September 20th, 2017
Any trip becomes more fun, adventurous if it doesn’t go as planned. So, I planned to visit a friend in Bangkok city while travelling in Northern Thailand on a field school trip. Luckily, my friend had to travel out of the city exactly on the dates I planned to visit him. And, that is how I got the chance to explore Bangkok on my own. I covered some of the attractions over the weekend. I did use public transport for two reasons – to save money and to know the local life closely. It was indeed a blissful experience; my first ever solo travelling trip in a foreign country. I am going to share the details of my experience throughout the trip.
Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun –
Grand palace – The most enticing must visit attraction of the city, without which no visit would be complete, is the stunning Grand Palace. It is a big complex, home of the Thai King for 150 years, the Royal court, administrative seat of government and temple of Emerald Buddha. Strict rules are placed for dress code such as legs should be covered, sleeveless shirts are not allowed considering grand palace is a sacred place. Entrance fee is 500, which allows visiting all the buildings in the complex.
Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha) – Wat Pho is the famous temple of reclining Buddha. The statue is covered in golden leaf and 46 meters long. This temple also has a big area covered and houses many temples other than reclining Buddha. It also falls in the pool of must see places for first visit to Bangkok. Entry ticket fee is 100 Baht.
Wat Arun – Wat Arun is located across the River opposite to the Wat Pho temple. This is famously known as temple of Dawn. When I visited it was under construction and covered with scaffoldings. Nevertheless, it was a nice experience to climb up and see the view from the top. The carvings on temple walls are spectacular. Entrance is just 50 Baht here.
All these attraction can be visited in a single day. Opening hours are generally between 9 AM – 4 PM. It is easy to take the boat/ferry ride from Saphan Taksin BTS station. There are different kinds of boat taxis/ferries available. You can find one that suits you at Bangkok.com. Ferries are also available at dirt cheap prices to cross the river to visit Wat Arun.
Floating market –
Khlong Lat Meyom – Though ‘Damnoen’ floating market is the most popular worldwide, Khlong Lat Meyom is one of the closest to the city and easily accessible. This market is smaller than other huge touristy markets but still holds the authenticity and charm of local floating market. It is a good place to have a feel of local lifestyle, not many foreign visitors come here, hence mainly crowded by locals. It is a perfect place for foodies who thrive on different kinds of food.
Be there around 9:30 – 10ish, this is the time when market comes to life. Not many visitors have arrived yet and you can have the whole market for yourself, roaming around and tasting various food items. They also have boat rides available for tourists – long tail boat and motor driven boats. It is up to you which one entices you, I personally would prefer the long tail boats. For international tourists ticket prices are 100 Baht for diesel boat and 20 Baht for long tail. I could get away from paying more as a foreigner by telling that I am student of Chiang Mai University
‘Taling Chan’ is a couple of kilometers far away from the ‘Khlong Lat Meyom’ and larger in size. Here you can board a long tail boat at very cheap prices to visit the neighboring Khlongs and can have an insider view of the daily life of locals. These markets are open on weekends and public holidays during 9:30 AM – 4 PM.
How to reach – There are different options available – Taxi, Boat plus Taxi, Sky train plus taxi. I used skytrain and taxi and the fare was quite reasonable. I took SkyTrain from the city and then got down at ‘Bang Wa’ BTS station then hired a taxi to reach to the floating market.
Local market – ‘Chatuchak Market’ is listed as top 10 must visit attractions of Bangkok. If you happen to be in Bangkok for a weekend, plan to visit this market. Its enormous size and various collections of merchandise would not let you down. The 35-acre area of Chatuchak is home to more than 8,000 market stalls; it is inevitable to get lost in the labyrinth of hundreds alleyways. To make it easy, the alleyways are grouped into sections and there are 27 sections in total. You can find more than one category of goods in one section and same categories of goods will be seen in another. Even if shopping is not on your mind, this market is a must see to experience the uniqueness of the place.
Getting to Chatuchak market is convenient with Skytrain (BTS) and Subway (MRT). You can hire a taxi but that will be the slowest and the most expensive option. I took Skytrain from ‘Sala Daeng’ station and changed to Sukhumvit line at ‘Siam’ station and then got down at ‘Mo Chit BTS station. After exiting the station by exit number 1 just by following the crowd, will take you to the market.
If you want to use the Subway (MRT), travel to Chatuchak Park Station, shown as blue line on the map. The route for MRT is different and covers different areas of Bangkok.
Ancient City of Siam – The lesser known, lesser crowded and a paradise for people who want to take a peek into the ancient ‘Siam’/Bangkok. This park is a replica of ancient kingdom called ‘Ayutthaya’. You witness all kinds of ancient styles of architecture that were an integral part of building houses, castles, temples etc. in those times. This place is an open and huge museum, allow few hours to visit it properly, there are cafes and small food stalls around to eat or you can bring your own food for picnic.
To reach to ancient Siam – buy a BTS (Skytrain) ticket to ‘Samrong’, which is the last stop on Sukhumvit line. Get down at Samrong and hire a taxi, which should cost 120 Baht if it runs on meter (stats are from 2017).
I have also visited Soi Cowbay, which is a Red light street right next to the mall ‘Terminal 21’. If you are interested to take a peek at the seedy side of Bangkok, this could be nice place to go. It is casual and safe for even solo female travelers to just walk around the street and click pictures.
Rooftop bars like Banyan tree, Sky Bar and others are popular for their spectacular views at the Sunset. Bear in mind that due to fame food and drinks are overpriced. Tourists visit the place for the view, stay there for a while, order a drink or two and leave.
The backpackers’ paradise ‘Khao San’ road and ‘China Town’ are also listed as must see attractions of Bangkok on your first visit. Both are in close proximity of Grand Palace/Wat Pho temples. Easily accessible via MTS or Boat ride.
Add mridula.malav to your subscriptions feedmridula.malav