A couple of weeks ago, I returned to Bangkok with a friend just days before she was due to fly home. Now I'll happily admit that although I liked Bangkok when I first arrived, it was pretty overwhelming and after three days I was desperate to leave. Looking back, it was a lot to take in and I don't think I made the most of those three days because I just didn't know where to begin! My friend who was travelling with me to Bangkok had actually hated it when she arrived and barely stayed any time at all before booking a flight to Phuket where she met me. So we were both heading back with low expectations, and yet big plans to make sure we both would have the best Bangkok experience possible this time around. We had so many plans of what we wanted to do, see, eat, experience and we were amazed when we actually managed to complete our entire bucket list in just three days! So for those who arrive in Bangkok feeling much like we did the first time, don't worry you're not alone! If you only have the one opportunity to visit this amazing city then make sure you get the most out of it. Check out my Bangkok bucket list for a few ideas on what to pack into a few days:
- Stay somewhere near Khao San Road - my advice, don't stay on it because of the noise, but a couple of streets away is perfect. We stayed at Suneta Hostel this time and it was amazing! Best hostel I've ever stayed in and a perfect distance from all the action. Whether you like Khao San or not is another matter, but when you've just arrived in Thailand, this is the best place to meet fellow backpackers!
Visit as many of the temples as possible, make sure you get to Wat Po, the Grand Palace and the Golden Mount - these buildings are so grand it would be a shame to miss them!
- Take a tuk-tuk ride around the city, if you get lucky you might end up with our awesome tuk-tuk driver who had huge speakers and lights in the back - we ended up blasting out Rihanna and all singing along and rapping at the tops of our voices to the amusement of people on the street.
Fill your boots with street food - everything is so damn cheap in Bangkok, even by Thailand standards. But make sure you don't scrimp on quality - skip the food on Khao San Road where to be honest the service isn't great and the food is only average because they have such a huge turnover. Instead, check out the side streets and eat where the Thais are eating - usually some plastic chairs set up around a random kitchen set up on the street.
Get a massage, or two, or three... And enjoy some beauty treatments! Bangkok's are the cheapest I have found in the whole of Thailand, we ended up getting massages, manicures and pedicures for just a tenner each. Worth every penny and a nice treat for those traveller feet. Plus getting a foot massage at one of the parlours set up in the street and watching the world go by is an experience in itself.
Eat a bug. Sorry guys, but it's just a rite of passage. I never thought I would do it, but then my friends got me drunk and force fed me worms and crickets - actually they didn't taste too bad. Some other friends went the who,whom and had the scorpion but I definitely wasn't brave enough!
- Visit Chinatown! I actually did this on my first visit but it was so awesome that it has to be included! Just walking these streets and eating the amazing food is crazy - you've never really known chaos until you've been to Bangkok's Chinatown!
Go to the Chatuchak Weekend Market for all your shopping! The clothes are amazing, the jewellery is stunning, the home stuff is lush.. I could go on all day! Shopping heaven but only open on a Saturday and Sunday - we actually planned our trip around going to the market after hearing great things! Also, the floating market is definitely worth a visit but make sure you get the right one outside of Bangkok.
For knock-off shopping head to the MBK Mall - this place is amazing! I'm not normally one for this kind of thing but if you want trainers, watches, jewellery, clothes or designer fakes - this is the place for you. Plus if you happen to break your camera or your phone like I did, this is the best place to get them replaced or fixed. Seriously, the fourth floor is packed with hundreds of Thais who can do anything to an iPhone for a fiver and in just 20 minutes.
Okay so I'm not asking for judgement or opinions on this one as I'm not really sure how I feel about it myself just yet. But one thing that is on many peoples' Bangkok bucket list is seeing a ping pong show. I don't really agree with the principles of it and the treatment of these women concerns me, but I don't know enough about it to be sure. Anyway, I ended up in one and it was a hell of an experience, particularly when we got dragged into the male version straight after which was decidedly more graphic. I won't say whether you should or shouldn't do this, but I know that many people come to Thailand with it on their to-do lists so it would be wrong not to include it.
- Get your fortune told. For goodness sake don't pay a fortune for it. I just happened to walk into a man wearing a turban bigger than my head when walking alone one evening and he offered to tell my fortune, I couldn't really turn him down. He actually told me quite a lot before asking for any money, and yes he did ask for money a lot. But it was a fun little thing to do and hopefully some of what he told me will come true. He certainly seemed to know a lot more than I expected - perhaps he's been reading my blog! I only paid him 100 bt, about £2, but I know others who have paid stupid amounts so be careful!
What did you think about Bangkok when you first arrived in Thailand? Haven't been - do you fancy a visit after reading this post? Would you add anything else to the bucket list?