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© 2018 by Callahan McKinley

BANGKOK

"Shopping in Thailand is super cheap and generally high quality. Bangkok is also safe. If you see anybody wearing camouflage and holding a machete, don't be scared. They sell coconuts." - Unknown

 

Bangkok is among the world's most popular tourist destinations. The city's infrastructure and appearance is modern, yet at the same time offers some of the most amazing street food in the world. Here is a list of my top 10 favorite things to do in the "City of Angels".

FOR A LIST OF MY FAVORITE STREET FOOD SPOTS AND RESTAURANTS, CLICK HERE

 

1. MUAY THAI BOXING

Muay Thai is an ancient style of boxing unique to Thailand. It quickly became popular after it was introduced in the late 16th century, and has become an immense source of pride for the Thai people. 

There are several venues in Bangkok where you can watch local Muay Thai matches. My favorite location is Rajadamnern Stadium, which hosts fights six days a week and offers tickets starting at $29. I suggest buying ringside tickets that put you directly in front of the action. So sit back, buy a $2 pint of Thai beer, and watch the locals aggressively place their bets!

Price: 1,000.00฿–2,500.00฿ ($29 USD - $70 USD)

Hours: Fights every night starting at 6:30 p.m. 

Website: http://rajadamnern.com/

Address: Rajadamnern Nok Rd, Pompab Satroo pai, Bangkok 10200 Thailand

2. KHLONG TOEI WET MARKET

This beautiful open air market is the perfect place to observe local life. There's nothing touristy about it and you can wander street after street, alley after alley, watching Thai men and women haggle for that night's dinner. 

The market may look like absolute chaos, but if you look closely, you'll notice that everyone has an explicit reason for occupying that particular space in the market. All it takes is one unknowing tourist to bring the whole operation crashing down (it's not really that intense, but I'm trying to make a point here). For that reason alone, CNN named it one of the most authentic markets in Bangkok and a place to avoid if you're hungover. 

All in all, If you're looking for an authentic wet market experience, Khlong Toei should be the first stop on your list.

Price: Free!

Hours: Daily 6:30am - 6:00pm

Address: Rama IV Road Khlong Toei, Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110, Thailand

3. WANG LANG MARKET

Sensing a pattern? That's cause Bangkok is the King of street markets! Wang Lang market (unlike Khlong Toei) isn't limited to food and sells a wide variety of art, clothes, and trinkets.

The market is across the river from the Grand Palace and I recommend planning your day out so you end up here around lunch (you can take the ferry across the river, costs 1 bhat). Instead of eating a full lunch, just snack on some of the delicious street food you can find all over the market. 

Get ready to explore claustrophobic back alleyways, taste test hundreds of street food carts, and watch a seamstress make a dress, in one of Bangkok's most renowned markets. 

Price: Free!

Hours: Daily 7:00am - 8:00pm

Address: Soi 8, Khwaeng Taling Chan, Taling Chan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10170, Bangkok, Thailand

4. WAT ARUN (Temple of Dawn)

Now unfortunately when I went, Wat Arun was under renovation (but still looked pretty awesome!), so I wasn't able to witness its full glory. The Buddhist temple is famous for the colorful porcelain art that covers the entire structure and gives it its distinct look. 

The temple is also across the river from the Palace just a few minutes walk from Wang Lang market (can you guess where I'm going with this?). After eating a late lunch at Wang Lang, I'd start slowly walking down to Wat Arun, trying to arrive just before sunset (it closes at 5 though, so plan accordingly). It takes about 20min to walk down from the market but there are plenty of interesting places to stop and check out as you meander your way towards the temple. 

Price: 50 Bhat

Hours: Daily 8:00am - 5:00pm

Address: 158 Wang Doem Rd, Khwaeng Wat Arun, Khet Bangkok Yai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10600, Thailand

5. WAT SAKET (Golden Mount)

Wat Saket is another Buddhist temple built on top of a small hill in the middle of the city. It's the only non-flat terrain for miles around and kinda looks like someone started building up to heaven but got bored and said, "Eh, that's close enough".  

On a more serious note the temple gives you the best 360 degree views of the city and is well worth the 10 Bhat entrance cost. Make sure you don't miss the tiny staircase leading to the roof at the top! 

TIP: Whenever you are observing a buddhist temple, make sure to walk clockwise around it three times to show respect (according to tradition).

