For the last two weeks, Mother and I have been in Thailand. For the next two weeks, I’ll be telling you all about it. Most of the posts are still primarily food focused, but I’ve thrown in lots more. You might want a grab a cuppa, this one’s a bitttttt wordy.
Our flight into Bangkok landed at 6am, and we were staying at the LiT Bangkok hotel. The hotel is in a good position right on the main shopping street (basically Oxford street) and is also right on the BTS skytrain (that’s the DLR to us Londoners). Our only complaint with the hotel is that the check in wasn’t until 3pm, which was really inconvenient considering we had just got off an 11 hour flight, and I was roasting to death in the city heat wearing the tracksuit I’d been travelling in.
“Oxford Street” doesn’t open until 10am and we weren’t entitled to breakfast on the day of our arrival. We walked a few minutes up the street our hotel was on and spotted a sign for waffles – sorted. Well, they were edible but the Americans definitely need to come and teach them about waffles.
The remaining days in Bangkok are a bit of a blur now, but I’ve put some general information about travelling in Bangkok below, and there will be some specific posts on spots in Bangkok you should really visit!
Of all the shopping centres on the main road of Central Bangkok, I think we went into most of them and can say that Siam Paragon, the newest and shiniest shopping centre, has the best food court located in the basement. We ended up there on our arrival day out of desperation and actually found something we really enjoyed.
Siam Center has some mid to high end shops including a Sephora and Adidas Originals store!
There are lots of opportunities for food in Bangkok depending on your preferences. We saw a large area of street food stalls prepping for the evening in the day and weren’t happy with the standards at all. TripAdvisor recommends Soi 38 for street food, and various blogs make it out to be a vibrant street for street food stalls when in reality it’s about 10 stalls and again, when you look around the standards aren’t great at all.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. Street food was much better in the north of city at the Chatuchak Weekend Market where, I guess, they have standards to keep to. We also had a fresh and very delicious meal at a local restaurant at the side of the road in Kanchanaburi.
One thing to note about Thailand that was different to any other country I’ve visited is that there isn’t really any differentiation between meals. The typical breakfast, lunch and dinner is curry and rice.
We were staying minutes from the BTS skytrain at National Stadium station, so we were able to get around Bangkok using this. A day pass for unlimited use of the skytrain is ฿140, around £2.70 – bargain. If you feel like you just HAVE to ride a tuk tuk in Bangkok, then feel free but don’t expect to get very far. The traffic is horrendous no matter what time of day. There is also an underground line running the length of the city – you can buy tokens for a single journey for up to ฿52. It’s all very London.
River boats can get you north to south much faster than battling with the traffic. Depending on whether you get the tourist or local route, expect to pay between ฿50 – ฿100 each way. This is also the best way to get to Wat Po (Temple of the Reclining Buddha).
There are many Buddhist temples in Thailand open every day for tourists to visit. I found it really interesting because we don’t really have experiences like this in London. We’ve got a few grand churches I guess, but nothing on the scale and amazing decoration as in Thai temples. If visiting any temples, ensure your shoulders are covered (a t-shirt is fine) and legs covered to below the knee. Wat Po was the only temple I saw offering a cloak you can wear inside, whereas one temple has a sign saying no scarves/shawls to cover the shoulders.
It’s all a bit ‘he said, she said’ when it comes to animal encounters in Thailand. There’s a lot of stigma around experiences with tigers and elephants. We had had an amazing day with very happy, alert and very well fed tigers at Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi, followed by an elephant ride at Muang Sing Elephant Camp.
Places we didn’t make it to…
– Cloud 47: rooftop bar and restaurant with 360-degree views across the city.
– Soul Food: highly rated restaurant on Trip Advisor. They were fully booked for the evenings we were in Bangkok so I suggest you make a booking in advance.– Grand Palace: historical building which was once home to the Royal Family. – Chinatown: we were told by one of our guides that Chinatown has the best hygiene standards when it comes to street food.
Things to read before you travel to Bangkok: