Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, is home to over 8 million people and it certainly feels it. Being squashed on a skytrain during rush hour reminded me of being back home in London! This is not a city to relax in – this is a city full of life and energy and is begging to be explored.
This was our second visit to Bangkok, although it was ten years since we were last in the city and it has certainly changed in that time. We were in Bangkok for four nights before travelling to the Maldives for a week and we had based ourselves at the new, luxurious Park Hyatt, only two stops from Siam. This hotel was a welcome relief and an oasis from the hustle and bustle of the city. Not to mention it is absolutely stunning.
So, what did we get up to in those four days?
I have never seen so many malls, markets and places to shop than in Bangkok – seriously! The malls range from luxurious to bargain and you could honestly spend your days just shopping. On our first day we arrived at around 11 at the hotel so we had a quick nap – given we hadn’t slept much on the flight – then we headed our for some lunch (dim sum) and then just explored the area by foot. I love walking around a city as it’s the best way to see everything. Central Bangkok has a skywalk, which is really handy as some of the roads you need to cross are terrifying! And of course the Skytrain is easily accessible and inexpensive – a day ticket costs around £4.
On our second day – Sunday – we visited the famous weekend market, Chatuchak, which was about 15 to 20 minutes on the Skytrain from our hotel. It is enormous – 35 acres and around 8,000 stalls! Obviously we didn’t get through them all but we had a good walk around and enjoyed a delicious coconut ice-cream with coconut jelly and sticky rice. My husband also had a foot massage, although he said it was rather painful! And I bought two nice little bags for around £10. The heat and humidity was something else though so you couldn’t spend all day walking around. Afterwards, we headed to the air-conditioned MBK centre, which has 2,000 shops!
On our third day we headed out to Chinatown, although we didn’t realise we were a bit too early for their market. Luckily there is the Wat Trimitr temple, which is home to the largest Golden Buddha. It weighs 5 tonnes and is 3 meters tall. It only costs 40 Baht (£1) to see it and you can take a tour if you prefer.
That evening, we went on a dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya river. We did one the last time we were in Bangkok and loved it so we knew we wanted to do one again. There are many boats that do them but not many traditional rice boats, which is what we wanted as the others are very modern. We went with Manohra cruises, through the Anantara Riverside Hotel and it was wonderful. Lovely boat, great service and delicious Thai food. The sights of the temples at night are just something that can’t be missed if you’re in Bangkok.
On our last day before heading to the Maldives, we visited the Pratunam market which is one of Bangkok’s major markets and is Thailand’s biggest clothing and fashion market. It’s situated under Bangkok’s tallest building – the Baiyoke Sky Hotel, which is 88 storeys high. We didn’t buy any clothes, however we did try these delicious coconut pancakes from a street vendor.
As we had to get up really early for our flight we ate at our hotel restaurant, The Penthouse, which had amazing panoramic views of Bangkok (it’s on the 35th floor). The food was really good too! When we return from the Maldives we have two more nights in Bangkok and we’ll be staying on the river so we look forward to exploring it more during the day.