I went to Bangkok three times within a three month period: one of which consisted of me frantically running around trying to meet my Mapquest article deadlines and two of which found me staying put a few days to actually explore. In addition to adoring Bangkok's many temples and people watching, here are five experiences I really enjoyed while visiting Thailand's capital: the city of smug, shopping, and major traffic jams.
Oh wait, I guess that could be L.A. too.
A Touring Dinner Cruise on a Rice Barge
Take a journey along the Chao Phraya River of Kings on the only original rice barge in Bangkok (75 years old!). With door to door pickup service, staff members in traditional clothing, performances, and a taste of authentic Thai food, you will fall in love with the city and its flavor almost immediately.
We chose to cruise with Loy Nava as the sun set (there is another candlelight evening option) and were provided with a souvenir booklet guide: pointing out the landmarks we encountered and their historical significance. If you don't have much time to see the city sights, pairing it with dinner like this would be a smart option.
Check out some photos of the ride and the delicious food we ate. We chose from three menu types: traditional, vegetarian, and seafood Thai menus. I chose traditional, and Alex, seafood.
The meals are served traditionally: all at once, as opposed to by courses, so we dined Thai-style with a table full of dishes. There were also two women providing entertainment while we danced, featuring traditional movement and guise.
The Loy Nava cruise is the only non-corporate run dinner cruise on the river and as been in operation for over 40 years. Learn more about the cruise here >>
Enjoy an Evening of Dancing
If you are in your twenties, or a creeper looking to hang out with people in their twenties, then Khao San Road is a place you just can't skip. While the wild partying, pushy "ladyboys", and sketchy tuk-tuk drivers are hit or miss, some people just can't leave Bangkok without a taste of crazy.
Other party options to explore? Soi Cowboy (Sukhumvit) and Ratchadapisek (RCA) are other popular party 'hoods that you might want to try out. In the Bangkok party scene there truly is something for everyone.
Try a Bangkok Street Food Tour at Night
I just love Bangkok at night. The lights, chaos, and liveliness just MAKE SENSE. Think Times Square at night vs. daytime. Such a stark contrast.
If you want to get to know Bangkok's street food I highly, highly, highly recommend booking a street food tour. There is SO MUCH to explore around the city and when you first touch down you will find yourself quite overwhelmed.
I chose to explore with Taste of Thailand food tours because they offered an array of adventures - including a night tour! To begin their evening Village of Love food tour, we met at the Saphan Taksin BTS station.
It is right next to the river ferry dock as well so there are many ways to get to this easy meeting point. Our super hilarious, english-speaking guide (named Joker) immediately met the six of us and encouraged us to get friendly and ready for gastronomic pleasure!
Here are some photos of the experience. To learn more visit Taste of Thailand's website >>
Be prepared to be overwhelmingly full but also quite comfortable with venturing out on your own to try more Thai food (beyond Pad Thai --- although, I must admit it is still my favorite).
Have A Perfect Night's Sleep in Modern Comfort
We stayed in a few places in Bangkok: a hostel in chinatown, a suspect "quality" hotel, and then Bangkok Venice Suites. I thought I would never find comfort, service, and proximity in the same place ever again until I found this! In Thailand it seems like I was often sacrificing one for the other.
Anyway, the amazing part of the suites was that it was right down the street from the HUGE shopping and wholesale markets, a short walk from the Chidlom BTS station and Siam Square, was right along the super pretty canal and lovely painted stairs (you remember that Instagram photo I posted?), and had the best water pressure and bed I've experienced in Bangkok. ::Swoon::
This luxury boutique hotel runs special nightly rates for as low at $47 a night. Which is not that far from the cost of a hostel if you are a traveling couple. Here's more information about the rooms, if you are interested, and some photos. There's a cafe, business center, and ultra chic lobby.
Super Massage at Baan Sabi
The perfect end to any adventure, head to one of Thailand's top spas in Bangkok: Baan Sabi.
Take advantage of their seven-day late hours, let them put slippers on your feet and serve you soothing tea, and choose which natural oil you'd like to be pampered with in this ultimate luxurious experience. Beyond completely falling in love with what I consider to be the nicest staff members and spa owner in Bangkok, the service is really exquisite.
A big hit with the locals, Baan Sabi massage experts use the finest natural products for an array of treatment options, including deep tissue, oil, and traditional Thai massages.
In close proximity to the BTS and near the Emporium and K-village on Sukhumvit soi 26, Baan Sabi takes professionalism to the next level with high end facilities, jacuzzis and showers, luxury foot baths, and well trained massage experts who understand the body beyond muscle tension.
Check out their spa packages and pricing here and pencil in a visit before you leave Bangkok.
Think You're Ready to Go? Enjoy Bangkok!
Leave your Bangkok questions below, share with your friends, and let me know how excited you are to try some of these experiences out.