A Guide to Bangkok
The thing I like most about Bangkok is that it's a city that offers something for everyone. Whether you want to relax (think pampering spa treatments!), party, explore, temple-hop, shop, live in luxury, backpack, find yourself, lose yourself, or a combination of it all, Bangkok's got you covered. This city, that truly NEVER sleeps, is one of the most visited in the world; by those just spending a day or two there passing through on their way to Thailand's (in)famous islands, and those who decide to hang out for a few days to really get a feel for the city. I've done both; twice spending just a couple of days there on my way to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, and more recently for a 4-day vacation with The Husband.
It can be very overwhelming planning a stay in Bangkok, as there are literally thousands of accommodation options, restaurants, spas, shops, markets and must-visit sites. Also, the city is humongous (it can easily take up to an hour in a taxi getting from one side of the city to the other), so it's definitely not easy to navigate. That's why I decided to put together a guide for places I highly recommend you to stay at, the cafes and restaurants you should try, what things you absolutely shouldn't miss out on, and other helpful tips for your time in Bangkok. (Also, find a map of the places mentioned at the end of the post!)
Where to Stay
This will totally depend on your budget, because you can literally share a room in a hostel for next-to-nothing. or go luxury all the way at one of the MANY magnificent (and surprisingly affordable) 5-star hotels. And then there are also all the options in-between. The Husband and I stayed at the gorgeous The Cabochon Hotel, which would be my number 1 recommendation for anyone visiting Bangkok. The hotel is in a nice neighborhood, it's quiet, it's absolutely beautiful, it has a rooftop pool, a great restaurant, and the rooms are very spacious. We also stayed at Hotel Muse, which offers an infinity pool overlooking the city, has THE coolest rooftop bar, The Speakeasy, and the interior design is very unique. For a more budget-friendly stay, check out JOSH Hotel.
Where to Eat & Drink
You are absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to eating and drinking in Bangkok. It's absolute heaven on earth for delicious and affordable local cuisine, for amazing cocktails, and more surprisingly, some of the best coffee shops in Asia. You can literally walk into any local restaurant and you'll have a spectacular meal, so don't hesitate to try that shady-looking restaurant around the corner from your hotel (it might just be the best Thai food you've ever had!)
Local Food: I recommend Krua Apsorn, Nahm, Haoma, Supanniga Eating Room and Raan Jay Fai. That said, you can literally walk into any local restaurant and the chance is good you'll have a spectacular meal.
Coffee & Cafes: For you coffee junkies, there are cafes galore! Check out Rocket Coffee Bar, Hands & Heart, Roots at theCOMMONS and Old Town Cafe. You can also go for afternoon tea at Author's Lounge. For my fellow brunch-lovers, you can try Onion, The Oqposite, Emmie's, Gram Cafe & Pancakes and Toby's.
Drinks & Cocktails: Get your drink on at any of Bangkok's trendy rooftop bars; the views are unbeatable, and the vibe is always fun! We loved The Speakeasy at Muse Hotel, and I can also recommend Vertigo & Moon Bar and Sirocco. If you're not one for heights, you can also hang out at Teens of Thailand, The Iron Fairies, Vesper Cocktail Bar, Tropic City and Err. For cheap drinks and loud music, go to Khao San Road.
What to Do & See
Palace & Temples: For architecture and culture lovers, visiting the exquisite Grand Palace is a must. While you are in the area, also go to Wat Pho (where you can view the famous Reclining Buddha), and Wat Arun, which is located just across the river. The Jim Thompson House is also a popular place to go if you want to see a stunning traditional-style Thai home.
Local Markets: What would a visit to Bangkok be without a few hours of exploring the markets; Chatuchak Weekend Market is chaotic and absolutely massive, but worth the trip and madness. Buy anything and everything there! In the evening, take a stroll down Khao San Road where you can shop, party and get cheap massages. You can also take a tour through a floating market, there are plenty to choose from.
Spa & Massages: Talking about massages, I highly recommend a spa day at Organika Secret Spa. We loved our treatments there, and afterwards you can enjoy some light bites and drinks in their gorgeous tea room. Another spa you can check out is Infinity Spa. That said, Bangkok has massage places and spas on every single corner, and you will be overwhelmed by options. Just pop onto Google Maps and check the reviews before going inside.
River Boat Tour: Another way to relax, and explore, is to go on a boat tour on the Chao Phraya River. We recommend the long tail boats, which are able to access the smaller canals which run through some local residential areas. You can access the piers to get on these boats all along the river.
Nature: Visit Bangkok's biggest park, Lumphini Park, to escape the madness of the city.
Shopping: If you're not into bargaining in the markets, don't worry, there are plenty of other shopping options. Bangkok has a huge number of department stores like Central World, Siam Paragon, Siam Center, and MBK Center. I like The EmQuartier, because it has a good mix of high-end stores, more affordable shops, restaurants and even a cinema. You can also go to theCOMMONS, which is a contemporary shopping complex with artful outdoor spaces, artisanal products, restaurants and a market.
How to Get Around
Getting from the airport to the city you have the option of taking the Skytrain (BTS) (which takes about 30 minutes to get into the city) or a taxi (which can be faster, depending on traffic.) Once in the city you can use the MRT (metro), although it's not that convenient as it doesn't cover the entire city. Like I mentioned before, Bangkok is a huge city and unfortunately it's not possible to just walk everywhere. Luckily they have plenty of transportation options. Taxis are plentiful and affordable, just remind the driver to turn on the meter before you start your journey, or decide on the fare before you get in. Uber is also available even though we never felt the need to use it. If you don't want to go too far, taking a Tuk-Tuk is a fun way to see the city, and also very cheap. There are also water taxis that run along the river, but to be honest, I'm not sure how well they are regulated.
A Guide to Bangkok MAP
Whether you are just passing through, or spending a few days there, you're guaranteed to have a great time, eat amazing food and have a memorable experience. If you have any other questions about planning a trip to Bangkok, please get in touch and I'll try to help you out as much as I can. Shoot us an email at email@example.com
Happy travels, friends!