Price: 10 Bhat

Hours: Daily 7:30am - 5:30pm

Address: 344 Khwaeng Ban Bat, Khet Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100, Bangkok, Thailand

6. CHINATOWN

It's important to make sure you know this isn't your average Chinatown, like some you might find in the U.S.. Chinatown in Bangkok is on an entirely different level. During the day it looks pretty bland, some gold shops, Chinese restaurants, etc, but at night things get crazy. 

I'm still not sure exactly what happens but as soon as the sun goes down, it's like someone hits the nos button. Hundreds of street food stalls appear out of nowhere, traffic becomes so horrendous it basically stops completely, and you're left in the middle of it all wondering "what the f*ck just happened?". 

If this hasn't convinced you that chinatown in Bangkok is something special, then I don't know what will because this is one of the best spots in the city.

Price: Free!

Hours: All day, everyday (again, MUST go after dark)

Address: 436 Yaowarat Rd, Khwaeng Samphanthawong, Khet Samphanthawong, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100, Thailand

7. WAT PHO

Wat Pho is a buddhist temple complex just south of the Grand Palace. Home to the Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho is a popular destination for tourists so be prepared to brave the crowds. The statue itself is over 150ft long and 50ft tall, which makes it well worth the hype. 

No one knows who built the temple but we do know it was constructed between 1688 A.D. and 1703 A.D., making it the oldest temple in Bangkok. The complex is located in the Old City, right next to the Grand Palace and at the edge of Chinatown. 

You can watch me get scammed on the way here in my video on Bangkok, click here

Price: Free!

Hours: Daily 8:00am - 5:00pm

Address: 436 Yaowarat Rd, Khwaeng Samphanthawong, Khet Samphanthawong, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100, Thailand

8. JATUJAK FISH MARKET

The Jatujak weekend fish market is the my personal favorite of Bangkok. It's one of the only official markets that doesn't seem to care that you're a tourist. Most markets, no matter how awesome, give you the feeling that you're on the outside, just observing it. The Jatujak Fish Market takes it one step further and makes you feel like you're actually part of the chaos. 

The market is located right next to the massive Chatuchak market and is a great place to stop by for something a little more intimate. I actually prefer this to Chatuchak just because it feels more personal. Oh, and of course there's amazing street food. It's best to go at night for this one. 

Price: Free!

Hours: Weekends 8:00am - 10:00pm

Address: Khwaeng Chatuchak, Khet Chatuchak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10900, Thailand

9. THE GRAND PALACE

The Grand Palace is almost an unfortunate "must see" in Bangkok. Look, I'm all for seeing the seat of Thailand's power for the last 250 years, but the sheer amount of people makes it less attractive than it should be. There also isn't a ton to do there, it's mostly a small (but admittedly good) museum, and the Palace itself. I'll be honest, if there's one thing on this list that could be skipped, this would be it. 

It's located dead center of the Old City which makes it easy to stop by before heading out to Wang Lang Market or Wat Arun. 

Price: 500 Bhat (by far the most expensive attraction)

Hours: Daily 8:30am - 3:30pm

Address: Na Phra Lan Rd, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, 10200, Thailand

10. CHATUCHAK MARKET

Previously I mentioned that I preferred the Jatujak fish market to this one, but that doesn't mean you can't do both. As one of the worlds largest outdoor markets, the Chatuchak weekend market shouldn't overlooked.  

The motto of this place seems to be "If it can be sold, we will sell it". Case is point, studies have shown that it has become a center for illegal wildlife trade. With over 11 sections and 8,000 stalls, it's hard to imagine a market more diverse or iconic than this one. 

Price: Free!

Hours: Monday Closed

              Tuesday Closed

             Wednesday 7AM–6PM

             Thursday 7AM–6PM

             Friday 6PM–12AM

             Saturday 9AM–6PM

             Sunday 9AM–6PM

Address: 587/10 Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, Khwaeng Chatuchak, Khet Chatuchak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10900, Thailand

 

WHERE TO STAY?

When it comes to lodging, there are a couple of options. The good news is that as long as you stay close to a MRT Subway line, you're pretty much good. On my trip I stayed in an Airbnb (my favorite way to travel) in BANG KAPI. It's a little far from the center of the city, but because it's directly over a MRT line you can get pretty get anywhere without much hassle (not to mention it's cheaper). 

A few other districts I would look at staying in are RAMA 9 VILLAGE, which has some great street food and restaurants nearby, BAN PHAN THOM, which is where most of the bars and clubs are located (also closer to the Old City), and SIWALAI 4 VILLAGE, on the other side of the river, near Wang Lang market and Wat Arun. 

If anyone is interested, this is the Airbnb I stayed in: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/13821500 (tell her Cal McKinley sent you!)

 

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