A few months ago, after leaving my last company, I decided that I needed to finally venture out to South East Asia. It’s been on my list of places to visit for a long time, so I booked a one way ticket to Bangkok, booked my hostel for the night, and decided to explore on my own. It’s by far one the best decisions I’ve made, and had allowed me to venture north to the hidden city, Pai, and east to emerald waters of Halong Bay.
I ended up staying in Bangkok for about 5 days, exploring the local culture, cuisine, and people. Here are my 5 top things to experience in the Kingdom city:
1. Eat Street Food
There are literally thousands of food stands scattered all over the city filled with crispy noodles, egg rolls, pad thai, and more, all for less than $1. Be adventurous and check them out! Bangkok street food comes in many guises. It might be a humble cart on the side of the road, it could be a collection of stalls in a local market or even a traditional shophouse that has tables spilling out onto the pavement. If you are worried about cleanliness our tip is to eat at busy places as the ingredients will be fresh. Often specializing in particular types of dishes, you should be able to work out the type of food a stall is selling by observing the ingredients and the way they’re being prepared. Vendors can be seen busily stir frying in an ancient wok, pounding papaya, grilling meat skewers or boiling noodles. Some speak basic English but it’s not guaranteed.
2. Visit Terminal 21
This mall is setup like an airport terminal. Terminal 21 brings the dream of traveling the world to downtown Bangkok, with its cutting-edge concept that places several world-famous cities under one roof. Find yourself wandering around a maze of shops in Tokyo City, sauntering down London’s Carnaby Street, bagging a bargain in an Istanbul zouk, or shopping for something to fill your growling stomach at the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.
3. Take a Trip to Chatuchak Market
If you like shopping you need to check this place out. If you hate shopping you need to give this place a wide berth. With over 8000 stalls covering 27 acres of space this is one of the largest markets in the world. Open every Saturday and Sunday it attracts nearly 200,000 visitors a day. You will find everything you could ever imagine for sale here and mostly at local prices rather than tourist prices. It is certainly worth picking up a map before you go to avoid you being lost in the market for hours.
You can also check out some of the other markets in the city. Bangkok is never short of good markets to browse.
4. Ride on a Motorcycle Taxi
With the roads of Bangkok being as congested as they are, getting from one place to another can often seem like a daunting task. For most places you can get a sky train but for those that you cannot it is a good option to take a motorcycle taxi, unlike a traditional taxi or a tuk-tuk these guys will take you on the back of their motorcycle to anywhere you want to go.
There is no measuring how far the journey is so once you have paid your fair the driver will want to be there in a rush. Sit back and relax as your driver weaves through the traffic to get you to your location. I would suggest tucking your legs in as you ride though. Some turns can get a little sketchy.
5. Watch a Muay Thai KickBoxing Match
The whole of Thailand is full of kickboxing stadiums but the biggest fights happen in Bangkok, normally at either the Lumpini or Ratchadamnoen stadiums. Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand and it is talked about everywhere. The viewing figures on TV are some of the highest for any show that is aired. An evening spent at the stadium is sure to be action packed as the locals get so immersed in the fights that the atmosphere reaches fever pitch. There is usually somebody walking around taking bets as well if that is of interest to you. We ended up watching one match in Bangkok and another in Chiang Mai. I’d definitely recommend it for anyone visiting the city for the first time.
Bangkok has a lot to offer for those looking to be a bit more adventurous. Don’t be afraid and take the city by the horns. It won’t let you down!
Like what you see? Check out some of my other popular posts in travel:
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- Pai, A Hidden Gem in Northern Thailand
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