When Bangkok Beckons

Tripoto
1st Apr 2015
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 1/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
Jim Thompson's House
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 2/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
When in Bangkok, ride a Tuk Tuk
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 3/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
An old fashioned juke box
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 4/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
Small temples outside most establishments
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 5/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
Mini flea market outside a mall
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 6/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
Take in the city from BTS Siam station
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 7/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
BTS Saphan Taksin - buildings, rails and a river
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 8/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
An old Chinese Temple
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 9/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 10/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
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The view from Distil at The Lebua
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 12/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 13/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
Love Locks
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 14/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
Asiatique
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 15/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
Street Food - Oh my!
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 16/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
The romance in these phone booths
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 17/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
Riverside - Time stopped here
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 18/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 19/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
Oh yum!
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The Grand Palace
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 21/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
The Grand Palace
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The Grand Palace
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 23/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
Wat Pho
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 24/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
Dusit Museum
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 25/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
Some places don't change with times
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 26/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
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How enticing!
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The Victory Monument
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What brilliant advertising!
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The Cafe at Loftel22
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 32/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
Outside the hostel
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 33/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
Riverside
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 34/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
Lockers at Loftel22
Photo of When Bangkok Beckons 35/35 by Anusha Ranganathan
The bunk beds at Loftel22

What does one do when a long weekend approaches and tickets are cheap? Well, I took myself Bangkok when this happened!

Important tip: Get your visa beforehand.

I landed at Suvaranabhumi at 10 am and was out of the airport by 11.30 am after grabbing my luggage, a quick bite and buying a local SIM card. Landing at a convenient hour made it possible for me to take the MRT from the airport to MRT Phaya Thai, from where I took the BTS to reach BTS Nana from where my Hostel(Cheqinn) was about 200 metres away.

I like switching accommodations in each city I visit so I can see different areas and explore little things that Tripadvisor, Wikitravel and Lonely Planet don't tell you about. I stayed at Cheqinn(Sukhumvit area) for 2 nights and at Loftel22(Riverside) for 2 nights.

After checking into the hostel and getting settled, I decided to go exploring - starting with exploring for the sake of my hungry tummy of course! Pho and fruit from street vendors made a great lunch, especially as I ended it with my favourite bubble tea that is available everywhere.

The Jim Thompson House was the main agenda for day 1. The house is interesting and the architecture is spectacular. Jim Thompson's story however is even more intriguing. But while the museum was the star of the day, I was tickled by the little library next door, even better was the old fashioned jukebox that was there. The nice thing about Bangkok, I realised are these little surprises - an old fashioned jukebox, a gaming parlor, a few temples that have not made it to the "popular list", the hospitality and Kaizen coffee.

Retail therapy and mall hopping was the agenda for the evening. Gourmet Market at Siam Centre, cheesecake and tea at Harrods and shopping at Bath and Body Works and Sephora was the perfect way to end the day. The Siam Center is huge with endless shopping options. While most things cost about as much as they do in India, some chocolate, teas, coffees and certain cooking supplies are available here in plentiful at a fraction of what they cost back home.

Dinner was a love affair with street food. The streets of Sukhumvit really come alive at night with several late night food stalls offering a myriad of dining options. Many cafes have bands playing which coupled with the street dining, the youth and the tourists makes for an amazing experience.

Day 2

Day 2 was dedicated to exploring the CBD, the Erawan Shrine and the several malls that surround it. Checking out a few small stores introduced me to local teas, cooking supplies and skin care products which were surprisingly effective. Around 5 pm, I made my way to Sky Bar(on the 57th floor of The Lebua ). The hotel can be slightly elusive for a first timer in Bangkok with a penchant for using public transport as much as possible. This however, worked in my favour, introducing me to some new friends. 

A few excited introductions, a few stories later, I found myself with a Berritini and the view of the city from the Sky Bar. Watching the sun set on the Chao Phraya made the hole in my pocket burn a lot lesser! After this beautiful sunset, I made my way to Asiatique Night Market, for some dinner, a little window shopping and some fantastic views of the city. The love locks at Asiatique are interesting and the heart shaped locks are equal parts cheesy and cute.

I moved to the Riverside on day 3. To me this is the part of the city where time has stopped. This area, like a petulant child, has almost refused to change over the years. The houses look like they have been there for a hundred years! You still see gaming parlours here.To draw an analogy, Riverside is not unlike Chandni Chowk in Delhi.

After moving into my new hostel, I went to the Grand Palace. The Palace needs at least 2-3 hours. The detailing and the several structures are impressive. The windows stood out to me. The shape and design feels like it could belong in a Disney castle.

After I was done with the palace I went exploring the ferry piers. The Yodpiman pier is a beautiful tourist trap, especially if you like ice cream(Mo an Moshi have an ice cream buffet at THB99!). The Maharat Pier near the Grand Palace is a nice place to relax with several cute and quirky eateries and a couple of stores to shop at. Post pier hopping, I spent a few hours exploring the Riverside area, the smalls temples and beautifully old fashioned streets, antique stores and stores selling some stunning furniture. Shipping furniture and curio from here makes perfect sense. The furniture is beautifully carved and detailed and does not appear bulky at all. The brass figurines,the silk puppets and screens are beautiful. Making a trip to Thailand would be a good idea if you are looking at getting the interiors done for your houses.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner were from street vendors. The Pho, rice and meat, fruit and the glutenous savory snack are things one can really, really gorge on.

