I’m not going to lie Bangkok was not my favourite of places. Perhaps because we arrived in the early hours of the morning at a grubby and packed bus station where we spent a tense few minutes negotiating with a taxi driver who spoke no English only shouted in Thai to take us to our hostel, perhaps because it was painfully hot one day and miserably raining the next. But despite all this it is still a city full of treasures not to be missed. So here you have my list of what to see in Bangkok…
1) The skytrain. I was far too excited about what is essentially their version of the underground. The difference being that, as the name suggests, instead of being underground it runs above your head and it offers a pretty impressive view of the city as it does so.
2) The Reclining Buddha. To be completely honest I’d about had my fill of temples by this point but this was truly impressive. Found at Wat Pho temple, the Reclining Buddha is an imposing 46 metre long statue that leaves even the most unreligious in awe.
3) Khao San Road! It is the place to party. The clubs and bars spill out onto the streets and you literally find yourselves dancing on Khao San Road. We bought beers from the lady selling them along the side of the road to avoid the queues at the bars and fried noodles from one of the many stalls and partied the night away! At least until the music made an abrupt stop at 1am, be warned the curfew here is a strict one!
4) The Unicorn Cafe. Ok this may not be to everyone’s taste but this was right up my street. A cafe full of pastel colours and unicorns. We sat in colourful throne type seats with cuddly toy unicorns on our lap and sipped ridiculously sugary hot chocolates which came complete with unicorn horns! A little on the expensive side? yes, full of tourists? yes, a whole lot of fun? Hell yes!
5) The weekend markets. Yes I know more markets, we spent a whole lot of our trip wandering around markets! Chatachak Market though was definitely one of the best. It was huge and we spent the best part of our day wandering around the thousands of stalls purchasing souvenirs and spending the last of our Thai money.
6) The floating markets. These are just outside Bangkok and we took a day trip their to visit them. Although the goods sold were no different to any other market the purchasing is far more fun. You hop in a boat and cruise along the canals stopping at any stalls along the wayside that take your fancy. And if you get hungry or thirsty you can always call over one of the boats floating the canals selling fresh fruit, fresh coconuts and all other manner of street foods.
7) The Bridge on the River Kwai. About three hours outside of Bangkok again you need to take a day trip to see this interesting sight. It’s amazing how many tourists there are swarming what is essentially a memorial sight. And seeing the throngs of people the bright market stalls and glorious sunshine it is impossible to think that this was a place of so much suffering for so many. It is an interesting visit especially the JEATH museum which contains some interesting if questionable information about the Second World War (according to them Hitler escaped at the end of the war and has never been found?) but if you want to know more about the war from the Asian perspective it is definitely worth a visit. And seeing a train cross the bridge full of cheery passengers gives some satisfaction, with the feeling that at least those whose lives were sacrificed in the building, built something that still stands and provides enjoyment for the plenty.
Bangkok is a huge thriving city and as with most large cities you could spend days exploring it and still not discover everything. Whilst I’m disappointed that we didn’t manage to see a couple of things the truth be told I won’t be rushing back, there are too many other places on my list to return to first!