Buddhas, temples, fried food smells, bright lights, night markets, cheap clothing, knock off designer wear, and of course the red light district; that’s Bangkok! I decided to start off my trip in the capital city of Thailand! Bangkok is one of the most accessible cities in Thailand with tons of flights going to and from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. Today on the blog I’m giving you a little insight on my 4 days spent in Bangkok; the culture, the food, where I went and how I got here!
Where I went
The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace is a whole complex of buildings in the heart of the capital city of Thailand, Bangkok. It is the must see attraction when traveling to Bangkok! The palace is the home to the Kings of Siam and is made up of numerous buildings, halls, gardens, and courtyards.
“Miss miss your shoulder, your shoulder” which is the first thing I heard when I tried to walk in. I immediately got called out for wearing a tank top! Not going to lie I was dressed pretty skimpy because it was 92 degrees out that day!
Make note that at most of the temples in Thailand you need to be fully covered in clothing, even in the scorching heat. This means no shorts or tank tops! Ladies your shirt has to be covering your shoulders and I recommend wearing pants or a long skirt. For guys you can get away with long khaki shorts (lucky you!) If you didn’t bring a back up outfit don’t worry there are plenty of shops in the area where you can buy clothes (and did I mention they’re super cheap?)
When entering the Grand Palace it looks like something out of a movie! Buddhas, golden walls, colorful accents, flowers and worshiping areas everywhere.
In Thailand you need to be super respectful of the culture which I admired and wish tourist attractions were more like that in America! Everytime I walk into Saint Patricks Cathedral; a Catholic Church in NYC, there are people taking selfies in front of the cross everywhere! Although there were many selfies in the temples being taking (tourists love a good selfie stick), I could see the level of respect. When entering certain parts of the temple you had to walk barefoot, bow your head, and be silent. I loved seeing people being respectful of others religion!
Worshiping ceremony: As I was walking by I couldn’t help but notice these beautiful flowers a man was shaping together. They were a part of a prayer ceremony, and even though I do not practice Buddhism I thought I would be respectful and join in!
You are given 2 lighting sticks, a candle stick and the flower. First you light the two lighting sticks in the fire in order to light the candle. Once the candle is lit you place it in a candle holding container and you blow out the 2 lighting sticks. You say a prayer for good fortune and you place the flower in a casket.
I probably looked super American while doing this so two Thai people around my age came up to me and explained what to do! I could see how appreciative they were of me respecting their culture and attempting to join in! It was overall a cool experience and made me feel aware of the culture!
Getting there: I took a taxi service straight from my hotel to the Grand Palace area, which took about 15 minutes. In the area there are tons of restaurants, cafes and gift shops to check out. This is the main tourist area of Bangkok so expect it to be crowded!
Pro Tip: Beware of the Grand Palace scams! There will be people on the side of the road offering you free tours of the Grand Palace! Do not trust anyone. If you do want a tour book online. There’s also a chance you might be told that the Grand Palace is closed for a special ceremony, but most of the time this is not true! Instead, you’ll be offered the chance to go to a different location at a bargain price, and you will wind up paying some silly fee ( I have heard stories). Overall be very cautious of your surroundings and do not trust random people!
What Arun, aka “the temple of the dawn” is a buddhist temple located in Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River. The temple is known for its glistening views and ornate architecture, but what many people don’t know is that the first light of the morning reflects off the surface of the temple.
Getting to Wat Arun can be an experience! Wat Arun is opposite Wat Pho, so it is very easy to get to. From Sapphan Taksin boat pier you can take a river boat for about $2 to cross the river from The Grand Palace to Wat Arun.
Entry to the temple is 100 baht. The temple is open daily from 08:30 to 17:30.
MBK Shopping Center
If you’re looking for a place to shop look no further then MBK center! They have everything…. and I literally mean everything you could ever want or need in a mall. It’s 8 stories high and each floor is dedicated to a certain department; jewelry,handbags, electronics, clothing, food, accessories and more.
