3 Days In Bangkok
Bangkok; the bustling hub of Thailand is exactly how you imagine it. Its hectic streets surrounding tranquil temples is really something to be seen. In its history, it has endured bombings in World War 2 and many a 'coups d'état' in its streets. However, it has bounced back to be the vibrant (if not dirty), city, that has something for everyone.
I landed at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport and hopped into a waiting taxi. The system they have put into place at the airport is very efficient and ensures that you do not get into an unlicensed taxi by accident. I did my research before I left Dubai and so knew a vague price for the trip and also about the option of toll roads on the way to the hotel. If you are travelling by taxi the quickest way is via toll roads but you will have to pay these in cash as you travel so be prepared with some change. The other way to travel from the airport to your accommodation is via railway, however, this time I didn't get the opportunity to do so.
The whole journey cost me approximately 250 baht with an extra 70 baht spent in tolls. This equates to around $9 or £8.20 (pretty cheap if you ask me).
In around 40 minutes I had arrived at my hotel, the stunning 5 star JW Marriott Marquis in Sukhumvit Soi 2. A beautifully decorated hotel rising up between massage parlours and street food vendors. The staff who greeted me showed me to my room, a gorgeous 3 room suite with an incredible view of the nearby park. I dropped my bags and head out to explore.
With it being 6 pm, the sun was setting, so I decided to stay in my local area until the following day and explore properly in the light.
I wandered around the park, explored the streets and tried some fruit from a vendor who quite skillfully chops half of a pineapple up in his hand. When in Thailand, getting a massage is a must so I booked for a hand and foot massage before finishing the evening with a glass of wine in a small bar outside the hotel.
My first full day in Bangkok was spent seeing all the main sights.
Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
This was situated in the Palace grounds so make sure you have your walking shoes on. Once through security at the gates, follow the crowds of people walking towards the enormous palace. Here you will have to purchase a ticket to enter and explore however it is definitely worth the 500 baht entrance fee to see the Emerald Buddha and the stunning architecture that surrounds it. A great introduction to the city. If you hang around you will also get to see the changing of the guard at the gates but be aware photography is not allowed so to avoid getting shouted at, leave your camera in your bag.
Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
A short walk from the palace is Wat Pho, home of the Reclining Buddha. I would say this was my favourite temple and quite possibly the most beautiful statue I saw on my trip. The temple is surrounded by smaller statues of Buddha in narrow walkways and often, due to people coming here after the palace, the grounds are quieter so you can walk around peacefully.
After leaving Wat Pho a lovely Tuk Tuk driver picked me up and offered to show me the sights. I showed him all of the places I had marked on my map and he took me around for 50 baht. I found that all of the locals were incredibly friendly and when asked, were happy to point me in the right direction.
The Lucky Buddha
I hadn't researched this temple before I arrived in Bangkok however my Tuk Tuk driver suggested I go here to bring me good luck for my travels. It was small and inconspicuous from the outside but inside the Buddha towered over you and the lack of tourists ensured a calm atmosphere for reflection.
Khao San Road
The backpacker hub of Thailand did not disappoint. Yes, it was dirty and smelly with sellers and touters approaching you from every angle but It was also bustling and vibrant with many a weird and wonderful shop or stall to explore. I was offered strange delicacies and called down quiet side streets to watch street performers. Be on high alert for pickpockets but relax and enjoy the sensory overload, it is something you can't quite match anywhere else.
After a short walk, you can reach the Chao Phraya River where I got on a short boat ride down towards China Town and the Wat Trai Mit. The river ride shows you a different side to Bangkok with homes on stilts and small boats fighting against the waves, it was a great (albeit spontaneous) addition to the itinerary.
Wat Trai Mit (The Temple of the Golden Buddha)
My final stop of the day was Wat Trai Mit, home to the Golden Buddha, which happens to be the world's largest gold seated Buddha measuring nearly five metres in height and weighing five and a half tons. Surrounded by garlands of flowers and mesmerised tourists this was a great way to finish the day.
I hopped back on a Tuk Tuk for the journey to the hotel, seeing parts of Bangkok I hadn't seen yet and watching the sunset change the city to a cacophony of neon lights and car horns.
My third day in Bangkok was a little less hectic but no less exciting.
True Love Cafe
The True Love Cafe is a refreshing change to all of the cat cafes in the world. Run and owned by Huskey lovers, here you can enjoy playing with dogs that have been lovingly reared or rescued. When I arrived I paid the 350 baht admission fee which includes a drink and a slice of cake, sat through a safety demonstration which consisted of rules and regulations on how to behave with the dogs plus the importance of blue booties and thoroughly washed my hands. Then I, and the other visitors entered the garden where we played and stroked the dogs who were beautifully looked after. A tip, if you wait until the end of the hour playtime the carers feed the dogs and you can watch them run the length of the garden. Pop your camera onto slo-mo to capture the experience!
Jim Thomson House Museum
This attraction was another place I hadn't researched before my trip, however, I really enjoyed the tour of this old style Thai home formerly owned by businessman Jim Thomson. His disappearance in 1967 adds mystery to the whole experience and is a must see if you want to learn more about Thai culture and subsequently its architecture.
Next stop was the MBK centre which is a must visit whilst in Bangkok. It is a large Mall situated in Pathum Wan and hosts a whole range of shops and stalls. I meandered the markets, bartered with sellers and bought souvenirs and gifts for family and friends.
When I left the MBK centre is was well and truly dark outside, however, I wanted to go back to Khao San road and experience its nightlife. I hopped in a Tuk Tuk waiting at the side of the road and headed to the infamous street. When I arrived Khao San road had been transformed with twinkling fairy lights that almost made me forget the dirty streets I saw in the daytime. There were 10 times as many people and music blared from the bars lining the streets. I bought Phad Thai and coconut ice cream (in a coconut) and explored the side streets for an hour. I highly recommend visiting Khao San road at both times of the day to experience the change in character but at all times BE SAFE and keep an eye on your valuables!
After a brilliant 3 days in Bangkok I was desperate to see more but unfortunately, my flight home was looming.
"Travel is very subjective. What one person loves, another loathes." - Robin Leach
All opinions in this blog are my own.