Bangkok’s endless maze of streets is part of its fascination and its complexity, getting around is never easy. Bangkok has so much to offer to its visitor that I am sure one who visits here in-spite of the chaos and cons here definitely pays a second visit.
Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport is about 30 km southeast of the city. It offers many domestic flights and has recently become the terminal for budget airline flights. There’s a free shuttle service connecting the two airports.
The airport is really swanky and modern.
Inexpensive and available around the clock, taxis are the most convenient way to get between downtown and the airport. Don’t forget to have some baht on hand. The public transport system in Bangkok was really good. One of the other good option is the sky train here known as the BTS. Bangkok has three major terminals for buses headed to other parts of the country. The Northern Bus Terminal, called Mo Chit, serves Chiang Mai and points north.
The Airport Link rail system is your best option during rush hour. Costing B150, the express train takes 15 minutes to reach Makkasan Terminal, next to the Phetchaburi MRT subway stop. A local train that takes 23 minutes and costs B65 takes you to the Phaya Thai BTS Station, convenient for those staying on the Skytrain line. The entrance to the system is on the airport’s lower level. The most enjoyable means of transport within Bangkok is the TUK TUK, but beware of the con drivers.
The central train station in Bangkok is Hualamphong, located near Chinatown and accessible by subway. Trains from here leave to all destinations in the country. We had a lovely overnight sleeper first class journey from a station called Surat Thani which was 4 hours drive from Phuket. Just an amazing experience to travel in Thai Railways.
I stayed at the H Residences a decent inexpensive hotel in the heart of the city. Was very convenient and near to the BTS station.
Top reasons I find to visit Bangkok:
THE CANALS: They don’t call it “Venice of the East” for nothing. Sure, boat tours are touristy, but the sights, from Khmer wats to bizarre riverside dwellings, are truly unique. The Chao Phraya river ride is just a memorable one.
STREET FOOD: Bangkok may have the best street food in the world. Don’t be afraid to try the weird stuff—it’s often fresher and better than the food you’d get at a hotel restaurant.
SHOPPING BARGAINS: Forget Hong Kong and Singapore: Bangkok has the same range of high-end designer goods at much lower prices. You will be amazed to see the gigantic size of the shopping malls here, equally competing with those in Dubai.
SKY-HIGH SIPPING: “Bar with a view” is taken to the extreme when you sip martinis in open-air spaces atop lofty towers. Enjoy the views of this dynamic city during sunset. There is so much hustle and bustle in the evening which you can enjoy from the roof top bars here.
TEMPLE-GAZING: From the venerable Wat Pho to the little wats that don’t make it into the guidebooks, Bangkok’s collection of temples is hard to top. High recommendations are Wat Arun, Wat Pho, Emerald Buddha and the Golden Buddha Temple.
NIGHT AND WEEKEND MARKETS: Numereous night and weekend markets are a hit in Bangkok. The best one being the Patpong night market and the Chatuchak weekend market with loads to offer.
The list here is endless but here are the best recommendations for the busy tourist who wants to explore the best of Bangkok in a short time visiting only the best places.
1 Grand Palace.
This is Thailand’s most revered spot and one of its most visited. King Rama I built this walled city in 1782. The views and the surroundings it just amazing here. They have time restrictions visiting here and you can’t get a ticket after 3.30 pm so make sure you are before time. Proper attire (no flip-flops, shorts, or bare shoulders or midriffs) is required, but if you forget, they loan unflattering but more demure shirts and shoes at the entrance. B400, includes admission entrance to Wat Phra Kaew and Vimanmek Teak Mansion. Metro: Skytrain: Hua Lamphong.
2. Wat Arun.
This riverside spot is inspiring at sunrise, it’s even more marvelous toward dusk, when the setting sun throws amber tones over the entire area. From the Chao Phraya river the view for this looks just amazing.
3. Wat Pho.
The city’s largest wat has what is perhaps the most unusual representation of the Buddha in Bangkok. The 150-foot sculpture, covered with gold, is so large it fills an entire viharn. Especially noteworthy are the mammoth statue’s 10-foot feet, with the 108 auspicious signs of the Buddha inlaid in mother-of-pearl. Many people ring the bells surrounding the image for good luck. This is also know as the reclining Buddha with the golden statue in a reclining state. Just an incredible view!
4. Chatuchak Weekend Market.
You can purchase virtually anything at the sprawling Chatuchak Weekend Market, including silk items in a mudmee (tie-dyed before weaving) design that would sell for five times the price in the United States. Strategically placed food vendors mean you don’t have to stop shopping to grab a bite. It’s open on weekends from 9 am to 7 pm, and the city’s (some say the world’s) largest market is best in the morning before it gets too crowded and hot. It’s easy to reach, across the street from the northern terminus of the Skytrain and near the Northern Bus Terminal. Just follow the crowd.
5. Chao Phraya river cruise & TUK TUK ride.
I fact the best and the most cheapest way to roam around Bangkok is to take a ride on the Chao Phraya river cruise. They have stopovers at all the major attractions and shopping places. One can also go for the dinner cruise to see the skyline of Bangkok in the evening.
Shopping has always been an unforgettable experience in Bangkok. Top places for shopping are the MBK mall, Siam paragon an entire shopping district and Siam Square. Do not miss the roof top bars and the special Thai massage parlors.
Bangkok is absolutely a must visit place more than once for sure. It’s a shoppers paradise and of the vibrant places on the planet.