Bangkok is an incredible city – it is stuffed full of markets, temples and bustling with people. However the business of places like the Khao San Road can seem intimidating at times and so I’ve written this guide to help you see the best of Bangkok in 5 days or under.
1) The Grand Palace
You can’t visit Bangkok without a visit to the Grand Palace. Within this complex is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred temple in Thailand and a must see if you are visiting. However it is crucial to time your visit right, peak times can see the palace unbearably packed with tourists and turn this trip into a nightmare.
Another temple worth visiting (and for those on a tight budget it is a cheaper alternative to the Grand Palace) is Wat Pho or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. However whilst visiting the Grand Palace can take an afternoon, visiting Wat Pho need only take 20 minutes. We decided to visit one of the fortune tellers there just for fun, although I’m not sure how we felt after hearing some of the things he said!
2) The Khao San Road
An absolute “must” on any itinery this road is Bangkok’s backpacker capital! It is crammed full of market stalls selling everything from fake Calvin Klein boxers and Beats headphones to delicious street food and henna tattoos. But this place only really comes alive at night time where I learnt that the party doesn’t calm down until the early hours of the morning. One such night was particularly memorable; it was lashing it down with rain when we were “forced” to take cover in a bar on the Khao San Road and wait for it to stop. When the rain passed more than an hour later the entire road was flooded, leading to a huge late night waterfight followed by limbo competitions and dancing on the streets! It was a great night and, for me, it really summed up the character of the infamous Khao San Road.
3) Floating market and the Tiger Temple
There isn’t much to say about this trip except that if I’m honest, I regretted going and would leave both out of any future Bangkok itinerary. For the Floating Market I felt as though the whole thing was a bit of a scam set up and designed for the tourists to spend money. And as for the Tiger Temple, I went with a group of people who were keen to go – though that isn’t an excuse – but left feeling a bit uneasy. It was later when I read this article about the Tiger Temple that I felt completely ashamed that I had in any way supported what I now realise is animal cruelty.
4) The Bayan Tree
To end on a lighter note, a trip up the Bayan Tree is definitely to be recommended. The “Vertigo and Moon Bar” as it is called has breathtaking views from the 61st floor of this hotel. Although be aware of two things: 1) the price of one cocktail was more than I had spent on my entire dinner (and probably lunch) that day, and 2) the bar closes at 1am so don’t arrive at 12pm, as we did, and expect a long evening ahead.
I hope you enjoyed some of these ideas – of course there are many other things to do in Bangkok but I hope you manage to find some of these suggestions useful.