For most travellers, Bangkok is where you spend your first few days before heading off to the rest of Thailand or Asia. It’s a city of sin but it’s a must have experience when in Thailand.
Bangkok in my opinion doesn’t welcome you with open arms. It drags you in and you have to drag yourself out. It’s sweaty, smelly and leaves you wide eyed and mouthed. I had to stop in Bangkok twice during my trip, and despite holding some hate for this terrifying city, there are some sites that I loved, and it is still some of the best food I’ve ever eaten.
When you initially get over the humidity and the terror that comes with crossing the road, you realise Bangkok holds some proper gems and experiences that you’ll never find anywhere else.
Within an hour of landing I’d spotted a family of 5 (including baby in arms) rocking around on one moped, a cow chilling at the side of the road and heard more car horns than I ever had in 23 years. Within an hour of landing, Bangkok’s ridiculousness drags you in and any curious cat is eager to explore.
Despite my love hate relationship with Bangkok, there’s some sites I adored and will definitely be re visiting on my next trip, so here’s my basic guide to 3 days in Bangkok.
The Weekend Market (Chatuchak)
I’d 100% say plan your trip so you can visit the legendary weekend market. Easily accessible via the sky train (air con is amazing on that bad boy,) you can wander away a whole day at this massive market (35 acres I read somewhere!) When people say you don’t need many clothes for travelling, they’re right, because if Bangkok is your first stop, you can literally buy anything you could ever dream of. Clothes stalls, knock off converse, delicious food, bags, souvenirs, even bloody pets… the weekend market has it all, and pretty much everything is pennies.
Top tips to survive this mountain of a market:
- Get your haggling head on, or you could easily get ripped off as you learn to navigate the exchange rates. Never pay more than 100 Baht for elephant pants. (I know you think you won’t buy any, but you will you cliche backpacker!)
- Watch your bag. I never had a problem with pickpockets, but have heard some people do so always keep it in front of you and hold onto your strap.
- Keep hydrated. Bangkok’s heat is deadly.
- Try everything food and drink wise. Street stalls sometimes get a bad name for causing Thai belly, but if they’re cooking fresh in front of you, you’ll taste some of the nicest food ever and probably won’t shit your pants on the train home.
- Remember anything you buy, you have to carry. (Or ship home to spare your back)
Location: Take the skytrain (BTS) to Mo Chit station, take exit no. 1 and follow the crowd until you see rows of street vendors. Keep walking and the entrance will be on the right.
Hours: SAT-SUN 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tour the temples
Bangkok has a vast array of beautiful temples, and with a bit of correct planning you can make sure you see them all in their full glory. I’d pick the following (leaving Golden mount for sunset.)
- Wat Traimit
- Wat Benchamabophit
- Wat Kalayanamit
- The Grand Palace
- Wat Saket and the Golden Mount
Top tips for visiting the temples in a day:
- Hire a tuk tuk driver with some of your new travelling pals. Ensure he knows exactly where you want to go and how much you want to pay, and doesn’t make any stops on the way (some drivers receive commission for taking tourists to shops/restaurants.) Myself and 2 other people visited 6 templates in one day for 250 Baht (£5.00) but I met people who managed to haggle 150. If the price isn’t right, walk away and find another driver.
- Make sure you respect the culture and customs. Cover your legs and arms girlies, and make sure you do not face your feet directly to any Buddha statues.
- Visit Golden Mount by sunset for a beautiful view over the whole of Bangkok.
Visit Khao San Road
Prepare to be amazed. The Backpacker capital of the world – the place I spent 90% of my time gawping at the sites. A endless street of shops, stalls, food, massages, bars… a place to hear the renowned ping pong sound (you’ll learn what this means soon enough,) and lady boys roaming the streets. If you want a night out in Bangkok, Khao San will not disappoint. By day you can pick up some great bargains, and eat some incredible food. I always managed to sniff out the cutest dogs too..
Top tips for a night out on Khao San:
- Drink from the cheap vendors (there’s numerous bars offering 3 buckets for 150 Baht) as the clubs are very expensive (around 300 Baht a drink.)
- Keep your bag safe. Pickpockets pray on drunk tourists.
- Be aware when heading off with a tout selling tickets for ping pong & lady boy shows. I’ve heard numerous stories of people being ripped off, or beaten up for not paying what the tout deems enough (often ridiculously higher than the agreed price.)
- Try a scorpion or bug. It’s gross but I’ll judge you if you don’t #YOLO
Chill out with a massage, get a pedicure and explore the Malls
The entire time I was in Asia I became a spa fiend. I couldn’t walk past a massage shop or nail bar without going in and coming out 2 hours later relaxed with pretty nails. Bangkok offers some of the cheapest massages going, and is a well deserved treat after strolling one of the many Malls in this vibrant city. I visited the Platinum mall and MBK as they were close to were I stayed. Both are great for a stroll around, with MBK offering a huge food hall and cinema to catch a movie at. Top if off with your chill out massage and pedicure to cure those achey feet.
Top tips for chilling out in Bangkok:
- If you don’t like a hard massage, tell your lady “very soft.” I had a Thai massage and almost cried. They may look small but those little lady’s have hands of steel.
- Shop around. Prices for massages and other treatments vary. I took 150-200 Baht for an hour’s massage as a good price.
- Try the sushi restaurants in MBK- Out .of.this.world.
- Take a look in the Thai shops in the mall – the fashion always made me giggle.
Despite moaning at certain elements of Bangkok, it is somewhere I am glad I visited, and would even visit again. I hope this little guide helps if you’re a first timer to BKK – although I’m pretty sure nothing can actually prepare you for how mental it truly is.
FYI, I’d recommend staying at Bodega Hostel for a great first experience of Bangkok. Good clean hostel, near a lot of bars and very friendly atmosphere.