When we returned to Bangkok in July it was for our fifth and final time. Our last stop before returning back to the states. After hating Bangkok the first time round and leaving within 24 hours and liking it slightly better the third time round, we decided to do things a little differently. This time we would fall in love, or at least find an appreciation, and Kristin Addis of Be My Travel Muse had just posted the perfect guide to help us out.
After trying and testing out a variety of new places and adventures in Bangkok I am happy to share with you our favorites.
1. ROOFTOP BARS
Thanks to the Hangover 2 the rooftop bars of Bangkok are extremely popular, especially the one from the movie, offering amazing views of the skyline and exorbitantly overpriced cocktails. While we generally traveled on a fairly strict budget, this was totally worth throwing that budget out the door. The higher the bar the better.
2. STREET FOOD
I only wish we had more time or I had a bigger stomach. There were so many places and so much to try.
3. MOVIE THEATERS
Bangkok has some crazy movie theaters. The Scala is old and beautiful while others are decked out with services including dinner and foot massages. They also cover every price range in between.
4. SHOPPING THE MARKETS
The CHATUCHAK market is at the Mo Chit stop at the end of one of the BTS lines and a quick walk across a little park. The stalls seem to go on forever and the crowds are lively.
ASIATIQUE is a more upscale market featuring stalls that more closely resemble boutiques. This was particularly fun to visit because after a quick metro ride we hopped on the free ferry that delivers customers right below the giant Ferris wheel at the entrance of Asiatique offering great views of the city skyline.
5. KHAO SAN ROAD
Where to Stay
This hostel is located close to Khao San Road. We stayed in a large female dorm, had comfy beds, great air-con and consistent wifi connection. Although the bathrooms were shared, they were clean and always available.
LUB D HOSTEL
We stayed in this hostel in Siam Square across from the MBK shopping mall after reading about it on Be My Travel Muse. Although more expensive that our usual hostels, we decided to give it a try because we needed to experience Bangkok away from Khao San Road. This location was awesome especially since it was located right under one of the BTS metro stops. The private twin we stayed in was clean and comfy. The shared bathrooms were luxurious compared to most places we stayed. Oh and they have laundry machines!! Great since we wanted to wash all our stuff before packing up and heading home.
What to Eat
STREET FOOD AROUND MBK MALL
There are plenty of options to choose from because street vendors tend to set up around large shopping, centers, universities, etc. The options change from morning to night so you could come back three times a day and find something new each time. My favorite was the spicy mango salad lady located on Rama 1 across from our hostel, Lub D. Also look for Kanom Krok, or coconut pudding, which look like little golden balls of dough cooked on a griddle.
6TH FLOOR FOOD COURT IN MBK
Yes, this is in a mall and it is a food court. But the 6th floor food court (keep going past the 5th floor food avenue) is filled with authentic Thai vendors serving up large portions of local dishes for around 50 THB. You purchase a money card to pay the vendors with so take a walk around first to familiarize yourself with the options before you put a balance on your card.
Tip: There is an entire vegetarian stall here that offers 3 scoops from the buffet items or 1 fresh-cooked menu item for 50 THB.
STREET FOOD ON SUKHUMVIT SOI 38
There is a cluster of food vendors that create an outdoor food court feel on Sukhumvit Road. We stopped by to explore and taste some dishes after reading all about it in this post by Migrationology. The pad thai smelled amazing but since we had eaten not so long before I opted for a delicious mango sticky rice.
We read that this was a popular brunch spot just around the corner from our hostel but due to its odd hours, we only caught it open for dinner. The food was delicious and cheap. I got Pad Kee Mow, wide noodles fried with vegetables, chili, garlic and hot basil. We also tried the vegetable tempura.
Chinatown is huge a stocked full of all sorts of foodie delights. In hindsight, I wish we had signed up for a guided market tour because it was just so large and although we had familiarized with many of the Thai dishes found on the street, these Chinese options had us at a loss. We noticed seafood, shark fins and swallow nest soup to be a theme. Stalls selling seafood had a fish symbol while stalls selling swallow nest soup had a bird symbol.
Trying to plan your stay in Thailand? Here is my three week itinerary including where to stay, what to eat and what to do in Bangkok, Northern Thailand and the East Thai island.