When I was here I was stunned to see a Dunkin Donuts and a Dairy Queen! I had no clue they had those in Thailand. Along with multiple food options there is also a movie theatre and an arcade. The movie theatre was like nothing I have ever seen before. It looked super interesting and futuristic. If the movies were in English I probably would have checked one out!
Shopping tips: Be cautious of fake designers and scams. Bangkok is home of the knock off designers. From fake Adidas, Gucci, Nike and other brands, not everything you’re getting is authentic! There are many handbags stores and when you go in to browse around they ask if you want to go to the back in the showroom! Please do not do this if you’re alone! They will try to allure you in, and in those back showrooms are usually where they house the fake and illegal Changes, Gucci and Louis Vuitton knock off bags. There are safer ways to get a knock off bag, and your safety is not worth it!
Where I stayed
I Sanook Residence
I truly can not say enough good things about I Sanook residence. The price per night was super cheap and my hotel room was amazing. The room contained a king sized bed, waterfall shower, tv, air conditioning, mini fridge, and a beautiful balcony. When I say the cleaning people kept this room clean… it was spotless! The pool was a great feature as well and it was super quiet and not crowded at all! For a small additional cost you can receive a buffet breakfast which was definitely worth the cost for me. Make sure to book the I Sanook residence (there is also a hostel next to it, and not too sure how that one is!) Overall an amazing stay and I would highly recommend to guests wanting to stay cheaply and comfortably!
Where I ate
I was trying to play it very safe when it comes to food in Thailand! I don’t eat meat and I’m lactose and tolerant so my stomach was in for some problems coming here. Luckily I took advantage of the breakfast buffet at my hotel every morning. I stuck with scrambled eggs, toast and home fries. I ventured out to 7 eleven (yes they have them in Thailand!) and bought myself a few snacks to hold me over. This included peanuts, Pringles, Lays potato chips, and some Oreos!
While I was exploring the temples in town I managed to find a fairly Americanized food cafe ” The Home Cafe.” There I stuck with the egg fried rice and had a bottle of water. It was a super clean cafe and they had tons of options including pizzas and pastas.
When I made my way to MBK shopping center there were tons of food options. I thought I hit the jackpot when I found a Dunkin Donuts. There was a Pizza Hut (which I wound up eating at, super American of me), a Burger King, Starbucks, Dairy Queen and other eating options.
Tips: Do not order anything with ice. The water in Thailand is very different from America. Makes sure to only drink bottled water, and to even brush your teeth with bottled water. I know it sounds extreme but even the slightish bit of Thai water can really upset your stomach.
How I got around
Tuk Tuk: A great fast way to get around Thailand…but you have to be smart about these ones! Some Tuk Tuks drivers will try to scam you. When walking along the streets you will get called out by Tuk Tuk drivers asking “where you want to go?”. Trust me they will haunt you because they’re all trying to get service! If it’s raining or extremely hot out I highly recommend just getting a taxi instead. But if you’re smart and have that New York hustle in you, like I do, then you will know your way around bargaining with the Tuk Tuk drivers. Let the Tuk Tun’s know where you want to go and you tell them a price you want to pay them. You can bargain and them you will pay half upfront and half when dropped off. Or just bargain on a price and pay when you get there. I didn’t seem to run into trouble with any of them but I have heard stories from other travelers!
Grab Taxi app: If you’re going to Thailand you must download this free app! It’s amazing and it resembles something like an Uber. You can schedule a pickup and set your destination. The prices do tend to be fairly high but all the drivers are great and I felt extremely safe on every trip. You can add your credit card for payment options (although I had trouble doing this), or you can pay the driver in cash. When setting your destination in the app it will tell you the approximate cost of the trip.
Pro Tip: Be cautious with the money you hand to Tuk Tuk and taxi drivers. If you have the exact amount of cash I highly recommend giving that. Some taxi drivers will try to scam you/ not give you the correct change back so they can pocket the tip for yourself. When you have 1,000 bhat bill always try to get change so you can give people the exact amount!