9 Must do's while in bangkok

by Female Abroad

Bangkok is a city that has a lot of things to do and sometimes if you are headed there for a short stay or you are just passing through, it is difficult to know where you should focus your time or what you should get up to doing so I am here to help! Here are my 9 must do's while in Bangkok.

  1. Visit Wat Po and the Reclining Buddha
    The entire area of Wat Po is filled with gorgeous statues and well worth a walk around, as you will find different things around every hidden corner. The highlight of the area of course is the Reclining Buddha which is covered in gold leaf and is extremely impressive up close. Before you enter, you grab a bag and take off your shoes then follow the line inside to see the Buddha. The Buddha is 15 metres high and 46 long with a hallway running beside it that you walk down with 108 bowls to your right that you can drop 108 coins into, the coins are available for purchase from monks in the area.

  2. Boat Cruise
    The Chao Phraya River has water taxi's that run along it to get you to places like Wat Po and the Grand Palace but getting on a boat on the "Venice of the East" and just cruising along allows you to see the mixture of life in Bankok from the high rises to shacks, the wealthy to the poor as well as all the people who make a living on the river or its many canals.

  3. Grand Palace
    If you have one of the river taxi day passes then taking a trip to the Grand Palace is a must as this is the official residence of the Royal Family and covers 214,000 sq. metres. This has been where the King of Siam has ruled since 1782 and the government was actually situated until 1925.

  4. Take in the nightlife of Pattaya Street
    Even if you do not want to partake in the nightclubs or bars, walking through the nightlife area's of a city in Asia is something not seen in the West. During the day, this deserted street seems very unassuming but this 500 metre stretch of pedestrian friendly street does a full transformation in the night with loud music and neon lights that will lead you to every type of entertainment one would need over an evening out from restaurants to go-go bars to strip clubs and more. It is quite an experience to just walk through (but keep an eye out for pickpockets).

  5. Walk the Hill at Way Phra Khao Yai (aka Big Buddha Hill)
    Climb a hill covered in steps, up 100 meters above sea level to find not only a prominent statue of Buddha but also panoramic views of Jotien Beach. The Buddha is found near a temple complex so expect to smell incense burning throughout the day as well as bells chiming and chanting monks for a full sensory, spiritual experience.

  6. Shop till you drop!
    Known as a shopaholic's paradise, Bangkok has every type of shopping you could possibly want or need. Some of my favorites are:
    1. Chatuchak Market: this 27 acre, 8,000 stalled, weekend market features everything from clothing to electronics, accessories to food, and everything in between.
    2. Siam Paragon Mall: besides the high end designer stores, show rooms for Ferrari and Lamborghini, this mall also features the largest aquarium & movie theatre in Southeast Asia.
    3. Asiatique is another one and I go further into it below

  7. Take in a Lady Boy Show
    I was always told that the prettiest women in Asia are men and after going to a Lady Boy show, I can certainly see why! Most of these shows are pretty degrading to performers but there are a few high quality productions that will make you feel like you are seeing an Off Broadway lip sync or a Drag Brunch. Tiffany's Cabaret was recommended to me but we went with Calypso Cabaret which is the top show in Bangkok and it has been running for over 30 years. Either option is family friendly as you do not have to worry about surprise raunchiness. For Calypso, you can purchase tickets for a pre-show that features traditional dancing in the bar area or just tickets to the show itself (they do up to three shows a day). Your ticket will include one alcoholic drink that you place an order for when you sit down in the theatre which resembles a large, plush jewellry box. Outside of the theatre is "Asiatique The Riverfront" which is a big mall with a bunch of smaller stalls that are well worth exploring so if you have an evening show, head down earlier and if you have an afternoon show then make sure leave time afterwards to explore.

  8. Eat in Chinatown / Yaowarat Road
    While you could visit Wat Traimit, Sampeng Lane, the China Gate, Yaowarat at Night, Sky View 360 at Grand China Hotel, or Wat Mangkol, I really enjoyed eating dinner in Chinatown. This area of the city becomes a buzz of locals and tourists all hunting out the best places to eat in the area. My favorites:
    1. Nai Ek Roll Noodle: hand made, rolled rice noodles in broth are the go to dish here that we were recommended by a local but we also branched out and got the crispy pork belly. The pork belly was the best that I ever had and both dishes were fantastic. The line up can be quite long so you are expected to order, eat quick, and then get out.
    2. Lek & Rut Seafood: constantly voted as one of the top Seafood restaurants in Bangkok, this typical "grab a stool and sit where ever" type restaurant on the corner started by taking on the overflow from another popular Seafood restaurant across the street - T&K - but this place has become more popular with the locals. No matter what you order, it is all fresh and you cannot go wrong!
    3. Kuay Jab Nai Huan: a favorite of locals, it only serves noodles with crispy pork belly in a spicy broth. One thing I learned while in Bangkok is that if a place only serves one dish, they do it extremely well.
    4. Nai Mong Hoi Thod: known for their crispy or not crispy mussel or oyster omelette. If you are wanting to try some authentic food, then join the locals in line and get the oyster omlette.
    5. Shanghai Mansion Bangkok Boutique Hotel: the hotel is 1930's themed but if you head upstairs to the Red Rose Restaurant, there is a bar with amazing cocktails, comfy couches, and views over Yaowarat Road. I did not eat at the restaurant but it is voted as one of the best on the street.

  9. Visit during New Years festivities
    Songkran is celebrated April 13-15 every year and is very important in Buddhist culture where sprinkling water was believed to wash off bad luck and past sins, starting the new year fresh. However now these festivals are more like a massive water fight with a huge party. If you can, plan your trip during this time to really experience how lively Bangkok can be!

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