How have I not written about Bangkok!!!!!???? Well I think I was actually holding on to this one as Bangkok is dear to my heart but heck, it needs to come out 🙂
Can I just say I <3 BKK? This summer both my parents and a colleague from work traveled to this bustling city and I was reminded of all my adventures there. Back in 2010 I lived in Bangkok for a half year while I was studying at Chulalongkorn university. I learned so much while I was there. I learned so much about Asia in business, life, culture, food and really I learned so much about myself!
I want to give you my top five things to do, eat and see while in the smiley city of Bangkok!
1. Temples and the Grand Palace
There are a million and one temples to visit in Thailand not to mention just in Bangkok. My strategy to not get overwhelmed was to choose a few very well known ones and then also make time for small ones that you don’t even know the names of. This way you are able to experience the authentic Thai way of life while also seeing some famous sites! My definite choice for the famous temple in Bangkok is Wat Pho, it is also right next to the Grand Palace which is wonderful! Two amazing sites in one tuk tuk stop.
The royal family is a very important to Thai people. They are respected and loved. I think this is yet another reason to visit such a place. While the King does not live at the Grand Palace anymore, special events and ceremonies are still held here.
1. Wat Pho is also famously known as the temple of the reclining Buddha. It is one of the oldest temples and actually was the birthplace of traditional Thai Massage, which is still practiced there. The Buddha is 150 feet long! Wat Pho was also an educational centre and still houses a school of Thai medicine.
2. Chatuchak Market ( AKA JJ or Weekend Market)
Really you might get lost in this market! With thousands of stalls and anything from tshirts to puppies it a definitely unique experience. The weekend is the only time that all the stalls are open, so you need to plan to be in Bangkok over a weekend in order to experience this hectic bazaar.
3. Eat street food!
Do not be afraid. I repeat; do not be afraid of street food. I found in Asia and especially Bangkok it was actually cheaper for me to buy street food than to purchase groceries and cook my own. Of course this was also the easier and more delicious option as well! Like anyone I love a good pad thai or green curry. It is so much better when the flavors are authentic! Thai food just doesn’t taste the same anymore in Canada. Street food should never scare you, only excite you! Be careful it might get a little spicy!
4. Manage your way through MBK and check out Chula!
I am a little biased in this section as I lived by MBK mall and I studied at Chulalogkorn University. Really though, MBK is a maze of vendors, it is like an outdoor market ( I guess like JJ market) however, it is stacked, so eight floors of madness. There is the tech floor ( every tourist’s favorite) where you can buy really any type of cell phone. This mall has over 2000 shops, I think this is definitely a place where you can shop until you drop…. then go grab some pad thai from the “food level”. This is obviously an old picture 🙂
Funny enough, MBK leases land from Chula. Which is a great seguway! I attended Chulalongkorn for half year. It was a highlight! The campus is gorgeous ( great for Photo-ops), the uniform quite nice! This is the oldest university in Thailand, it opened in 1917. The uniform was given to the University by the Royal Family and actually Chulalongkorn is named after the King ( King Rama V). The Royal Family even hands out the diplomas at graduation.
5. Explore the outskirts of BKK
These are some of the MANY MANY MANY things to do while in Bangkok. I think you could be in this city for months and still stumble upon unfound markets and hideaways, or simply get lost trying to find them. Speaking of which, i know in particular a friend of mine while on exchange never actually found a spectacular launder that I went to ( this place was an amazing price and they washed, folded and ever delivered my clothes if I asked). He ended up hand washing his clothes in his sink for a half year……:P
Outside and very close to the city there are beautiful temples, elephant sanctuaries and nature walks. You can also cap off the tour of BKK with a boat ride to see it all from the water.
Needless to say, wandering the city part of the fun!