Exploring Bangkok takes time. When you’re coming to The City Of Angels the first time ever you’re likely to get frustrated in the beginning. You really need to give it some time to amaze you (don’t forget to check my Bangkok for Beginners post to prepare yourself). However, if you give The Big Mango a chance it will amaze you on a regular basis. I travelled Bangkok City for quite a while now and even my Thai friends ‘book’ me once in a while for an up close look on one of the most amazing cities on this planet.
In order to get an inside look on BKK you obviously don’t have to book one of those ‘all inclusive’ tours. They are fine for a first quick check on the city, but there is so much more! During my series of ‘DIY Thailand Tours’ I’ll try to give you some hints and advice on how to set up your own little amazing experience.
So here we go with the first DIY Thailand Tour – Bangkok Nights – Part 1.
It’s called Bangkok nights tour. So before we hit the city we should eat. Good and a lot. So we meet at Thonglor BTS in order to heat down Sukhumvit Soi 53 to find one of the best original Korean BBQ Restaurants in the city (close to the Euro Creation Center). The ‘special’ menu gives you a great BBQ Buffet for around 330 THB / person. The quality is great and the service very professional. Great and delicious place.
You could, obviously, choose a different starting point when you want some different food.
Stop 1: Saphan Taksin
Our first stop then leads us to Saphan Taksin (Taksin Bridge). We go there by BTS from Thonglor via Siam (where we have to change the train line) straight to our final destination Saphan Taksin.
The Taksin Bridge itself isn’t that nice our beautiful but the view it offers therefore is. You do not have to much time to sit or relax – since there is no place to do so but just standing on the bridge, ignoring the traffic in the background and watching the amazing colorful skyline of Bangkok at night is a great start into the DIY Bangkok Nights Tour.
Stop 2: Saphan Put Night Market
After having spend some time at Saphan Taksin (and having crossed it twice) we take the BTS back to Sala Daeng station. Sala Daeng is in the middle of the famous Silom district so if you want to hit a very touristy market area, feel free to check the streets of Silom. If you want to stick to our tour then simply follow the skywalk from the BTS station to the MRT (underground) station. If you are in the need for some rest (already? getting old, uh?) you can simply relax at the close by Lumphini Park (if it’s not to late already) – the most beautiful park in Bangkok.
Our tour now leads us to Bangkok Subway system which takes us to it’s final station, Hua Lamphong. Hua Lamphong is the main train station in Bangkok and already worth a look. It’s old architecture and the beautiful lighting make it a pretty cool sight for pictures. So don’t miss out on that. After taking pictures of Hua Lamphong we will decide whether we want to hit close by China Town or head straight over to Saphan Put – The Memorial Bridge.
Since China Town is busy and worth a single visit we simply head for the memorial bridge this time and will come back to China Town later. So we take a taxi from Hua Lamphong (or TukTuk if you are good in bargaining) there. Once we arrive we will hit the famous Memorial Bridge night market. The market itself is, compared to others, a little more spacious and offers, in addition to all the fake stuff, also some cool and interesting things to see and eat (hmm, fried bugs). Furthermore it’s a cool spot to hang out – well not the market itself but the bridge that is just above the market. Hundreds of teenagers hang out there every night and make Saphan Taksin a cool open air club / bar. As long as you have an open mind a visit there is going to be a cool experience and once more, the view onto the nightly Bangkok skyline is great! Sit, relax, enjoy. Yes, on a bridge!
After we finish to hang out under the bridge we will head over to the Grand Palace.
Stop 3 Wat Pra Kaew
How we go to Wat Pra Kaew / The Grand Palace? We walk! Yes, seriously. Why? Firstly because your are lazy and walking is good for your health and secondly because we will pass a huge 24 hours flower market on the way from Saphan Put to Wat Pra Kaew.
While we pass the flower market we inhale an incredible amount of fantastic smells, eat some Isaan (North-Eastern Thailand) style Sai Khlong (grilled sausages) and slowly but steady walk towards the now already closed Wat Po. Wait, closed? So why do we walk there? Because it looks freaking amazing at night! (See the picture above).
On our way there we, once more, come close to Chao Praya River and are able to see Wat Arun, the Temple Of Dawn, on the other side of the river. On the right hand side we come across aforementioned Wat Po which we will pass in order to see the illuminated architectural fascination known as Wat Pra Kaew (Grand Palace). It simply looks stunning at night and is, obviously, not as crowded as during day time since you can’t enter the palace itself. For pictures or impressions however this is as cool as it gets.
After we take picture after picture of the Grand Palace we then go a few steps further past this impressive monument and hit another fascinating night market. The one next to famous Sanam Luang.
Stop 4 Sanam Luang – Lod Khlong Night Market
Sanam Luang was closed for quite while due to renovation. Therefore the night market located there moved a little bit further and could then be found between the Grand Palace and Wat Saket (Golden Mount). Now that Sanam Luang is open again the night market takes back a little bit of its old location and starts again right across Sanam Luang. The night market focuses on second hand stuff but you can, of course, also find all the common fakes and handmade things if you look closer. This night market is HUGE and I would be impressed if you wouldn’t get lost the first time you hit it. Getting lost is all part of the plan here and if you see something you like, just buy it. The prices are usually more than fair and you won’t be able to find this certain booth again anyways.
My personal highlight at this night market are the musicians that can be found everywhere. They are, very often, performing with great passion and endurance and really generate an awesome atmosphere that you won’t find anywhere else. I usually don’t like shopping but I do love this Night Market. Enjoy!
Stop 5 Democracy Monument & Giant Swing
Since it’s almost midnight by now you once more have a choice. Are you fit enough to take a short detour to see the Giant Swing and the illuminated Democracy Monument? It’s not a long detour but if you are to tired already we will do this next time when we hit the Golden Mount. So don’t worry to much about it. It’s just a nice sight, won’t take to much time but also won’t hurt to do it next time.
Final Stop Khaosan Road
I usually don’t recommend the ‘common’ tourist spots but Khaosan Road needs to be on your list once. Especially when you aren’t that new to Thai culture anymore you might enjoy it completely differently than other tourists. You might realize how ‘funny’ people here act especially from a Thai point of view. Furthermore, after such a nice trip out, you simply have to partyyyyyyy a little or at least sit down, relax and listen to some cool live music.
Personally I don’t like clubbing or partying at Khaosan Road to much. However I do like the neighboring streets like Soi Rambuttri where you can find some nice places to sit, have drink and listen to great live music.
After some time out in and around Khaosan Road (where we don’t attend a Ping Pong Show – even if it gets offered to us all the time) we then hit the hay after coming home safely via taxi (that uses a taximeter).
I hope you enjoyed our first DIY Thailand Tour in Bangkok. If so be sure to check back for more to come. I’m far away from being done!
Chok dee krub!
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