To show you around Bangkok I thought I would share with you the three days I spent there and what I got up to. You will know from my previous post that I stayed in Chinatown so head over for a read if you are thinking of where to stay and to know more about the area. I won’t repeat myself but I spent most evenings around Chinatown so, where there are gaps to my story, they will be in Chinatown!
Day One – Terrific Temples
Bangkok is home of some of the most beautiful temples in the world and one day is certainly not enough to see them all. Stupidly I visited Bangkok in the month of the late King’s funeral so the Grand Palace was closed. I was absolutely gutted but I guess it is a good excuse to go back!
Because it was so close to my hotel I visited Wat Traimit first and then jumped in a tuk tuk over to Wat Pho. Also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho is vast and the perfect introduction to viewing temples in Bangkok. Rather than one temple, it is a complex of different temples with the huge reclining buddha amongst other beautifully intricate and ornate buildings.
As beautiful as the whole place is, the reclining buddha was my absolute favourite and I loved the walk around the back of the buddha just as much as you can buy a bowl of coins then drop them into the 108 bronze bowls which line the wall. They make a relaxing clinking sound and the ritual is said to bring good luck, and we can all use a bit of that!
After a good few hours at Wat Pho, I crossed the Chaophraya to visit Wat Arun. I’m told Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of the Dawn, is actually best viewed at night as it is all lit up but I wanted to see it at the same time as Wat Pho. The tall spires are brightly coloured with intricate detailing and you can climb up them to get a great view across the river into the City.
Day Two – SHOP
After a hot and humid day of walking around temples I decided my middle day in Bangkok needed to be a little more chilled out so I hit the shops. When booking my trip to Bangkok I hadn’t even considered that shopping would be a big thing there but oh my god, their malls are amazing! They have floors dedicated to different themes – beauty, high street fashion, etc, and they are so modern. Think the Trafford Centre 5 times bigger and 4-5 times over.
Because of their incredible air conditioning, it is a great way to take a break from the searing humidity and spend some of that hard earned cash. I spent a load of time looking for Korean beauty products but also discovered that they have a Sephora so a lot of my money went in there stocking up on my favourite eyeliners and contour products. The main brands are housed in large store fronts but there are also little hut type shops lining the paths selling cute and random stuff like this tasty milk lolly. I almost couldn’t eat it because it was so cute, almost.
Siam Square One was my favourite for its Korean/Hong Kong inspired shops and its little local trader market running along the outside. I bought lots of pens for bullet journalling with Sanrio toppers and paprika spiked chips tossed in a mild cheese sauce. MBK Center is next door and has a more affordable market theme to it whilst CentralWorld is a bit more popular with the local youth scene for its 4D cinema. Siam Paragon reminded me of a huge Selfridges with its gourmet food floor and top end fashion selection. The different shopping malls make it impossible to visit just one and I racked up a record breaking number of steps on my Fitbit.
Day Three – Jim Thompson House
It rained heavily on my third day in Bangkok, so much so that it was on the international news! I decided to soak in a bit of alternative culture so headed over to Jim Thompson House. It is the former house of silk entrepreneur Jim Thompson who mysteriously vanished in 1967, never to be seen again. The silk business continues to thrive here in Thailand and his house serves as a kind of museum both to Jim Thompson and his successful revival of the Thai silk industry.
Ticket entry includes a short tour and time to enjoy the Koi pond and the restaurant/bar within the grounds. I sheltered here from the rain before heading to Khaosan Road.
I don’t make a habit of photographing McDonalds but I loved the ‘I Heart Khaosan’ sign and the praying Ronald McDonald figure, mainly because I had used it as an example of globalisation in a recent HR exam!
Anyway moving on, Khaosan Road is everything people say it is. Bustling, drunken, slightly sleazy and full of young backpackers out for a good time. It isn’t my idea of fun but I will say that the street food here is among the best I tried in Thailand and the Pad Thai was just delicious. It really is somewhere that has to be experienced and I threw myself into that with Pad Thai and Margaritas.
The next day I was up and away from the hotel to catch a flight over to Krabi for the island hopping part of my Thailand trip. Stay tuned for a post about the 10 days I spent island hopping my way to Phuket, it’ll be up next week.