Shannon Wolf | February 10, 2016 11:00 PM ET
The Best of Bangkok
PHOTO: Our first experience on public buses was an experience in itself — leaving us hot, sweaty with over an hour drive to Koh San Road.
On your first stop in Southeast Asia, you will likely find yourself in the bustling city of Bangkok before heading onwards to the south islands, or to the north and its chilled-out vibes.
Although Bangkok is similar to any other city, it’s worth visiting for a few days just to experience. There is food galore, incredible cooking classes, interesting forms of transportation and a slew of markets to venture through.
Weather: HOT and humid, all year round.
Typical Cost: $25 a day
• Train (BTS Skytrain/MRT)
Bangkok’s train system is fast and reliable, and will take you wherever you need to go. The BTS fare ranges from 15 to 52 baht (50 cents-$1.50).
A boat is by far the cheapest form of transportation (plus a great experience), costing only a few cents, depending on where you’d like to go. There are two available services — Chao Phraya Express Boat, which is popular with tourists, stopping at many of the city’s most popular landmarks and Saen Saep Express Boat, which is used mostly by locals, but if you plan to visit the Grand Palace and the Siriraj Medical Museum, this is the best boat to take.
We have tried using a handful of buses during our time in Bangkok but they are complicated and take forever to get anywhere.
Best Accommodation: Flapping Duck ($3 a night)
• Chilled out vibe with friendly staff and travelers
• Hangout Area with plenty of seating
• Clean, comfortable beds with fan
• Hot Showers
Note: Due to being next to the river, there are A LOT of mosquitos at night. Bug repellant is vital.
No matter where you go in Bangkok, you will NEVER be hungry. This city is known for its incredible food, so between street vendors and restaurants, prepare yourself for the inevitable food coma!
Note: Mondays are street cleaning days in Bangkok so food carts will be limited in comparison to the rest of the week.
• Street food: 10-20 baht (25-60 cents) — appetizer or one skewer.
• Typical Restaurant plate of food: 40-80 baht ($1-$2.25).
• Street Vendor Coffee: 13 baht (40 cents) for hot coffee or 20 baht (60 cents) for iced coffee.
Top Rated Pad Thai: Thip Samai
Address: 313 Th Maha Chai, Banglamphu
Opening hours: 5 p.m.-midnight (get there early as the wait time is long otherwise)
PHOTO: Ian and I got to have our first Pad Thai in two different styles at the famous Thip Samai.
Best Food Market: The Klong Toey Market
When: Every day from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.
How to get there: MRT Subway to Klong Toei station, and walk out of Exit 1. When you come out, take right, and follow Rama 4 Road east about 10 minutes, and the Klong Toey Market will be on your right hand side.
BEST Market: Chatuchak Weekend Market
It is one of the biggest markets in the world with over 15,000 booths selling anything and everything you could think of, want or need. From clothing to food to handicrafts — there’s something for everyone.
TOP WATS & PALACES:
• Wat Pho
• Wat Arun
• Grand Palace
• Wat Mangkorn Kamalawat in Chinatown
• Take the best Thai cooking class at Blue Elephant Cooking School.
• Get a Sak Yant tattoo by a monk at Wat Bang Phra 40 minutes outside of Bangkok. Cost: 75 baht ($2.50).
• For a night out on the town, head to a cool little dive bar called Cheap Charlies (Sukhumvit Soi 11).
• Go to the red light district for a Ping-Pong show if you dare.
• For a fancy night out, dress up and get your jazz on at The Iron Fairies Bar (394 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thong Lor).
• Eat ALL the street food and be sure to try Tom Yam Soup, Som Tam, Mango Sticky Rice and of course, Pad Thai, to name a few!
• Get your shopping fix at Chatuchak Weekend Market.
PHOTO: One night we ventured down the red light district with beers in hand and full of ladyboys and offers for ping-pong shows.
More by Shannon Wolf
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