Updated: Nov 15, 2019
This was the final destination of my spontaneous trip in Summer 2018. This is the place I had heard the most about, so I had high expectations. It was an experience to say the least. Again, I had seen another culture change, varying vastly from the last places I had visited.
Firstly, I would recommend booking a taxi transfer from the airport with a fixed price. The traffic was tiring and would not be appreciated after a long flight. The long taxi ride had taken well over an hour to get in to the city centre. The accommodation varies vastly like any large city with fabulous five-star sky scraper hotels to easy and cheap hostels. The city accommodates most people’s needs in the accommodation sense. Due to Bangkok being the final destination ‘cash’ may have been ‘splashed’ a little and we booked the fabulous Lebua hotel. It was beautiful with fabulous rooms that had large balconies with fantastic views, with a 14-story high swimming pool to ‘top it off’.
When moving around the city our chosen transport was what can only be described as a motorbike with a crazy carriage component on the back, also referred to as a ‘Tuk-Tuk’. Looking back at it now, it probably wasn’t the safest way to travel around the city. When on the Tuk-Tuk, I clearly remember exclaiming that ‘my mother would kill me if she found out I was on this’. It was an experience, really convenient as they were everywhere, and much cheaper than taxis.
When walking around the city they were very patriotic, this led to me looking further into Thai politics and the monarchy. There were shrines on nearly every street of the leader of Thailand. This lead to the recommendation of visiting the palace. Before going I would recommend looking at the opening and closing times as it closes fairly early. Also, you need to be fully covered up not showing knees of shoulders, this applies to men as well. Opposite the palace there was a beautiful flower market and several temples that were beautiful. There were other shrines located around the city. This included the Erawan Shrine, a monument to the Hindu God Brahma.
In Thai culture, on one hand you have the beautiful temples and the other is Patpong. This is nothing I have ever seen before. This is a location of a wild night market bursting with energy and entertainment. Some of the entertainment was not suitable for everyone. Definitely not my ‘cup of tea’, but I was told by my grandparents that ‘I just had to go and see it’. Yes, from my grandparents. For those who don’t know what entertainment I am referring too, I am referring to all the strip clubs and ‘entertainment’ which involve nude women or lady boys that are able to ‘store’ unpleasant things in parts of their bodies. This is enough said. I didn’t enter any of these places but the doors were wide open to all of the clubs and bars, and Thai men asking you if you wanted to see certain activities, didn’t leave that much to the imagination. Throughout the market, the bursting energy of owners and visitors lit up the night. Many people claim that in order to fully experience Thai culture it’s a place you just have to visit to feel the energy of the place.
Another great part of Bangkok was China Town. I wanted to experience a China Town in Asia to see the comparison from the ones in the UK. For one, they are much larger. They are very vibrant and have loads of street food stalls selling lots of food. streets were full of a variety of traditional food sold. It was nice to walk around and take it all in.
If anyone is wanting to take a small break from the bustling city I would definitely recommend Lumphini park, a peaceful park in the city. Just strolling around and sitting on a bench was rather refreshing from walking throughout the smaller, rammed packed streets. When in the park, there was a lot of teenagers buying a yellow soft drink. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and went and bought one. They were not nice at all. Think this must have been a cultural difference as I had seen every young Thai person drinking one of these.
Finally, I visited ASIATIQUE, this was a place recommended by a Tuk-Tuk driver. It was an outdoor centre that consisted of lots of Thai restaurants and entertainment. The entertainment included Thai boxing matches and lady boy’s shows, showcasing traditional Thai culture in an energetic setting. There was also a large Ferris wheel that allowed you to see the view of the city. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to go and watch any of the events or shows and it is probably recommended to book in advance. The choice for food was incredible and gave a great experience of Thai culture and food, there was so many restaurants to choose from offering fantastic Thai food.
Further recommendations would include the river cruises. I did not experience this due to my bad travel sickness but it was largely recommended by most people. Another suggestion is the reclining Buddha. Unfortunately, I had missed seeing this so make sure you check the opening and closing times as it closes early like the Palace to avoid disappointment. Due to the short stay, we did not manage to visit all of Bangkok but of what we had visited it was great.
Bangkok was definitely eye opening. Far different to what I expected with a varying culture. The culture is unique and nothing I had experienced before. Its tourism is definitely booming and it is a great place to visit.