Travel Made Easy: Bangkok – Things to See & Do

Ok, so after reading about Bangkok, the City of Angels, finding a way of Getting There and Around and settling on Where to Stay? you want to know more about things to see and do or places to eat? Than read on, that’s what Travel Made Easy is all about!

Many visitors skip over Bangkok on their way to the beautiful beaches, but there are a lot of things worth your time when visiting the city: Thailand has a very proud history and Bangkok is at the heart of it. There are a number of historical and cultural sights, like the Grand Palace and Wat Po or Wat Arun. You can easily access them via a Chao Phraya River Tour. There are a number of museums as well, depending on your interests you might consider

  • GrandPalaceHallsMediumMuseum of Contemporary Art
  • National Museum
  • Jim Thompson House
  • Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles
  • Bangkok Art & Cultural Center

If shopping is on your mind, you will not run out of options for a very long visit. Very typical for South East Asia are the open door markets that sell everything from food and daily necessities to house wares, clothing, shoes to live plants and animals. Chatuchak weekend market is the largest one, near BTS Mo Chit or MRT Chatuchak station. It also has its fair share of fakes, from T-shirts and jeans to bags and watches. A slightly more modern version, focused on tourists is Asiatique on the river – reachable by boat from BTS Saphan Taksin. There are plenty of souvenirs and clothing on sale and many food stalls and restaurants.

terminal21If you are looking for more traditional malls, you can reach many of them by skytrain and on foot, starting with MBK (uniquely Thai) at BTS National Stadium, connecting via skybridge to Discovery Mall and Siam Center (stylish, young mall, local brands); on to Paragon (luxury from Prada to Ferrari, great food court); all the way via skybridge to Central World (huge mall, all the Western brands, lots of food choices and rooftop bar at Centara Grand Hotel). One of my favorite malls that combines the feel of a market with a modern mall, offering many uniquely Thai products is Terminal 21 at Asoke BTS! Most BTS stations along Sukhumvit are connected to malls or have access to some type of shopping, so keep exploring and shopping.

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 11.01.05 AMAfter all the sightseeing and shopping, you deserve a good massage for your well being! In Bangkok you are never far from a massage: Every neighborhood will have a few basic massage shops that over traditional Thai or foot massages, starting for as little as $8/h. The foot massages are typically done in chairs in a common room, the traditional body massages in large rooms on mattresses on the floor, with curtains separating the customers. You will receive a cotton outfit to wear during the massage, and a foot bath prior to your massage, but that’s pretty much it. A Traditional Thai massage involves a lot of pressing and stretching, like reverse Yoga, with lots of focus on your legs! Any hotel will be able to point you to a massage shop in their neighborhood. Healthland is a chain of slightly more upscale spas that also offer many other wellness treatments, still at reasonable prices. A relatively new entry to the wellness scene is the Japanese Onsen and spa – giving you a chance to soak in -gender separated – hot baths, before getting your massage treatment. It’s surprisingly relaxing and a great way to unwind in busy Bangkok! If you are looking for a nicer environment, more privacy and luxury, most upscale hotels have their own spa in house, usually many times more expensive than the basic massage shops, and are open to outside guests! Any spa I’ve been to allows you to choose male or female therapists, so you can pick whoever you are most comfortable with! Tips are very welcome, but usually just a token of appreciation and not a percentage of the bill. They are given after the massage and paying at the counter, never in the room and always at your discretion. If you are asked before hand or there is a “minimum” tip, you might be in for more than massage therapy!

Eat & Drink

BangkokStreetFoodThais love to eat multiple small snacks a day, so food is never far away. From food stalls along the street to luxury restaurants the choices are endless. You should have at least one meal that is prepared street side and consumed sitting on little plastic stools! The food is usually delicious, the company will be great and the people watching fun, not even talking about it being a bargain. I’ve never gotten sick – just find a busy place with lots of people and turn over, chances are the food is fresh and good and you’ll be fine! I’d also recommend to try some of the many snacks offered – my favorite is the cut fruit offered in little plastic bags anywhere you go. It’s refreshing, light and healthy to boot. You can often watch the vendors cut it right in front of you, so you know it’s fresh!

Another must-do is watching a sunset over the city at one of the growing number of rooftop bars. As busy and gritty as Bangkok might appear at street level during the day, it is beautiful at night from above, with lights glittering as far as the eye can see in any direction. My favorite spots are the Vertigo on top of the Banyan Tree hotel in the Sathorn area and the Red Sky Bar on top of the Grand Centara hotel along Sukhumvit. Both also offer food, but the quality is not that great for the price you are paying, so I’d stick with drinks to enjoy the view and head elsewhere for food…

I hope this overview and the more detailed reviews having given you enough reason to not just hurry through the city on your way to the beach, but stay and enjoy the hustle & bustle of one of the most lively and friendly cities on the planet! Have fun in the City of Angels!

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