Traveling Around Bangkok Thailand
Sawasdee Krab! (Sah-wa-dee-kup) *male pronunciation*
We’re back, and we have plenty of amazing stories to share with you all! After spending the last 10 days in Thailand, I can honestly say it was one of my favorite destinations so far!
As many of you probably know from social media, Thailand is a beautiful country filled with amazing history and scenery that really captivates it’s guests. What you may not know is that the people there are equally beautiful and probably the kindest I have ever met. I hope by the time you are done reading this I can inspire you to travel there yourself.
To start booking your trip to Thailand it is a good idea to remember the location of Thailand in relation to your own location. Rain and I are from New England, which meant the most affordable airline route was west through the pacific. Our journey had 3 flights; one from Boston to Chicago, another from Chicago to Tokyo, and the last from Tokyo to Bangkok. For us this was a 24 hour travel time, while crossing the international date line. Meaning it took two days to get there. Literally. It definitely messes with your mind, but you gain that day back when you return.. The flight from Chicago to Tokyo was roughly 13 hours alone. Then the other two flights plus layover times equal roughly 24 hours.
Don’t let that scare you though, it was plenty worth it!
So my first advice is prepare for a long journey if you are departing from a location similar to ours! The next piece of advice also involves the location of Thailand. The location of this country is home to some monsoons and typhoons. Which relates to seasons that are not found in the United States. The yearly seasons for Thailand are typically going to be dry and wet. Half the year has dry (drier) weather, whilst the other holds more frequent rain and storms. A strong recommendation is to travel during the dry season, as most areas in Thailand, including Bangkok, are susceptible to floods. Not only are floods dangerous in general, but rising waters can carry pollutants which can cause disease.
Again, don’t let this scare you, because the country is still amazing. Every country has it’s own quarks so don’t judge until you arrive
Once you’re in Bangkok after landing from an extensive journey of course, you will be landing in one of two international airports. DMK or BKK; Don Mueang International and Savarnabhumi International, respectively, are the two international airports in the city of Bangkok.
The airports are fairly easy to navigate and most of the signs will be in English as well as Thai. If you do get lost or confused, there will be someone there who will be able to speak English. English is common there, however don’t rely on only speaking English and getting around. A language barrier still exists.
We will write another post about getting around with a language barrier
We arrived in Bangkok roughly around 11:00pm and didn’t get to our host family’s house until closer to midnight. The drive was only 10-15 minutes, but we needed to navigate the airport. We were very thankful to have Rain’s cousin arrive at the airport and help us out. Thank you again, we were way too exhausted to think straight! We were very fortunate to have them host us at their home for our trip. They live just on the outside of the city center, which gave us a perfect opportunity to interact more with the locals.
On the first morning we all woke up around noon, and prepared for our first day in the city. We packed up our gear for the day, really just me grabbing our camera essentials, and headed to grab a taxi. Rain’s cousin’s wife, provided a rather extensive pile of things to do and see, how to get around, and where to eat for us before she went to work. Really she made us an awesome travel guide for Bangkok. Using that, our first destination was Chatuchuk Market. The taxi ride was roughly 35 minutes, due to some traffic, but it was nice to be able to look around the city as we were driving through it to gather our bearings.
Chatukchuk Market, one of the biggest markets in Bangkok and filled with a variety of vendors made us really excited to get there. As the taxi got closer, the final road was closed! Our taxi driver explained to us that we just had to walk down the street though thankfully. After a short distance we finally arrived and were filled with complete — confusion. Apparently, the market is only open on the weekend, and Friday doesn’t count… but there was still plenty to do haha. Especially taking photos.
Just around the corner of where the market was, we found an entire separate market filled with fish. Not just the fish you eat, but pet fish. I’ve never seen more pet fish supplies in my entire life. With an addition to beautiful exotic fish we found a new friend. I think i’ll name him Stewart, and he’s a very friendly tortious.
As we walked around the area near Chatuchuk, we found nearby parks that were filled with great photo spots and was wonderful to walk through. Like most cities this park was a decent size too, so we had lots of ground to cover. The park was called Wachirabenchatat Park, which I cannot pronounce at all. Another park that was delightful to walk through was Lumphini Park. This park is special because over the years the wild reptiles of the area invaded it and made it their home. Walking through the park you have a good chance to see many different lizards and turtles. But don’t be disappointed if you don’t find any, reptiles are masters at standing still and have very good camouflage.
