Updated: Dec 4, 2019
* Must See
No doubt Bangkok is a huge metropolitan. However, there is no need to feel overwhelmed; the BTS subway system makes navigating the city easy. With some effort and time, you’ll have the framework of the city in your mind forever.
Here are your transportation options:
BTS subway station
Grab Taxi (Download App)
Normal Yellow Taxi
Bangkok is known for its massive malls. It’s the shopping capital of Southeast Asia:
MBK- electronics mall
Siam Square (Center of Bangkok)
Many many malls
Bangkok Art and Culture Center
The Chatachuk JJ Green Market is the largest outdoor market in SouthEast Asia. It has literally everything you can imagine. From designer clothes to pets, there is nothing you can’t buy here. It is north of the center of Bangkok and at the last BTS spot. It is only on the weekends and 3 hours is a recommended stay time. It’s hot, so be prepared.
As a teacher, I went here to get decorations for my room. I also made sure I went here before I left for home to buy gifts for all my friends and family.
The museums in Bangkok are under-rated. Check these ones out:
Museum of Contemporary Art*- (near Chatachuk market)
Bangkok Art and Culture Centre- (near Siam Square)
The temples in Bangkok are a main attraction. All of the 3 temples below are walking distance from each other and you can see all 3 in 3 hours. Remember, a dress code is enforced. Both men and woman must cover their knees and shoulders.
There are other hidden temples in Bangkok that are just as stunning. Make a Thai friend and have him take you around, you won’t regret it.
There are hundreds of hostels in Bangkok. However, after spending the nights at many, the teachers and I have decided this is our Bangkok home:
Koh San Road*
This is your party street. It is the main backpacker nightlife destination. It has everything from street food, bars, clubs, and late night dancing in the streets.
Tep bar in Chinatown
Bangkok Rooftop Bars (Dress code enforced)
So Pool Party at So Sofitel. This is a once a month pool party on the 10th floor of a hotel. Many foreign teachers meet here and it’s a great way to meet others and enjoy a day in the sun. *
Sky Bar at Lebua: where the hangover was filmed. Expensive, though beautiful view. Stop for 1 drink
Bangkok Clubs (Dress code enforced)
Music is just as big in Bangkok as it is in any other international city. There are many music venues and many top artists stop in Bangkok on their Asian tours. I saw Alt J at an intimiate show and Chainsmokers as a large concert hall with a crazy light show.
Moonstar Studio 8
Impact Challenger Hall
Bangkok has all types of food. Obviously famous for it’s street food, which you can find on every corner, Bangkok has Australian, British, American, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, and many more resturaunts to choose from.
Here are recommended food stops:
Phra Athis Road (near Khao San Road)
Charley Brown- Mexican restaurant and an amazing birthday dinner spot *
Pad Thai at ThipSamai- the line is huge so get there right when it opens*
May vegetarian for vege lovers
This city covered in ancient ruins is 1 hour North of Bangkok. Spend a day to see all the ancient ruins.
Bars and Nightlife:
Soi Farang night street
The northern capital of Thailand and only a 2 hour flight and 10 hour overnight bus ride away from Bangkok, and is a fan favorite.
The temples in Chiang Mai are spectacular. They are ancient and you feel back in time when there. Rent a Tuk Tuk and plan a full day and see as many temples as you can (6 is the right number):
Must See temples:
Wat Phra Doi Suthep (go for sunrise)
Wat Umong (Indiana Jones Jungle Temple)
Chiang Mai is like a valley. Around it, within driving distance, are beautiful hills, mountains, waterfalls, and green valleys.
Here are what you can do in and around the city:
Bua Thong Sticky Waterfalls
For a relaxing afternoon, go out to Huay Tung Tao--a reservoir/lake, where you can sit in a little bungalow and eat/drink/swim for hours. About 20 minutes out of town
Get a massage in front of Wat Umong (behind Chiang Mai University). Best massage for $3/hour
MAIIAM - new contemporary art gallery about 30 minutes from town
Chiang Mai Nightlife
Chiang Mai nightlife is a bit more centralized than Bangkok. Here are recomendations:
There are many hostels to choose from. Here is the best location to stay:
Near Tha Pae Gate or Chiang Mai Gate.
Khao Soi is the famous Chiang Mai dish. It is a curry like soup made with wide rice noodles, chopped pork, tomatoes, soy beans, chillies, and more.
Here are some other places to eat:
Ploen Ruedee Night Market
Green Days--great Japanese food off Loi Krow Road, Soi 3.
Pun Pun- back of a temple called War Suandok on Suthep Road
Regular thai food at night markets is great, try the Chang Peuk Gate and Chiang Mai Gate night markets
Weekend Trips from Chiang Mai
There are wonderful spots to go hiking all around the city and my advice would be to get a motorbike for a few days and take a trip out of town. Some good weekend trips are:
This small valley town is rated #1 backpacking destination in the world for a reason. To get there, you have to wind through the roads of a mountain for 3-4 hours. Once up and over the mountain, it opens up into a beautiful valley where the small town of Pai lives.
What to do in Pai:
Walking Street- Lasagna Lady
Mo Paen Falls
Other places outside of Chiang Mai
Mae Hong Son - if you continue on from Pai, this town on the Thai-Burma border is really great.
Mae Ngat Dam, a secret gem where you can stay on a houseboat for 5 dollars a night
Chiang Dao - a small city with a cave and a mountain to climb
Gulf of Thailand Islands
This island is near Pattaya and closest to Bangkok, only a 3-hour drive and a 20-minute ferry ride away. You can do a weekend trip here at this over-crowded, though beautiful Thai island.
My favorite island! It’s 5ish hours away from Bangkok. It is Jurassic Park Esque and has the perfect balance of tourist and local vibes. The best place on this island is Lonely Beach.*
Food in Lonely Beach
Café De sunshine*
The Magic Garden
Koh Pho Ngan
Famous for their moon parties and party life. The island is mellow besides the 3 days leading up to the full-moon party and 3 days after the party, where it’s almost impossible to find a place to stay.
Thong Nai Ban Noi location to stay (Yoga)
Koh Samui is the largest island in the Gulf of Thailand. It has an airport and is most accessible. It isn’t as remote or pretty as the others, but it’s still a Thai island.
Koh Tao is the scuba and snorkeling island. Here, you’ll find many expat divers who’ve devoted their lives to the seas around the island. If you are Padi certified, you definitely want to stop here.
Adamen Sea Westside Islands
These are the most touristy islands. There is a reason I have never been… ;)
Here is the list:
Phi Phi islands - Link
Do not underestimate the national parks that aren’t on the tourist to do lists of websites you might be scrolling on. You can go camping, find paradise waterfalls, and you might even see wild elephants.
Here are national parks to check out:
Errawan* (4 hours west of Bangkok)
Ang Thong* (off of Koh Pha Ngan)
Khao Yai (2 hours North of Bangkok)
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