Bangkok is the heartbeat of SE Asia, the Vegas of the East, and the sex-trafficking capital of the world. Some travelers get lost in the madness while others retreat to the jungles of the north or the beaches in the south! Thailand has something for everyone and Bangkok is no exception!
For Jess and I, Bangkok represented a voice of reason in which life was easier, more efficient, and things just made more sense than they did back in rural China. Although Bangkok embodies the chaos of a fast-paced city it also maintains all the luxuries. From lady boy shows and seedy bars to upstanding restaurants and rooftop bars, Bangkok fully lived up to its reputation! Good food, civilization, diversity, modern conveniences, and a semblance of business sense were things that we had missed for a long time. Bangkok had it all and for awhile … life just became simple.
We stayed at a hostel called Bodega. I usually don’t link to hostels, but this place was just awesome! 3 American brothers started it and they have figured out that fine balance between partying, comfort and professionalism that is rarely seen in hostels. Anyway, it was a fun place to crash and worth checking out if you’re ever in Bangkok.
So… on to what we actually did! There is no shortage of things to keep you busy in Bangkok – a quick google search will leave you with 100 trillion options or so. So… I’m just going to mention the Top 7 Things that Jess and I did and maybe something will catch your attention!
Believe it or not, this is the #1 attraction on Trip Advisor for things to do in Bangkok! Jess and I spent the money (it is a bit pricey, but more than worth it) and got locked in a room for one hour.
The room was full of little clues and props that lead you on a treasure hunt of sorts. The idea is to solve the mystery and escape the room before the time is up. Here’s my Trip Advisor review if you’d like to look into it more… it really was awesome!
Design your own walking tour or find one available through your hostel or hotel. Either way you can’t go wrong! It’s super easy to get around Bangkok with public transportation and there’s something to see everywhere! You can see a handful of cool temples, Khao San Road, Soi Cowboy, take a water bus along the canal, visit downtown, see parks, and anything else you can think of. Walking a city really is the best way to discover it. It forces you to interact with locals, try street food, and discover things you just don’t get from tour guides. Below are some pictures I took along our walking tour (Khao San Road, Sleeping Buddha & a temple).
3. Lumphini Park (And the ferocious beasts that inhabit it!)
Okay, maybe not ferocious … but super awesome dragon looking killer lizards … The Monitor Lizard! Apparently they are completely harmless and they are nothing short of fascinating to watch. Don’t think about it … just find your way to Lumphini Park, rent a paddle boat for almost nothing, and go on a lizard hunt along the shores … you can thank me later for that little gem of wisdom … it is one of my most memorable experiences from Bangkok.
… because there’s a 4D theater in one of them … enough said. It’s everything awesome about a 3D theater except the chairs move, scents come out of the seats in front of you, and puffs of air shoot by you during the movie. Definitely worth checking out … hurry up though! 5D theaters are in the works and I’m not sure if anyone could prepare themselves for a 3D-5D kinda jump!
Anyway, if you’re into shopping then you will definitely want to check out Siam Paragon (4D theater on top floor) and Terminal 21 (designed like an airport). Personally I hate shopping, but there’s enough going on at these mallseven the avid shopper-hater can find something to do.
This place has everything you could ask for in an entertainment district. To be honest though, I wouldn’t plan too far out of your way to see it. They are dumping tons of money into developing this area and it is definitely on the older/safer/touristy/traveler radar. It’s a perfect kind of place to meet up with someone or spend a few hours with family. It’s also a fun place to get an awesome meal (although pricey) while enjoying a lively, unique atmosphere.
6. Public Transportation (It just doesn’t get more exciting than this folks!)
Alright, so number 6 is a bit of a let down … but it made the list for your convenience. Public transportation is awesome in Bangkok and you absolutely, irrefutable, must experience the Water Busses before leaving (see video below).
Just so you don’t fall in the water trying to get on one of the busses the first time; here is a demonstration of some dexterous Thais people getting on and off the canal boats:
It’s an awesome idea … float around in a boat and buy stuff from other boats. I like the idea, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Here are a couple thoughts before you go:
1. There is nothing at the floating market that you couldn’t buy in any other tourist trap.
2. There are multiple floating markets around Bangkok. Some of them are 1-2 hours away and it is not worth the trip. Find a close one because they are all fairly similar.
3. It’s novel and fun for about 30 minutes and then gets kinda boring. Plan for a half day at most.
4. Try buying some local food, drinks, coconuts, fruit, etc… it’s delicious and you won’t feel so ripped off the next day.