The next day in Bangkok we made a trip to the Grand Palace, which housed many of the more iconic temples.
Entrance to the Grand Palace cost 500 Baht a person which is about $15 dollars USD. Once you are in, you have the ability to walk around for as long as you want. There are also bathrooms inside the area for those who have spontaneous bladders. Inside, there are numerous buildings, temples, gardens, pavilions, and statues. The palace yard is an eclectic development from the past centuries from successive kings, and because of that it is an amazing work or architecture and art.
After spending a couple hours around the temples and getting some pretty nice photos, we worked our way back into the center of the city. During our taxi to the temples we passed a massive shopping area. We saw familiar signs like Nike and other notable fashion stores. I’m pretty sure both Rain and her sister’s eyes were glowing brighter and brighter as we got closer to the shops. Siam Central, is what the location was called, and let me tell you it was massive. For those who take a joy in bar crawls with a few friends enjoying the night, I bet you’ve never mall crawled before. This area had so many shopping centers in such a small place it was impossible for us to see even a quarter of what was there.
We crossed the street using a crosswalk bridge that connects the area to the stop for the Sky Train. We figured, like most stores, that the entrance was on the ground. Turns out this building had access points from many levels and locations, that’s how big it is. Now you’re probably thinking, well my mall has like 20 entrances between all the stores and the building itself. That may be true, but is your mall 6 stories? Probably not, and not to mention the entire 6th floor was a complete arcade!
If you are bewildered by that, then you will be astonished by hearing that it wasn’t the only mall. There were many malls and they are all side by side, and many levels! This is what I meant by a mall crawl. Rain and I were looking for a particular place that we visited on an earlier day, and it took about an hour to find it. We managed to walk, practically in a straight line through multiple shopping centers that each were many levels high. So if shopping is something you’re into, like Rain, please fulfill your hobby in Bangkok.
Our next day in Bangkok was spent relaxing and we actually didn’t go into the city at all that day. Our day consisted of sleeping in a little and taking time to enjoy what was near where we were staying. We had just got back from our weekend in Chiang Mia and had another late flight, so we were pretty tired from excessive traveling. One of the single best things in Thailand, from my perspective, are Thai massages. Not only do you have an extensive lift of styles of massages, but the cost for an hours service was next to nothing. It cost rain and I around $25.00 USD together, for each of us to get one hour oil massages! That blew my mind, and yes I got another one before we left. I should have got one everyday. If you’re are ever in the Saphan Sung district of Bangkok I recommend visiting both Joy Massage and Wannamas Massage. The staff is incredible and super friendly. They make sure you are in complete serenity during the entire experience. Ambient music is played, and the lights are dimmed during the massage, and you get fresh tea after too!
Get a Thai massage should be on the absolute top of you to-do list when traveling. If it’s not at the top it should be number two then.
Rain and I’s last day in Bangkok, we went out by ourselves to try and get one last day in the city, whilst the others were taking a day to relax before we left Thailand the next morning. We wanted to get more photos of some temples and see other iconic sights. Our destination was Wat Arun, pronounced “Wa-ht A-rune”, out taxi driver helped us out with some words too, like turtle is “T-ou” as in “tower” without the “er”.
Judging from the last experience we had in the Grand Palace, I was afraid that there would yet again be a massive amount of people crowding around. Which makes it difficult to take photos. To my surprise, there wasn’t a whole lot of people, and additionally the entrance fee was only 50 Baht ($1.50 USD) per person! Walking around we noticed a ton of similar things compared to the Grand Palace, which was lightly expected. The similarities were architectural which was most likely due to the successive rulers of the area. The big differences was the central temple. There was a very large main temple, that had four pillars at each corner of the grounds. On one side there was another temple that was similar to the Emerald Buddha shrine over near the Grand Palace. Luckily for us, not a single person was over there giving us a very unique to take photos without anyone near by with such beautiful scenery.
The city has so much to offer and it feels that each time I try to come to an end in this post I remember so much more to talk about. So for this post I am writing to inform you all about everything that we experienced in a general manner. Other posts will be made that will be more specific and detailed on our adventures.
I hope after reading this it makes you inspired to look more into this beautiful country and one day make a trip there. Rain and I are currently working on Travel Guides that we can provide for you guys to help make your travel planning much easier. We do the heavy lifting and research and you do the choosing.
Khob Khun Krab and Sawasdee Krab!