Known for: Excellent variety of food Beautiful ancient temples Shopping capital of Thailand Famous party street Khao San Road Home of the Monitor Lizard Knock-off stores
Colour, action, beauty, trendy, passion and vibrancy are the words I would use to describe the city of Bangkok. Wander down the waterfront comforted by the blanket of warm air, smell the delicious fried noodles and marvel at the beauty of the temples juxtaposed with the modern high-rise buildings.
WHAT TO DO
1. Take a walk along the waterfront. Everything is more beautiful at golden hour / dusk, it’s a known fact. Make your way down the narrow alleyways, watch the elderly men and women setting up their little stalls, skippers mooring their boats, cruises floating down the canal adorned with pretty fairy lights and a dull echo of laughter and celebration.
2. Learn the art of traditional Thai Massage at The Sukosol Hotel. If travelling with a companion, take the lesson in a duo so while one person is the model (a great role if you ask me), the other will be instructed by the massage therapist, then you switch. I found it really valuable to learn because now D & I can give each other massages at home, you just have to keep it quiet that you know the skill or all your friends will be knocking at your door.
3. Relax by the pool during the heat of the day. It may sound like a cop-out for an adventure travel blogger to say “chill” but it’s so important, otherwise you totally burn out. I make sure I pace myself, and I have realised the importance of taking a day off to enjoy the place you’re staying, especially in 30º heat.
4. Visit Wat Pho Buddhist Temple. Home to the famous ‘leaning buddha’, Wat Pho is situated along the waterfront, close to all the action of the city. The beautiful, gilted gold filigree designs are just stunning and give you a true sense of traditional Thai religious architecture. Entry is 100 baht which is roughly $10, and the temple is also the home to many stray kittens and even the odd monitor lizard!
The best time to visit is during the early evening before closing as it is generally a bit quieter and perfect for picturesque photos at golden hour.
Travel tip: Stop to admire the stunning architecture and detailing
5. Party the night away on Kao San Road. Okay I’ll admit, I’m not the typical bucket mixer drinker (I’d much rather a rum in a quirky old-school underground jazz bar) but I do love a good dance, and everything always seems more lively at night. Kao San is everything you’d imagine from Bangkok city – loud music, bright lights, hecklers, scorpions on sticks, knock-off Calvin Klein underwear and faux Gucci bags. Go there and embrace it.
6. Walk down Soi Cowboy strip. Strip in this case has a double meaning as it is essentially the dressed up ‘red light district’ of Bangkok. Pak Pong is historically the classic, but Cowboy has the country element which makes it even more fascinating. If you’re afraid of seeing a bit of skin then this isn’t the place for you, but after travelling for years, my eyes have been exposed to a lot, and I actually find the grungier parts of town quite intriguing. I wouldn’t recommend taking too many photos out of respect for the performers.
7. Catch the flower night market. We were lucky enough to stumble upon it one evening after dinner (around 11pm), and the market was just being set up. Row upon row of streets, little shops sell bright yellow marigold bouquets, locals ride around on bicycles running deliveries and both young and old are busy weaving offering baskets.
8. Play with the local animals. If you’ve been following me for a while now, you’ll know that I make a conscious effort to seek out the cutest local animals and hang out with them for a while. Bangkok has plenty of little fury friends to hang out with, you just have to go out exploring.
Travel tip: Monitor Lizards like to hang out in Bangkok so keep your eyes peeled. We saw one by Wat Pho temple.
WHERE TO STAY
Enter the lobby to the beaming smiles of hotel staff, gracious greetings and a relaxed atmosphere. The Sukosol staff give an outstanding Thai welcome which was genuine and continued throughout our stay. As I have said in the past, the staff can really make an experience special, and this was one of the kindest welcomes yet.
My birthday happened to fall on a day we were staying and after countless swims in the refreshing pool, hours of playing cards and reading under the trees, I returned to our room to find a delicious moist chocolate cake topped with strawberries and candles! I felt so chuffed that the staff would go out of their way to make my day even more special, it was truly magical. A special thank you to The Sukosol team and my lovely bf David.
The rooms and decor are really elegant and comfortable, and the pool area was so nice that we spent an entire day enjoying it. If you can say that about your hotel, you know it’s good!
WHERE TO EAT
Mango Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurant: After exploring Khao San Road for a while, we were very hungry and happened upon this exquisite veggie place. After um-ing and ahh-ing over whether or not it would be tasty or another odd vegan place, we went in and sat on the floor and were instantly greeted by a super lovely young high school aged girl and two kittens. We spent a good 20 mins playing with the cats and chatting to Bam before even opening the menu. We ordered the crispy goyza curry with black rice and a veg burger. We also got a mango & passionfruit smoothie which was super slushy and delicious and on our last day we treated ourselves to the molten chocolate lava cake (vegan) with coconut ice-cream.
Inn A Day restaurant: Located right on the waterfront, we found X restaurant through Trip Advisor, and as anticipated, it lived up to the rave reviews. I would highly recommend the vegetarian spring rolls, in fact we decided that they were the best we had ever eaten, ever. The sweet & sour vegetables with rice was tasty too. Such a quaint and trendy little restaurant attached to a backpackers so go there for cool vibes, cold beer and the bomb food.
The Sukosol’s breakfast buffet: Look no further than the best hotel in town. From freshly made croissants, omelettes and waffles, the food is fresh and there is plenty to choose from.
There’s also a lovely bar to enjoy a cool drink in the evening.
WHAT TO WEAR
Visiting on the cusp of peak season, you’ll still experience highs of 30º, which means you’ll be in swimming togs most of the time if that’s your thing. Otherwise lightweight cotton dresses work a treat, and my favourite city sandal, the Birkenstock. Judge away, but when you can walk for hours on end sight seeing you’ll be thanking me for the expert tip.
This was the cool city view from our room in The Sukosol. Bangkok is such a fun city and whether you’re a city slicker or not, there is so much to see and do, I would recommend checking it out and then hopping on a sleeper train up to Chiang Mai.