12) 54baht and taxi for 15 minutes 70-80baht
Situated near Sala Daeng (S2) on the Silom line, Lumpini Park is home to 10ft Monitor Lizards and provides a peaceful retreat in the heart of Bangkok. Surrounded by skyscrapers, it is reminiscent to Central Park in New York and a great way to enjoy it is on a pedalo in the large lake. Pedalos can be hired for 40baht for half an hour.
Travelling around the city
In Bangkok, the options for travel are:
Taking a tuk tuk, is an exhilarating way to take in the city! Make sure you negotiate the price before and avoid tuk tuks near tourist attractions as they may take you to unwanted destinations as we found out.
Costs are around 30-35baht for the first kilometres with subsequent kilometres charged at 5baht but this can vary and you can negotiate.
Providing an air-conditioned experience, metered taxis are supposedly similarly priced to tuk tuks. We found it to be a pretty hit and miss comparison though. Just make sure the meter is on when you get in!
Our favourite mode of transport was the SkyTrain, which could get us to most places and was generally inexpensive. TThe most you’ll pay for a single journey is 54baht but day passes are available for somewhere between 100-200 baht. Only drawback is it doesn’t cover the whole city.
How we felt
Generally, we felt safe in Bangkok it just takes a day or two, particularly with jet lag, to get used to the frenetic pace. Overall people were extremely friendly and it a shame that some try to con you as means it’s harder to trust people.
Having now been to Bangkok, we agree that 4-5 nights is about right factoring in our 11 hour flight as it gives you enough time to see everything without being too rushed. Best advice is not get wrapped up by the non-stop feel of the place and just relax into it and you’ll find a fantastic city!