If you’re ever planning to go to Bangkok, prepare for a city that’s huge in size, crazily multicultural, defined by smell and absolutely overwhelming in a positive way. While I’m still basking in the joy of visiting Bangkok and after having spent a total of five days in the city, here are my top 5 must do’s:
1. Street Food
For once, don’t listen to your mom or the overprotective friend when they tell you not to eat food that’s offered at stalls along the streets. Please do not miss out on this experience as it will challenge your tastebuds and exhilarate your palate.
My top tips for street food are both the Rambuttri Road (close to the oh-so-famous Khao San Road) and all of Chinatown, particularly Yaowarat Road. If you’re into sea food, definitely make a stop at T & K Sea Food. Don’t be appalled by the plastic chairs, this is known as one of the best places to go and get seafood in Bangkok. Don’t make the mistake of going there before 6pm though – all you’ll find then will be a corner shop that sells gold jewelry. It only transforms into the famous restaurant during the night.
Having street food is neither fancy nor comfortable but the explosion of those rare and unique tastes is so worth it! The best food I had in the whole four weeks of roaming Southeast Asia was at street food stalls!
2. Shanghai Mansion Hotel
If you’re looking for a place to stay and you don’t have a super low backpackers budget, go and check out the Shanghai Mansion Hotel in Chinatown, located just off the corner from T & K Sea Food. The staff is super welcoming and helpful, the rooms are just gorgeous and the price is definitely okay for what the hotel offers. We paid around 35€ per night for a double room. Breakfast is included and offers you a variety of delicious Thai dishes accompanied by the occasional toast and jam for the Westerners.
3. Rooftop Bar
Yes, it’s a typical tourist thing to do but for once forget your I’m-an-intrepid-explorer mindset and go with the flow. There are gazillions of rooftop bars in Bangkok and it’s pretty hard to choose one. We settled for the Moon Bar on top of the Banyan Tree Hotel in Sukhumvit. It is one of the quieter ones and we had heard you can access the bar in Birkenstocks or Flip Flops which was all we had. And we succeeded! The cocktails are a bit pricey but since you know you somehow pay for the view with your cocktail, I didn’t mind the prices at all.
4. Chatuchak Market
You’re in for a treat, right? Then go check out the Chatuchak Market. But beware, it’s a full day’s program. Let me introduce you to the world’s biggest market. It is literally that big you need a map to find your way around. I am not kidding. Although we felt lost most of the time, I absolutely loved it. You can buy EVERYTHING there. From furniture to sarongs; animals to backpacks; food, matcha tea or coconut ice cream to jewelry. Some stores sell bad quality stuff you can find everywhere in Bangkok but there are tons of stalls that offer unique and hip items that are so worth peeking in.
5. River Vibe Restaurant & Bar
This is one of my all time favourite spots in Bangkok. Our lovely hostess at the Cozy Hostel (we stayed there during our second visit) recommended it to us and it was such a great experience. The River Vibe Restaurant & Bar is located on the 8th floor of the River View Guesthouse. Most people go there for sunset but we went for breakfast and had the whole restaurant to ourselves! The breakfast is good but not overwhelming but the atmosphere makes up for it. You can sit on a lounge-like sofa and enjoy your coffee while having an incredible view of the city and the Chao Phraya river.
This is not necessarily an insider tip, but don’t miss out on going somewhere via tuk tuk. The drivers often try to scam you when it comes to prices, they mostly never know the route and you don’t always feel safe but it is definitely part of the whole Bangkok experience. I’ll be back Bangkok – you crazy lady!