Stories

Bangkok in Three Days

by Joan Therese Medalla - 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm not a fan of short trips. My backpacker (or probably just lazy!) self urges me to stay in one place for at least a week before I move to my next destination. Often, I stay longer. It allows me to settle down and get the feel of the place without stressing myself while trying to fit too much in one travel day. More than the photos of tourist destinations or Facebook updates, travelling, for me, is about immersing yourself in culture and gaining real knowledge of a place. But let's be frank -- who has all the time? Not all of us can afford to take a gap year (although I think everyone should try this at least once, whether you're still fresh from college or already in mid-career :p). The reality is that most of us, have limited breaks and budget. Luckily, there are still a lot of cities that can be enjoyed in a few days. Thailand's capital, Bangkok is one of these places. For the last leg of my Mekong travels, I decided to take a break from the 'harder countries' and went on to tourist-friendly Bangkok. Day 1: Wat Hopping A visit to Bangkok won't be complete without a short tour of its many wats (temples). There are many of them scattered around Bangkok, but tourists flock to the more famous ones: Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), and Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha). The Grand Palace, one of the most popular destinations in Bangkok, houses the Wat Phra Kaew. It used to be the seat of the Thai King, and is indeed filled with awe-inspiring and intricate architechture. A pass inside the palace would cost you 500 baht (around P700 or $15). Going around the three famous wats in Bangkok is a breeze with the river taxis. From the Grand Palace, you can walk to Wat Pho, and from there, you can take a river taxi to Wat Arun. It sure is a lot of walking, but achievable in one day! If you're visiting the temples, be sure to wear pants or long skirts, and avoid sleeveless dresses. The temples usually have a dress code, and you're not allowed to enter if you're scantily dressed. To be on the safe side, you can bring a scarf that you can easily wrap around your shoulders! Bangkok is also infamous for its numerous scams, so be extra careful! Don't believe anyone who tells you that the temples are closed for an event or for lunch break. Some tuktuk drivers would approach unsuspecting tourists saying that the temples are closed and will open in a few hours. In the meantime, they would invite you to some places, and the scam starts! I almost fell for this. Luckily, some Filipino travellers dragged me away from the tuktuk driver! Salamat, kababayans! The temples don't close for lunch breaks, and you can easily check beforehand if there is any event going on. After a long day, treat yourself at Khao San Road What better way to end a long and tiring day than with a glass of beer? If you're up for a nice party, head on toKhao San Road, Bangkok's backpacker ghetto. It's not famous among backpackers for no reason. Here you can find the cheapest accommodation, food, and booze. I personally didn't stay here because I wanted some "me time." That time, I just want to take it slow, maybe pamper myself a little by staying in pricier hostels or eating more expensive food. Forgive me! But like most tourist destinations, Khao San Road is a haven for pickpockets and scammers. Don't have too much fun that you forget to be wary ;) Day 2: Floating Market, Khlongs, or a Trip Outside Bangkok Aside from its numerous temples, the so-called Venice of the East also takes pride from its picturesque riverside view. Take a khlong tour for a 'gondola-like' ride along the Chao Phraya River, and experience going through the famous canals of Bangkok. Or maybe you'd like to see what the floating market fuzz is all about. Many of those trips can be booked at hostels or at Khao San Road. If you're a temple lover like me, you might want to try the Ayutthaya day trip that departs from Bangkok. You can arrange the trip on your own, or scourge for cheap tours. Get a 360 degree view of Bangkok at The Dome If you still have time and energy, a visit to one of Bangkok's sky bars is recommended. Bangkok is a bustling city, and the view from the top is just picturesque. With some girls I met at the hostel, I went to the Sky Bar at Lebua State Tower. Familar? But yes, of course! It's where they filmed the Hangover II! As giddy as I was in finally seeing it up close, I ordered aHangovertini to cap off the night. The special drink was concoted especially for the film, and I'm not going to miss that chance. The lovely 360 view of Bangkok, however, comes with a price. Be prepared to spend at least $20 (P900) for one drink. Come in your party clothes as shorts, slippers and gym clothes aren't allowed. Day 3: Indulge in Bangkok's Shopping Haven Years ago before I even fell in love with travelling, I've always heard Bangkok in RTW stores. No it's not the kind of RTW that is on every traveller's wishlist, but Ready to Wear. Most RTW stores sell clothes and accessories from Bangkok. No wonder they do have a lot of shopping malls! You can choose from a plethora of shopping malls and markets around Bangkok -- Mahboonkrong Mall (MBK), Siam Paragon, Pratunam, Khao San Road, among others. If you're an avid shopper, a day wouldn't even be enough for shopping! I personally just went at Pratunam to look for cheap and stylish clothes. Most of the clothes are priced 3/4 or even half of what they would cost in the Philippines! Depending on how much you buy and how well you haggle, of course! A great introduction to Southeast Asia After visiting Bangkok for a few days, I've realized why this city has always been a popular starting point in Southeast Asia. It has something to offer to every kind of traveller, whether you're a modern professional or cultural gal, budget traveller or high end tourist. This city has a lot to offer. What are your recommended things to do in Bangkok? Leave a comment below! :) And while you're at it, don't forget to try Bangkok's street food or a traditional Thai massage! :)

Story originally published here: http://wanderingsoles.jimdo.com/2014/01/27/bangkok-in-three-days



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