Thailand is not only about beautiful islands and white sand beaches, but also about spiritual and cultural highlights all over the country. Particularly Bangkok and the north is where you can find many of these attractions.
We started our Thailand trip in Bangkok. From there, we did trips to the railway market town named Meaklongh and the party coastal town of Pattaya. To be honest, we wouldn’t recommend to visit Pattaya. You can find the same activities in any other part of Thailand and avoid the mass tourism. Afterwards, we visited the historic beauty of Ayuttaya known by its temples and century old ruins of the old capital. From there, you can also catch one of the many buses running daily to Chiang Mai (north of Thailand).
This blog post should give you a summarized overview of the most important things to know when going to Thailand and especially Bangkok.
As we said, Thailand is more than beaches.
5 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW:
☆ The infrastructure in Thailand is good and modern between the main cities. There are inexpensive minivans, VIP buses and even sleeping trains with A/C.
☆ In Bangkok all taxis have a meter which they use. In the rest of the country, taxi fares need to be negotiated. Grab is always an alternative.
☆ The rainy season is the less touristy and the cheapest time of the year to travel around Thailand. It normally rains only once a day, however, it is in general more cloudy. It varies from region to region, but to give you a general idea, the rainy season runs from May to October.
☆ When searching for accommodations in Bangkok, it is best to stay close to the BTS or MRT as the traffic is very intense at peak hours.
☆ Please be considerative of animals. Interaction with wild animals is one of the country´s main attractions. Please don’t ride elephants and make sure that animals are treated well in all activities.
5 BEST THINGS TO DO:
☆ Explore the thrilling and world famous nightlife in Bangkok.
☆ Visit the old capital of Ayutthaya and explore it by bike. The magic of the old temples and ruins are truly be breathtaking. Check our post about Ayutthaya here
☆ Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the north: Dive into a more spiritual and cultural side of Thailand. Make sure to visit the famous white and blue temples in Chiang Rai. Check more about the North of Thailand here
☆ Visit the railway market in Mea Klongh and discover an historic market disrupted by trains passing in the middle of stands several times a day.
☆ Support one of the elephant saving programs of the Elephant Nature Park (Chiang Mai) in order to have an unforgettable experience with those gentle giants and help educating locals as well as tourists that responsible ecotourism is an option. You can find more info here
The vibrant capital of Thailand has a lot to offer, believe me you will never get bored there.
- Wat Arun – The temple of Dawn. The magnificent location near the river makes War Arun an special gem in Bangkok. Spend some time to appreciate the beauty of the fine craftsmanship.
Outside the main temple, the temple complex house several small buildings which can be also explored.
The entrance fee is 50-100 Baht per person. The opening times are 08:30am to 17:30pm daily. However, the best time to avoid crowds is early in the morning. Make sure you dress appropriately. Women must cover knees and shoulders inside the compound.
- Wat Pho – The temple of the Reclining Buddha. It is is our favorite among Bangkok’s biggest sights. The temple is known for its 46 meters long gold plated Reclining Buddha.
The entrance Fee is 100 Baht per person and the opening times are from 08:30am to 17:30pm daily. The best time to avoid crowds is right before sunset when the crowds go to Wat Arun. The dress code is not as strictly as at other temples in Bangkok , but women must cover knees and shoulders inside the temple building.
- Wat Saket – the Golden Mount Temple. It is a less commercialized and tranquil temple which is located on the top of a hill (around 300 steps). The 360 degree view from the top is worth the climb.
The entrance fee is 40 Baht per person and the opening times are from 08:00am to 17:00 pm daily. The best time to visit it is during sunset. There is no enforced dress code, but please make sure you dress politely as this place is a Buddhist temple.
- Grand Palace – The Grand Palace is a must visit in Bangkok as it has been the residence of the kings of Siam and Thailand since 1782. It consists of numerous temples, halls and gardens which show the greatness of the kingdom and the rich history.
The entrance fee is 500 Baht per person and the opening times are from 08:30am to 3:30 pm daily. The best time to visit it is right after opening in the morning.
SHOPPING – Shopaholics listen up!
Thailand is more than beaches and Bangkok is a paradise for shopping. The golden rule for shopping in Bangkok is to bargain hard. These are our two favorite spots:
- If you are a shopping addict don’t miss the Platinum shopping mall. It is specialized in fashion and accessories and it has more than 2,000 stands. Opening times: Thursdays and Fridays, 09:00 – 20:00, and rest of days 08:00 – 20:00.
- If you are searching for souvenirs and decoration pieces Chatuchak Weekend Market is your place. It is world’s largest weekend market. Opening times: Saturdays and Sundays, 09:00 – 18:00, and Fridays 18:00 – 24:00. Best time to go: Early in the morning when it first opens.
After the sun sets, Bangkok lightens up. Bangkok has so much to offer that it might be overwhelming to choose a plan. Its not all about party, though – there are many cultural experiences in the night. Since we are more into the day life while we travel, we have not tested enough to give you a recommendation. If you want to know more you can check this page
HOW TO MOVE AROUND:
Skytrain (BTS) and Subway (MRT): The system is an efficient and convenient way to move around the inner city. It is inexpensive and a good way to avoid traffic jams.
Taxis/Grab: Taxis are cheap and have a meter. Avoid them during rush hours, because you will spend hours stuck in the traffic.
Tuk tuk: Your Thailand trip would be incomplete if you did not try a Tuk Tuk. You will find them all over the city. Since they do not have a meter, price has to be negotiated before hand.
Below you can find some spots worth the visit during your stay in Bangkok.
1. Maeklongh Railway Market: It is a traditional market selling fresh vegetables, food and fruits. The market has a train running through several times a day which is absolutely spectacular as it passes really close. Read more about this market here
2. Ayutthaya: Siam’s capital city until 1767, a magical destination to explore grand ruins of old temples and palaces. If you get a chance to stay one night, do it! You won’t regret it. Read more about Ayutthaya here
3. Pattaya: Located approximately 150 kilometers southeast of Bangkok and it is known for its wild nightlife. However, it also has nice beaches, particularly on the island of Koh Larn, one of the eastern seaboard islands of Thailand.
4. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market: This market is great choice to combine with your trip to Maeklongh Railway Market. It is one of the most popular floating markets in Thailand, so expect some tourists around.
If you are looking forward to see more content about the most beautiful Thailand beaches stay tuned.