I visited Bangkok for my very first time in 2004, just for one night like the song, on my way to Vietnam. That same year, I attended a congress and arrived a couple of days earlier, so I had the opportunity to visit much more of the city of angels and I was entranced. Since then I returned to this favorite city 22 times. Yes twenty two in total.
I decided to wrap in an article all things that make this destination so special to me, a kind of my very special private tribute to thank the city and Thai people all they have given me. And not the typical things you can visit in your first time, I will skip the Royal Palace, Wat Arun and the other typicals that you can find in any article.
Check my hashtag #GraupixBangkok for more inspirations
- Avoid staying in a hotel far from BTS (skytrain), choose one well connected to avoid the crazy Bangkok traffic
- Read here my hotel suggestions for all budgets in Bangkok
- Shopping: if there’s no barcode or set price, start haggling. It’s expected
- Carry a photocopy of your passport
- Try street food, usually all is very safe (not really clean)
- Learn some basic Thai words/sentences, Thai people love this detail
- Smile all the time, you will see everybody smiles back at you
- Jim Thompson House and Jim Thompson Arts Center: The Bangkok home and Asian art collection of the late James H.W. Thompson, also known as the “Thai Silk King”.If you want, you can also shop in the Jim Thompson outlet in soi 93
- Mahanakhon Tower: Experience one of the world’s largest glass trays at the height of 310 meters from the 78th floor. Perfect for adventure seekers, take a photo standing on Bangkok’s glass tray with a bird eye’s view of the beautiful skyline below
- Wat Saket: is an Ayutthaya era shrine with a gleaming gold chedi. Also called the Golden Mount, and it occupies an 80 metre tall man-made hill that was built in the reign of King Rama III. To get to the top, you need to climb up 300 steps, it is totally worth it
- Chatuchak weekend market to shop amidst 8000 vendors, all you can imagine, cheap and funny.
And it's also hot, very hot
And once there, visit as well JJ Mall for more shops as well, right behind Chatuchak
- Explore the khlongs and markets of Bangkok by taking a private long-tail boat Bangkok canal tour; there are many different options, choose your favorite
For my Spanish speaking readers, if you need an agency to organise all these trips, I recommend you Mundo Nómada. Tell them you have read this article
One of the best experiences in town, from cheapest yummy streetfood to expensive but affordable in top restaurants, my choice:
- Le Du with one star Michelin by chef Thitid Tassakajohn. Named after the Thai word "season", the restaurant uses seasonal produce sourced from around the country. With international influences, contemporary presentations and local tastes and flavours, dishes have a creative, modern feel, while the menu is updated regularly to keep diners on their toes.
In this link you can see all my experience in LeDu
- Baan familiy recipes cool restaurant, also by chef Thitid Tassakajohn. The menu at Baan is a clipboard with about 6 pages of classic Thai dishes to choose from, including a range of regional dishes, and some restaurant unique creations as well. At the front of the menu there’s an explanation of where the restaurant sources their meats, produce, and other ingredients, and their overall philosophy of slow food, natural and sustainable and specially just Thai.
- Rongros at the river Chao Phraya with stunning views o Wat Arun, it takes on the oldest traditions in both cuisine and décor. The menu takes you on a journey through Bangkok of all ages, from traditional watermelon with dried fish salad to decadently dark iced mochas. My suggestion: do not mis the pineapple with rice, unforgettable!
- Erawan Tea Room at Grand Hyatt Erawan best Thai food, and try in the evening all you can eat menú.
The restaurant is decorated in a nostalgic 60’s style, with Asian ceramics combined with teakwood furnishings and Cambodian style colonial chairs.
And it sits right above the city’s iconic Erawan Shrine, giving you a super special setting for the afternoon tea.
Buy as a souvenir one of their teapots or plates
Terraces in Bangkok that offer a wide range of fabulous views, my favorites:
- Red Sky on 56th floor of Grand Centara hotel, 360 degrees and fabulous setting
- Spectrum Lounge and Bar, three different levels, three different ambiances: spectacular views of Bangkok skyline at the rooftop bar with a live piano bar and dinner setting that serves a selection of premium Western dishes on level 29 or a vibrant rooftop bar on Level 30 serves classic and creative cocktails, bar snacks and high-energy music by international DJs.
- Rooftop Bar in Sala Rattanakosin very chic open-air rooftop bar and lounge with stunning views of the Chao Phraya River, temple of the dawn (Wat Arun) and Wat Pho
- Any massage places around: to me having the mere option of getting a massage on every block is awesome, and especially in a very cheap price (for western pockets), between 5-10 euros you have a seat-lounge they call spa, enough to enjoy a massage and relief muscle tensions.
Nothing fancy, nothing chic, nothing really top clean. But enough to help to relax.
My advise: a foot massage every evening before heading back to the hotel to sleep!
- Best spas- the real ones- have a reasonable price in Bangkok. My favorites, out of hotels are Divana Thailand, any of its branches. You’ll love the décor, the ponds with fishes, the oils, the treatment protocols, do not miss it.
My favorite Divana Nurture but all the Divana spas are truly amazing.
The latest opening of Divana is Divana Scentuara (opened November 1st!), check online for some promotions
- Nap Sleep Salon, the last trend in top relaxation: one hour scalf and head massage and salon. All in one. Perfect and for 700TBH (around 21€)
Go to Nap Sleep Salon Ekamai or to Nap Sleep Salon Elite
Do not miss a massage, very cheap in the temple Wat Pho, in the famous massage school.