• Spike

Bangkok - Thailand

Updated: May 25, 2020

I've known several people who have travelled to Bangkok, and I've heard people say they love and others say they hate it. If you're not used to bustling South East Asian cities then I guess it could be a bit of a shock to the system, and you also have to keep your wits about you when it comes to tourist scams.

Personally I really enjoyed the two nights I spent here, however I think two nights was enough. I don't think I could stay in Bangkok for a long duration of time, but a couple of days is just right.



Scams

There are quite a few scams directed at tourists in Bangkok, so be careful.

One of the most popular scams will be locals telling you that the Grand Palace or a popular temple is closed. They pretend to be helpful and suggest an alternative temple, or introduce you to a Tuk Tuk driver who will take you to see other sights for a small fee.

The fact is, these attractions are not closed, and it's a scam to get you to pay for a Tuk Tuk, sometimes the Tuk Tuk will take diversions to suit shops as they earn commission. You'll then be persuaded to buy a suit.

Anything else can happen in this situation too. It could be simple as losing most of your day going to places you don't want to see, being conned into paying a lot of money for the Tuk Tuk tour, or even left stranded in the middle of nowhere.

My advice if a local asks where you're heading, just tell them you want to go for a walk in the direction you're going. Don't mention what attraction you're off to see.

There are plenty of helpful locals in Bangkok, but there are many who prey on tourists, so be street smart and keep your wits about you.



Tuk Tuks

Always negotiate a price before getting into a taxi or Tuk Tuk. Hagger for as low a price as possible, but agree on one before getting in, otherwise you could be forced to pay a ridiculous amount of money once at your destination.

Taxis are cheaper than Tuk Tuks, as the Tuk Tuk drivers will always try to overcharge you, but rushing through the streets in a Tuk Tuk in Bangkok is a great experience and something you should try at least once!



Grand Palace

The Grand Palace consists fs several buildings, not just the one. When I was first here I was a little confused as to which building the actual Grand Palace was. There are several temples surrounding is, which in my opinion were more interesting than the central building where the past kings would reside.

Make sure you dress appropriately when visiting. Cover your shoulders, your legs from the knees up and wear easily removable footwear.

This area does get very busy with tourists so try to hit it at off peak times.



Reclining Buddha

Wat Pho - The Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Quite an impressive sight at 46 meters long and covered in gold leaf.

You can buy a bowl of coins at the entrance which can then be placed into 108 small bowls lining the room where the Reclining Buddha lays. It's said to give you good luck whilst helping the monks fund the temple.

It's a short walk from the Grand Palace, so I'd suggest visiting both locations on the same day. The complex here is quite large and there is much more to see than the Reclining Buddha. There are various courtyards and chapels, with impressive structures and many gold statues.

It's also a great location to get an authentic Thai Massage, and said to be the leading school of massage in Thailand.



Wat Arun

The Temple of Dawn. I guess that once you've seen a few temples in Bangkok you get a little tired of them, but I think this is one of the few I would recommend seeing as it's slightly different in colour and style. It's especially beautiful lit up at night.

It's across the river from the Grand Palace and Reclining Buddha, so you can fit this into the same day as the other two locations. It's easy to cross the rive via ferry, which is very cheap.

You can actually climb the temple itself, and you'll get some nice views the higher you get.

I would suggest visiting early though to avoid the crowds and before it gets too hot if you plan to climb the temple.



Khaosan Road

One of the tourist hotspots of Bangkok, Khaosan Road is always brimming with life, especially at night.

You'll find backpackers from all over the world here, and many bars and nightlife spots.

Try the local street food, ranging from pad thai to grilled scorpions (go on, give it a try,they're not that bad).

You meet lots of fellow tourists exploring the city here and see plenty of lady-boys and occasionally Buddhist monks.

The parties in the bars will often flow into the street, so the whole street comes alive with dancing party goers, and everyone seems to welcome everyone. Some people find it a bit too much, but I loved it here!



Soi Cowboy

An area I didn't visit as at the time I felt it would be a little too extreme for my tastes. From what I understand it is a safe area, just maybe a little "in your face" with the things you'll see there. I think if I do return to Bangkok then I will at least walk down this street.

This red light district filled with neon lights and Go Go Bars (like strip bars) and Ping Pong Shows, it could certainly be quite an interesting experience.



Sky Bar

There are several rooftop bars in Bangkok but this bar located on 83rd floor of the Baiyoke Sky Hotel, is one of the most popular. It's quite a distance from where I was staying in Khaosan Road, so I took a Tuk Tuk there for quite a reasonable price, but I haggled hard!

Visit at night to see it all lit up, order a pricey cocktail and admire the views. It's also possible to dine here, but I believe it's quite expensive.



Check out my other guides on Thailand here.


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