Bangkok is wild, vivid and plain roaring relentlessness: here’s a nifty list of incredible must-do items in this iconic South-Asian capital city.
The chaos is inescapable and embraces you almost immediately upon landing in the Thai capital. In sharp contrast to the nasty infamous reputation Thailand holds, the country is far from a mere heap of prostitution, twenty-something party-goers, and middle-aged men in crisis.
If you’re in Bangkok, here are five must-do attractions. Cliché as some may be, you can’t miss these.
THE GRAND PALACE
As the pyramids are to Egypt, and the Taj Mahal to India, the Grand Palace is to Thailand. This majestic complex of buildings oozes gaudiness and glitzy architecture, and is ten times worth the 500 Baht entrance fee. The palace opens at 8:30 daily and is usually swarming with tourists.
Note: Dress appropriately and cover your shoulders. This is a sign of respect, and this rule should be followed when visiting other Thai landmarks and temples too. You won’t be allowed entry otherwise. You can visit the official site here.
WAT ARUN: TEMPLE OF DAWN
Conveniently situated, this beautiful temple is directly opposite The Grand Palace, so you can stop at there and at this worldly all-white temple along the Chao Phraya River on the same day. One day, two amazing architectural and cultural delights. You can take a boat across from The Grand Palace as most visitors do, and they’re super cheap too.
A FLOATING MARKET
Yes! A floating market. Float down a river, with vendors lined up on the sides while their boats lull gently on the waters, or who cruise by you in boats. Hiring a boat to get this trendy Thai experience is a bit pricey and totally a tourist magnet. Rip-off, really, but still, an absolute must. Once you get over your annoyance at shelling out a few thousand Baht, drifting down the river is serene and it’s fun witnessing the market vendors trying to hustle, rope you in and sell you their wares.
Try to avoid buying souvenirs here though. They’re more expensive than the markets in the city. If you must buy something, don’t forget to bargain. There is a handful of major floating markets, and you’ll have to choose one that suits you best. Damnoen Saduak Market is one of the most popular ones and a choice contender.
TAKE A COOKING CLASS
Food is such an important, intertwined part of travel and such a necessary cultural excursion. Thailand knows this, and feeds off the fact that its cuisine is amazing. For this reason, there are dozens of cooking classes on offer in Bangkok, and they lend an enlightening insight into the ingredients and methods responsible for creating crazily delicious foods. You can find classes simply via a Google search.
Sompong Thai Cooking School simple and interactive classes, with delicious food at the end to be sampled. The class includes a trip to the market with explanations on Thai ingredients, recipe book, all ingredients and, of course, the end result dishes. They’re relatively decently priced, and effortlessly offers alternate vegan or vegetarian ingredients for the meals.
WANDER THE STREETS AND MARKETS
You can spend hours — several days in fact — weaving your way through the crazy streets and interesting markets, soaking up the electric Thai atmosphere and brilliant Bangkok spirit. There are so many markets, but hey, it’s South-East Asia so that’s expected. You can find anything you’re looking for at a tenth of what you’d pay back home, just don’t forget to bargain for cheaper prices.