Having the right Bangkok checklist is essential to narrowing down the things to do in this beautiful city filled with skyscrapers and delicious food. I am astounded to find that so many people did not enjoy their time in Bangkok. I felt that it was an amazing city with so much to offer, and I am convinced that these people simply did not do the right research to know how to make their visit in Bangkok an exciting one. In making my itinerary of what I wanted to accomplish in this city, I put together a Bangkok checklist of the best things to do to get the most bang out of your visit in this wild city of Bangkok.
1. Take a GrabBike or an UberMOTOR and weave in and out of traffic, if you dare.
Much like the Philippines, traffic is horrendous in Thailand, and can waste much of your precious time in this country. Simply hail a motorcycle with the app on your phone. The motorcyclist will provide you with a helmet, and off you go, surpassing all traffic! Note that this was not an adventure I managed to take, since every time I tried to hail a motorcycle with these apps, the rain came down harder. If you manage to add this one to your Bangkok checklist, I applaud you!
2. Eat Pad Thai or Pad See-ew, naturally.
I saw more food stalls selling pad thai than pad see-ew. The latter was not served everywhere, but they were all delicious. There were also cooking classes to learn how to cook Thai dishes, but I didn’t find any that taught Pad See-ew unfortunately. Pad Thai is noodles with crushed peanuts, and pad see-ew has a sweet soy sauce flavor, which I love.
3. Make your way to the Chatuchak weekend market (Saturdays and Sundays)
Being a huge fan of shopping, this was such a delightful find. There are thousands of stalls throughout, hundreds tucked in every alley, which can seem almost like a labyrinth. The variety of goods you can find here is limitless. You can grab a snack here, and a freshly squeezed pomegranate juice as you shop. I managed to walk away with a couple dresses, several bathing suits, handmade bracelets, handmade roses that lit up, and a pomegranate juice in hand. Test out your bargaining skills as well to see how you fare.
4. Get a freshly squeezed mango or pomegranate juice. They're both amazing and refreshing.
I adored these fruit squeezing stalls. They are the best treat in the hot and humid weather on Bangkok. Shopping and cultural visits can be hard work 😉 Stay hydrated and be sure to not skip this on your Bangkok checklist.
5. Eat a Banana and Nutella Rotee
Being on the banana pancake trail, I had actually yet to eat as many banana pancakes as I would have liked. This came pretty close. It’s a crepe like skin, and quite scrumptious.
6. Experience the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
This was essentially the biggest tourist trap in my experience, but it was a fun way to experience the different markets that Thailand had to offer. The little boats that float us through the market is wobbly and small, so the likelihood of tipping over seems really high, but thankfully, we managed to weave through the lively floating market overflowing with other boats and tourists safely.
7. Make your way to catch the Maeklong Railway Market
It’s hard to believe that a train comes through this railway market several times a day. Vendors pull back their awnings, and set up their stalls to give just enough room for the train to barely go by, then carry on with their lives like a train didn’t just go barging through their stalls. When the train came, I stood on the very edge of where the railway and small walkway began, leaning as far back as I could into the stalls, feeling the heat of the train as it goes by just a few inches away from me.
8. Get a Thai Massage at Khao San Road
I didn’t always succeed, but I have attempted to get at least one massage in every country I traveled to. The traditional Thai massage was unique in its own way, and much different than any that I had ever experienced. I can’t say that I was a fan of this style since it was rather painful, but they were quite affordable and very informal, so there really wasn’t any harm trying. (I spent 210 baht for 1 hour). Khao San Road is said to be “the center of the backpacking universe,” where hostels, and backpackers are littered everywhere. I was not as fond of this street as beach clubs, bars, and getting dreadlocks didn’t really tickle my fancy. There were also strange graphics on t-shirts everywhere.
9. Watch the sunset from Sky Bar (The World's Highest Rooftop Bar in Bangkok) or Sirocco
I am a huge fan of rooftop bars and saying that the panoramic view of Bangkok from the 63rd floor is breathtaking is an understatement. The incredible skyline of Bangkok with the Chao Phraya River in sight is best viewed right at sunset to witness the gradual change of colors as the sun sets. When the city lights come on and illuminate across the city, it is quite a magical moment. A drink will set you back at least $27 though, but oh so worth the view. There is a dress code, so men, be sure to wear closed toed shoes because they do deny entrance unless proper footwear is worn. On a separate note, the free wifi for this hotel is spectacular.
10. Eat your heart out at the new Rot Fai Railroad Market
The endless stalls of food, dessert, and fun trinkets are out of this world. I made sure to buy a bag of sliced guavas on my way in. As I entered the night market filled with stalls scattered everywhere, I heard this amazing cover of Metallica coming from what looked like a huge pop-up bar. I have heard many covers in my lifetime, but I could not believe my ears – this chick was amazeballs. See a short clip of her below. I checked her band out for quite some time until these group of guys kept pestering me to sit with them, so I finally continued my journey to the rest of the market. It was an organized chaos, much like the streets of Vietnam. There were smells, and sounds, and people in every direction. Then of course, there was a stall of fried insects that were most certainly not for the faint of heart.
11. Say hello to the ladyboys at the red light district in Patpong Night Market. They're dressed to impress!
The ladyboys are really quite friendly, and even ask if you would like a picture with them. Patpong district is packed with foreigners, and offer sex shows (Ping pong sex shows), or even more. There is a row where all the gay clubs and bars are, and ladyboys strut around in incredibly high heels to say hello to everyone people-watching at the bars.
12. See a FREE Muay Thai Fight at the Pink Panther - Starts at 10pm
A muay thai fight is featured in a little club on the corner of the main streets of Patpong Night Market at around 10pm. They remove all the tables where girls dance on, and they set up a small space for the fight to go on. It goes on for 4 rounds before the likely winner throughout the first 3 rounds gets “knocked-out” by the underdog. I thought it was entertaining and a good and free way to end the night, and finish off my Bangkok checklist.
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