Bangkok marked the beginning and will also mark the end of our trip to Thailand (as we’re flying from here to Siem Reap on February 2), as it does for many travellers.
After visiting the city twice now, Mike is a big fan of Bangkok. He says one of his favourite things about the city is the many ways you can get get around, from tuk-tuks and scooter taxis to boats, busses, normal taxis and the skytrain. I found Bangkok with all the hustle and bustle a bit more stressful. It is not always easy to get around and to communicate with people, and sometimes even getting a taxi somewhere requires 20 minutes, lots of looking at Google maps, and talking to at least six different taxi drivers. However we did figure out later that getting someone to write down the address we wanted to go to in Thai and in the Thai alphabet made it a lot easier.
We both really enjoyed visiting the famous tourist hotspot Khaosan Road at night, trying out some sticks of meat and other street food, and watching the carnage unfold. All backpacker stereotypes can be found here, as well as scorpions on sticks, cocktails by the bucket-load (literally) and any kind of ping pong show your heart may desire.We also really enjoyed a visit to the rooftop bar Cloud 47, which has a great view of Bangkok in all its big-city glory.
Our Bangkok highlights:
The Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun, is one of the most iconic sights in Bangkok, situated along the river. Unfortunately the main part of the temple was covered in scaffolding when we were there, but it still looks amazing. The park next the temple by the riverside is also very nice to visit.
Taling Chang floating market
On our first visit to Bangkok we stayed in an AirBnB a bit outside the town centre, which meant taking a taxi every time we wanted to go somewhere – communicating where we wanted to go was sometimes a bit of a challenge. On the plus side, we lived quite close to a floating market, which turned out to be really cool. There was loads of new and exiting food to try from the stalls and the boats, lots and lots of catfish in the river to feed, and mini turtles to admire. We also went on a little boat trip down the river to a local temple on a longtail boat.
Lumphini park is an incredible park in the centre of Bangkok, and its easy to reach with the skytrain. We spent a whole afternoon here, first relaxing by the lake, watching the turtles and spotting lots of 2 meter long giant lizards called water monitors. A lady shared her bread with us, and we fed the turtles and a massive school of catfish from the bridge, a proper feeding frenzy!
As the afternoon went on, the park filled up with people doing their evening exercise. Young and old were running laps around the park and exercising on the outdoor gym. At least 200 ladies and a few men took part in an aerobics class with 3 instructors in front, everyone was doing their thing and there was a great sense of community. At 6 o’clock the King’s anthem played, and the whole park froze, standing respectfully while it was playing.
Experiencing Lumphini park in the evening was without doubt my favourite experience of our visit to Bangkok. The atmosphere was amazing and the park is an incredible place to experience what daily life can be like for the people who live in this great city.