Travel Diary: Bangkok, Thailand
Sawadeeka! For all of you non-Thai speaking folks, that’s “hello” in English. Bangkok, we’ve seen it depicted as a buzzing, culture-filled city (with dangerous, thrilling events thanks to The Hangover 2) but for those who have yet to travel to this amazing metropolis, it can also be the ultimate vacation destination for you and the girls! Here’s why:
How to Travel:
- Tuk-tuk - These are the window-less taxis that are infamous in Thailand. They are quite commercialised and can be rather expensive. So if you’re going for the experience rather than the destination, then try them out!
- Taxi – There are taxis, and then there are motorcycle taxis. Licensed motorcycles are allowed to take passengers for short distances. If you don’t feel safe, hop into a regular cab. They are metered and usually don’t cost a lot of money. If you’re lucky, you may just get to try out a pink taxi! Yes, Thailand has very colorful modes of transportation.
- Train – The train is safe and very reliable. Grab a map and see where the closest stations are located. They stop at most main attractions including Siam Paragon and Chatuchak Market (read below for more details on these destinations).
What to Do:
- Massages – There isn’t anywhere else in the world where you can get a cheaper massage than in Bangkok! This city is truly a massage haven with different kinds available for certain body areas. I personally love the Healthland with its calming atmosphere and absolute privacy. I recommend going for the two hour Thai body and foot massage, which costs approximately $15 (450 baht). Once ushered inside a room, the masseuse will start massaging your entire body by pressing pressure points without any oil. After it’s over, sit and relax while you enjoy a cup of tea. Just remember to make an appointment – this place books up quickly!
- View the Art – The Thais are a religious bunch. Their temples are so creatively constructed that they appear to look like art. Visit a few, and pay close attention to how locals treat their God each time they walk past a Buddha statue.
- Train Market and Floating Market – People from all over the world flock to these markets for a special reason. Take a boat and cruise down the Floating Market where Thais sell all sorts of treats on their boats from fresh vegetables to snacks. Then, make your way to the Train Market where vendors set up little carts on actual train tracks. The locomotive passes through the route eight times a day, so make sure to wait for it to come and watch as the vendors move their carts out of the way.
What to Eat:
- Fresh Coconuts – Coconuts are abundant in Thailand, so don’t miss out on drinking one of nature’s healthiest beverages. Treat yourself to some fresh coconut ice cream with toppings of your choice (corn, jelly, nuts).
- Tom Yam – Tom yam is a spicy, fragrant seafood soup made famous by the Thais. It essentially consists of a hot paste, lemongrass, and dried chillies. You can get the soup anywhere, but be warned: this dish is not for the faint-hearted!
- Pork Noodles – Don’t opt for the safe option and order pad thai when you’re in Thailand. Locals love their pork noodles, and so did I after first trying them! They are hand-pulled and topped with chunks of pork and liver. You can have them either in a broth or dry – both of which taste equally delicious. Don’t forget to add homemade chilli to the noodles for some extra heat.
- Drinks – Make your way to the filming location of The Hangover 2 at Sirroco at Lebua Hotel. This rooftop bar and restaurant has an incredible view with etches of Thailand to take in as you sip on their special “Hangovertini.” There’s a strict dress code so be sure to impress, ladies!
- Platinum Mall – Fancy going to a mall where you can haggle for prices? That’s Platinum Mall for you. This shopping center has rows and rows of little boutiques selling clothes, accessories, shoes and bags. You can usually barter for a discount if buying two or more items in one particular shop or, ask for the “wholesale” price. Don’t be surprised to see people carrying huge carts filled with clothes – they are usually vendors who buy these items (which are made in either Thailand or China) for resale. Because of the cheap pricing, the product isn’t the best quality, but still, it’s value for money and everyone who visits Thailand usually can’t get enough of Platinum Mall. Sizes run small (XS-M) and shoppers are not allowed to try on items before purchasing.
- Siam Paragon – Siam Paragon is one of Thailand’s largest and most luxurious malls. They hold an impressive range of designers including Chanel, Balenciaga and Diane von Furstenberg. There are also huge department stores located in the mall for those who prefer a wider selection.
- Chatuchak Market – Chatuchak Market is a must-visit in Thailand. It is similar to Platinum Mall, except there’s a real market feel here. There are literally stalls outside on a main plot (you’ll be shopping in the scorching sun!) and the market sells anything you can think of from clothes, shoes, bags and accessories to artwork and food.
- K Village – K Village is a Japanese-themed mall in Bangkok. During weekends, they have stalls set up inside which typically feature local Thai designers. They usually have a lot of interesting things to look at other than fashion such as artsy notebooks for sale, French CDs, scrapbook-making materials and other fun trinkets.
What to Wear
- Loose Fitting Clothing – Thailand can be very, very hot (from 89F – 99F) so it’s best to wear light, airy dresses or tops and shorts to feel comfortable throughout the day.
- Closed Flats – Roads can be very dirty and dusty from construction, so if you’re going to be walking a lot, I suggest wearing closed-toe shoes to keep those feet clean.
- Sunscreen – The sun never stops shining in Bangkok, so sunscreen is of utmost importance. Don’t forget to apply it before heading out – you won’t regret it!
So ladies, if you are searching for a different place to visit, consider exploring Bangkok, one of the leading cities in Asia packed with culture, fun and adventure!