I am in Bangkok right now, which is making me nostalgic. When my parents were living here, I had developed a route, just like I’ve done with Geneva, to take people around. It worked out geographically and it also took into account almost all the modes of transportation available in Bangkok.
2 Days is an absolute minimum in Bangkok if you’re going to do this route. I would suggest doing this one day, and the other day doing a Grand Palace/Half Day Bangkok Temple & City Tour. This is basically a shopping route, it started at what used to be our closest BTS stop, Nana and ended at the Khlong Boat stop, Nana Nua.
Food: if you’re trying to budget, the food courts in all the malls are generally pretty similar in price, and food courts are a lot cheaper than restaurants (with soooo many yummy choices, and a great way of trying out lots of different types of Thai food).
1. BTS to Siam
Central World, Siam Paragon and Siam Center are all really fancy shopping malls. Siam Paragon is a little bit fancier than Siam Center, and Central World is probably in between the two. Center has shops which are catered to the younger generation, Paragon has all the fancy designer shops and a floor full of supercars and all that. Siam Paragon is also where the aquarium – Sea Life Ocean World is.
2. Walk to MBK Center
MBK is a place to go for bargaining. It is like an air conditioned market, that has everything you could possibly ask for. From clothes, underwear, swimming things, to souvenirs, and even electronics. The bargain prices mean that not everything is necessarily “real,” but if you’ve got no problem with that, then this is your place to go.
3. Walk over to BACC
Use the BTS exit from MBK to use the over bridge to go to Bangkok Art & Culture Centre. It is filled with exhibitions from local artists, and boutiques from where you can get an unusual Thailand souvenir. (Closed on Mondays)
4. Walk to Jim Thompson’s House
I wrote a lot about Jim Thompson’s House in my Thailand Summer 2013 post, so I’m not going to repeat myself too much here. Jim Thompson was an American who fell in love with Thailand, rebuilt the Thai silk empire and assembled his own house using old traditional Thai houses. There is a shop, it’s a museum, and they have tours, and a restaurant. You don’t have to buy anything at the shop here, because there’s one at Duty Free in Suvarnabhumi. Jim Thompson’s house is at the canal end of the road, so it can be a long walk, but there is a golf cart that shuttles back and forth from the top of the road.
5. Take a Khlong Boat ride!
6. Platinum & Prathunam
7. Tuk Tuk, Khlong boat, or Motorcycle home!
If you’re trying to check off all of the transports of Bangkok today, take either a Tuk Tuk or a Motorcycle home. Bangkok has a one way traffic system, so just keep that in mind, you might need to circle around a bit before going the way you need to, or cross the road over and take your transport from that side.
8. If you’re near Asok, go to Terminal 21
A different city on each floor, with guards, toilets, types of stores all mimicking the vibe of the city the floor represents. More details in Thailand Summer 2013 post.
9. At night you could go to Khao San Road
10. Or a Sky Bar
11. Or take a relaxing Thai massage
This you can do for a budget in any of the side street thai massage parlours (I’ve been to a few in the Asok area and they are all generally clean and with very friendly masseuse). Or you can go to more institutionalised Healthland, Asia Herb Association (both have multiple locations) or Hapa Spa, which are also great. Healthland is slightly more pricey, and has a more formal atmosphere.
The other day(s):
Grand Palace and Temple & City Tour
Beaches close to Bangkok
Hua-Hin/Cha-am Beach or Pattaya/Jomtien beach.
Hua-Hin and Pattaya are both quite well known now. Cha-am and Jomtien are the neighbouring beaches, respectively, so they are both slightly less crowded and touristified and possibly cheaper to stay at.