How to Extend Your Stay in Bangkok, Thailand
Traveling to Thailand with U30X and planning to arrive early? Cruising through SE Asia with a layover in Bangkok? Here’s an insider look into the Big Mango’s gems.
Let’s leave out the most common Bangkok highlights: The Grand Palace, the reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, and Chatuchak Weekend Market. Here we’re looking to get away from the crowds, though we do recommend a trip to either Amphawa or Damnoen Saduak Floating Markets if you are up for a bit of a drive.
Choose your style of accommodation:
Bangkok has just about every option available. You can Airbnb local neighborhood condos on the cheap, stay in rooftop penthouses, or get a dorm room for under $5. If you need a good night’s sleep go opt a private room. Aspira Hiptique Sukhumvit 13 is a great mid-range budget option with a nice pool to relax. But if you’re looking to meet other travelers check into a hostel, Once Again Hostel is a favorite of mine that hosts community events and tours for their guests.
One important thing to consider when finding your accommodation in Bangkok is that you have access to one of the many modes of public transportation. So look for a accommodations along the MRT, BTS, and even the Khlong Boats.
Lesser known temples means less crowds:
In the morning hours before the heat of the day moves in head over to Wat Ratchanadda, Loha Prasat. This is also known as the Metal Castle for its 37 black metal spires symbolizing the 37 virtues that are required to reach enlightenment. The ground level consists of tiny meditation cells where Monks and common people practice their mediation. You can then take the spiral staircase up to a shrine that contains the relics of the Buddha.
In the evening find your way over to Wat Saket, The Golden Mount. Climb the 300-plus steps and circle the main chedi. On your way to the top, enjoy the mist being sprayed and the ringing of bells that hang from the rooftops of the building. The atmosphere is quite serene and you’ll be rewarded with a view of Oldtown Bangkok when you reach the top. If you time it right you will even get to watch the sunset over the Chao Phraya River.
Indulge in Thai cuisine (and we mean more than just pad thai!):
You haven’t really experienced Bangkok until you're sitting at a roadside food stall wondering if the sweat you're dripping in is from the humidity or from the chilli pepper.
You can easily wander the streets hopping in and out of eateries trying all sorts of food, or you can go with trusted locals who offer food tours at all times of the day. Taste of Thailand and Withlocals are two knowledgeable operators who can guide you through food heaven.
Where to find some of the city’s best street food? Here are some of our favorites:
- Nang Loeng; this is a top lunch spot for workers in this neighborhood so do expect crowds of people ready to devour the full lunch court options.
- Chinatown; a walk down Yaowarat Road and the paralleling Charoen Krung Road will offer up endless varieties of Thailand's best dishes.
- Rangnam; we’ll add this in here because not only does it have delicious food vendors but it’s conveniently located at the Victory Monument BTS station.
Nightlife wouldn’t be nightlife without music:
Let’s just say the nightlife in Bangkok has unlimited options: night markets, dance til you drop discos, speakeasy jazz bars, and swanky rooftop bars. Here are a few places to go to hear some good music:
There’s a trendy little neighborhood popping up near Chinatown along Soi Nana that’s worth checking out. The mixture of cafes, art galleries and tiny low key bars are a favorite among the hipster crowd. Head over to The Grounds of Wallflowers for a bit of jazz and a smooth cocktail. If gin is your thing then be sure to slip into Teens of Thailand to test a few of their specialties.
I’m a lover of blues music and routinely make a stop into these two venues to take in the sounds of B.B. King and Muddy Waters. Adhere the 13th, located on Samsen Road, has foreign and locals jamming together each night. Get there early is you want to have a seat as there are only a few tables on the inside, though you can easily take in the sounds while sitting on a stool outside on the sidewalk. Apoteka Sukhumvit Soi 11 is a unique Gastropub with live music. Blues is most common but there are also Indie and acoustic sessions as well.
I haven’t been to many rooftops bars but the one I visited most recently was well worth it. On the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel is Vertigo and Moon Bar, offering an unforgettable 360-degree view. Of course drinks are quite pricey and yes, they have a dress code, but if you don’t meet the standards they have rentals on site (for little cost to no cost). Just make sure you look respectful…..so leave the tank top and board shorts for the beach.
Well, there you have it, our insider’s guide to Bangkok. Much like all the other big cities in this world, Bangkok has way too much to offer to list everything in a blog, but the gems listed above we’ll keep you busy for 2-3 days. Interested in exploring more of Thailand? Check out out Thailand trip!