Bangkok is a pretty crazy place, its hot, humid and very populated (8.2 million people). During my visit to this city, I learnt that this place has many faces: from the glamorous malls and stylish sky bars to street food where you can get a meal for 50 baht (roughly $2.50 kiwi). Here, new and traditional function side by side. Over the last week and a half I have enjoyed exploring this city and getting to know the ins and outs of the place. So, here are the highlights from our trip in no particular order:
Koh Kret Island:
Koh Kret Island is a popular destination for Thai people in the weekends but surprisingly it is not so touristy when it comes to foreign travellers (bonus if you want to get off the tourist train). Located just North of Bangkok, the man-made island is known as the home of the ancient Mon people. It is famous for its Mon style pottery and its weekend market. We were lucky enough to take a tour of the island with Takemetour. It started by getting picked up at our hotel by our local guide Boom. From there, we drove to the ferry where it is a short ride across the river to the Island. We then took a boat tour around the island stopping at a traditional Thai sweet house, a temple famous to the Mon people and a Batik painting place. After our boat tour we explored the weekend market, tried heaps of traditional Thai food, including a Thai lunch, and tried our hand at making some pottery. Our guide Boom was awesome, she was knowledgable about the area, gave us heaps of food to try and was relaxed, friendly and easy to talk to. If you want to escape the city for a day and try some traditional Thai food, I highly recommend taking a tour with Takemetour. Here is a video we made of our trip:
Visiting Octave Sky Bar:
You can’t come to Bangkok and not visit a sky bar. This is definitely the more glitzy side of Bangkok. You won’t find your 100 baht buckets here or a cheap beer but you will get 360 views of the city, which are amazing. It cost us around 350 baht for a cocktail and 230 baht for a beer (ouch) that is about $16 and $10 Nz respectively. We usually pay around 50 baht for a street food meal so while its not crazy expensive in NZ money it does feel like a lot. However, it was definitely worth a visit.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Chatuchak weekend market is well known among locals and tourists. The market is pretty amazing. It has food, clothes, housewares, pet stuff and so much more. The clothes are dirt cheap and fashionable (less of the tourist Thai pants and more normal clothes). You are sure to pick up a bargain here. This market is massive so you might want more than one day to explore it as you probably won’t manage to get through it all in one day. I brought three cool t-shirts here for 70 baht here ($3 NZ!!!). Oh and a super cool passport cover for 60 baht. If I had more room in my bag I would have brought so much more stuff.
Khoasan is where most of the backpackers head. It’s well known as the tourist road and you are likely to hear the tuk tuk drivers telling you they can take you to this road. Even though it is touristy, don’t let that turn you away. It has cheap accomodation, a great night life, touristy market stalls and tasty cheap food. For half of our stay in Bangkok, we stayed out of the touristy area and the other half we stayed a street over from Khoasan. I enjoyed how easy it was to find good street food and chill out. The night life is definitely one of the highlights. If you go out early evening there is a street market and then later in the evening the stalls disappear and are replaced by street bars, loud music and people out to enjoy the evening. It is well known for its cocktail buckets (they range from 100 baht to 300 baht). If you want a slightly cheaper alcohol option you can buy a selection of beer for around 50 baht at the 7/11 and wander the street with your beer. If you want a slightly quieter street to have some drinks wander to the neighbouring street Rambuttri alley where you might find it slightly cheaper depending on your choice of venue.
During our stay we did a lot of wandering around checking out markets and eating lots of food. We visited the flower market, which was pretty cool and used public transport such as ferries and buses to get around. This is an experience in itself. Until next time Bangkok!