[alpine-phototile-for-instagram user=”backyard_travel” src=”user_tag” tag=”48hoursinbangkok1″ imgl=”fancybox” dl=”1″ dltext=”Backyard Travel Instagram” style=”gallery” row=”4″ grwidth=”432″ grheight=”300″ num=”8″ size=”Th” align=”center” max=”100″ nocredit=”1″]
No-one can give you better advice about a place than someone who lives there. As we have offices all around Asia, we thought we’d ask our Travel Specialists to provide us with some easy-to-follow ‘48-hour itineraries’ of their cities packed full of local experiences. Essentially, we asked them for their personal ideas for a perfect way to spend their days off, so if you’re heading to Thailand and have a weekend in Bangkok, why not try out some of Khun A’s suggestions!
Morning: Hop on the BTS to Saphan Taksin BTS station and take a boat from Sathorn Pier. Disembark at Tha Tien and visit the unmissable Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaeo) to see the most sacred temple of the Kingdom of Thailand. Temple etiquette means you have to dress appropriately, but if you forgot to do so then you can borrow clothes at the entrance to the Palace. OK, I agree it’s not such an insider-experience as everyone knows about it – but it is still a must see attraction and is a place that all Thai people hold dearly in their hearts!
Lunch: Once you’ve filled your camera with pictures of the temple and Emerald Buddha, take a short walk to Tha Prachan to explore the local cuisine at Tha Prachan market. As I mentioned recently in the blog about Bangkok’s markets, I suggest you try the Muslim-Thai dessert Roti Mataba as well as beef noodles at Mit Pochana while you’re here.
Afternoon: If you’re in a ‘quest-for-knowledge’ mood, why not visit Museum Siam to see some interesting facts and some of the history of Thailand. The museum is housed in the former Ministry of Commerce building which itself is worth seeing for its beautiful colonial architecture. If you feel more like relaxing, why not head to the famous Kao San Road and talk a walk around and soak up the alternative atmosphere then get a foot massage at one of the shops on the street. From your position of relaxation you can watch the unusual clientele of Kao San drift by.
Dinner: Jump in a taxi (or tuk tuk if you feel adventurous) and ask them to take you to the Khin Lom Chom Saphan restaurant to savor the picturesque view of Rama VIII bridge and the Chao Phraya river by night. Make sure try the appetizer called Krathong Thong, and also try the Thai favorite Tom Yam Kung (spicy shrimp soup), Black Pepper Crab, and (if you’ve got room!) Grilled Sea Bass.
Evening: If you don’t spend too long munching away on the delicious food on the river bank, pay a visit to the Bangkok’s China Town, (known locally as Yarowat) to see the vibrant street market at night. You can also visit Chalerm Krung Royal Theatre to see a traditional Thai performance called Khon, a masked dance performance telling the story of Ramayana. Alternatively, if you fancy a few drinks, jump into a taxi and ask the driver to take you to Pra Aathit Rd where you can find a few Thai-style bar/restaurants. My favorite is called ‘Comme’, it’s a vintage-style bar with old knickknacks and décor and a live band and is a nice mix of Thai customers and people escaping the nearby Kao San Rd.
[alpine-phototile-for-instagram user=”backyard_travel” src=”user_tag” tag=”48hoursinbangkok2″ imgl=”fancybox” dl=”1″ dltext=”Backyard Travel Instagram” style=”gallery” row=”4″ grwidth=”432″ grheight=”300″ num=”8″ size=”Th” align=”center” max=”100″ nocredit=”1″]
Early morning: Start at Lumphini Park (You can access the park from Lumphini MRT station or Sala Daeng BTS station) to enjoy Bangkok’s fresh morning breeze and see the crowds partaking in group aerobics exercise and tai-chi sessions, or simply jogging as they enjoy the slightly cooler temperatures. When you get peckish, take breakfast at Samyan market, which is about a ten minute walk away from Lumphini Park (or take the MRT from Silom MRT station to Sam Yan MRT), and can be found opposite Chamchuri Square. I recommend you try Kao Moo Dang (BBQ pork with rice) here – it’s one of the underrated Thai dishes that you shouldn’t miss!
Morning: This morning you can pay a visit to Taling Chan Floating market, one of the lesser-known and non-touristy floating markets which is located not too far from the inner city. To get there you can simply try hopping in a taxi, but if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can also catch the number 79 bus from Democracy Monument, or head to the Chao Phraya around the Saphan Taksin Bridge again and negotiate a private boat trip to Taling Chan Market.
This is one of the last traditional floating markets in Bangkok and has remained largely unaltered by tourism. Here you can watch a traditional band play their old-school instruments, feed the sea of thrashing catfish that congregate near the wooden stilted pier and, most importantly, grab some delicious food.
Lunch: I recommend you take lunch here – the miniature stooled restaurants might not be the most comfortable you’ve ever sat at, but I guarantee the food will be amongst the most delicious you’ve tried! Take a seat at your table and vendors will come to you to see what you’d like to order. Don’t be afraid to order from more than one vendor too – each has their own specialty. The somtam here is especially good…but can be spicy! Remember the words “mai pet” if you’d like it mild!
Afternoon: After lunch, if you’re feeling in the mood for a bit of activity, hop in a cab again and ask the driver to take you to Suan Rot Fai – a park just to the north of the famous Chatujack Market where everyone hires bikes and rides around. The park is packed full of (mainly Thai) families and is a good cultural immersion. Not many Thai people ride bikes around the city as it is quite dangerous, so the park is one of the only safe places to learn and practice safely. Although it may be warm, the breeze as you ride is fresh and the air slightly cleaner, and the smiles of the riding families will fuel your progress. You can rent a bike here for the whole day for around one US dollar, and there are also plenty of snacks and drinks available if you fancy a reward after exercising!
If you’re not feeling as active, simply head to Chatujack Market itself and wander the boutiques searching for bargains.
Dinner: For dinner you can try Suan Kanwela restaurant – although it’s a very popular place at weekends, so try to get there early! The restaurant is beautifully set in a wooden house by Khlong Bang Sue – to get here you can take the MRT from Chatujack Market, or again, hop in a taxi. The specialties here are deep-fried fish with garlic, steamed fish and yam platoo mamuang sod – but everything on the menu is delightful!
Night: After you’ve stuffed yourself with delicious food once again, make the short trip to Talat Rot Fai (train market) – not to be confused with Suan Rot Fai (train park). Just like Tha Prachan I talked about above, I also mentioned this bazaar in another blog I did recently about markets, but have to talk about it again because I really do love it so much! Talat Rot Fai is an up-and-coming open-air bazaar that’s packed with retro characters selling vintage items and antiques and also has plenty of bars and restaurants to chill out at. In my opinion, it’s the best way to spend a Sunday night in the Big Mango!
So there are just some of my own personal ideas for a perfect weekend in Bangkok! If you’d like to ask me more about my city, feel free to get in touch with me, or any of my colleagues dotted around Asia – we’re always happy and proud to share information about where we live!