On day 4 I went to see the Dusit palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun. The Dusit Palace appealed to me immediately. It looks like it has come straight out of a fairytale. The lawns and the structure set each other off perfectly, the artefacts in the museum are stunning. The Palace looks light, airy, grand and understated at the same time! The visual lightness and openness of this palace make the heat almost bearable!

Wat Pho was next on my list. It is a short ferry ride away from Dusit. I took a pink motorcycle taxi to the ferry pier and boy was I relieved to get down unscathed!The mo-taxi looked too cute to be that scary! This general area is not as convenient as the parts of the city serviced by the MRT and BTS. Google maps are really a blessing here.

Wat Pho is a beautiful temple. I assume it is always crowded, but is definitely worth a visit. The Reclining Buddha looks serene, smiling and welcoming. The detailing and stories depicted on the walls are sharp and beautiful. Do make sure you see Buddha's feet.

Next on my agenda was Wat Arun, which was a very short ferry ride away. This temple however was being restored and I could not see a lot of it. What I did see of it was beautiful. Taking pictures of yourself in ethnic Thai costume is fun too!

After the Wat hopping, I made my way to the Riverside mall for some Pizza and coffee and to buy some artefacts. This mall and the several stores in the local area are good places to buy antiques. A large silk puppet of ,"Dusakan" or as we know him,"Ravan" will go back home with you if you are weak willed.

Next on the list for this day was a quick visit to the Victory Monument and to the street markets around it. The monument is a monolithic structure at the junction of several roads. It is simple and yet effective. The street markets in this area is where the locals shop. While one may not want to buy much here(the endless display of shoes and clothes gets tiring), it is an interesting place to just walk around and see the city for what it is, beyond the tourist trappings.

Dinner was at Terminal 21 near MRT Asok, the food court is huge with every cuisine one can think of(Sushi, burgers, pasta, Thai food, Malay, Indonesian! How does one pick?), it can be a little chaotic, like the city itself but it is interesting and fun, just like the city!

I only had until 2 pm on day 5, after which I had to leave for the airport. I spent the time just walking around Riverside and then at Terminal 21(the shopping mall). I also found time to buy ten packs of Wrigleys 5 gum(it costs 25% of what it does in Bangalore!). I left for the airport an hour earlier(around 2) so I could pick my seats and explore the stores at the airport.

Bangkok is an extremely interesting city, and is a convenient gateway to Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar. There is also Ayuththaya, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Phuket that are easily accessible from here. This city is worth visiting several times just to relax(and shop). The one thing I have taken back with me is how pleasant and cheerful people are. So book your tickets and say Sawasdee to Bangkok!

#SwipeRightToTravel

Jim Thompson was an interesting man, or he is an interesting man - one doesn't know what happened of him after he went missing from the Cameron Highlands.The several houses put together are beautiful, and are beautifully restored. The artefacts inside are equally interesting - especially the Chinese blue pottery stools with a compartment for coal to be put it, to keep your seats warm in winter!

Photo of Jim Thompson House ถนน พระราม 1 Bangkok Thailand by Anusha Ranganathan

This is a beautiful palace. The architecture is spectacular.The Museum of the Emerald Buddha Temple, the Collection of coins and the pavillion/museum displaying arms are interesting. The colours and the detailing in the structures, the beautiful windows and the armed guards are worth one's attention.

Photo of Grand Palace Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang Bangkok Thailand by Anusha Ranganathan
Photo of Grand Palace Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang Bangkok Thailand by Anusha Ranganathan

Easily accessed by the ferry, this temple with the huge Buddha is truly beautiful.

Photo of Wat Pho Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang Bangkok Thailand by Anusha Ranganathan
Photo of Wat Pho Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang Bangkok Thailand by Anusha Ranganathan

A beautiful temple, it was being restored when I visited. It is a short ferry ride away from Wat Pho(costs around THB2) The little that I could see of this temple was amazing. You can pose for pictures wearing traditional Thai outfits.

Take a motorcycle taxi from the Grand Palace to reach this beautiful palace. This palace is more open and airy, and not as colorful. However, it is extremely beautiful, I was more impressed by this beautiful, well lit palace than I was by the Grand Palace(But that is just my humble opinion.)Take the Audio guide and educate yourself about all the grand installations and artwork as part of the museum.

Photo of Dusit Palace Bangkok Thailand by Anusha Ranganathan

connected to the BTS by a bridge, you have the Siam Discovery Center, A huge hi-street mall, Madame Tussauds and a huge variety of food choices.

The quirkiest, coolest hostel I have stayed at. Located in the Riverside district, it is a 5 minute walk from Si Phraya ferry pier and about a ten minute walk from the MRT Hualamphong. The cafe is cute and has great coffee and sandwiches. The area around it is really cool, like it hasn't bothered to change with the times or modernise at all. All this at INR600 per night!

Photo of Loftel 22 Hostel ถนน เจริญกรุง กรุงเทพมหานคร ประเทศไทย by Anusha Ranganathan
Photo of Loftel 22 Hostel ถนน เจริญกรุง กรุงเทพมหานคร ประเทศไทย by Anusha Ranganathan
Photo of Loftel 22 Hostel ถนน เจริญกรุง กรุงเทพมหานคร ประเทศไทย by Anusha Ranganathan
Photo of Loftel 22 Hostel ถนน เจริญกรุง กรุงเทพมหานคร ประเทศไทย by Anusha Ranganathan

Located at about 5 minutes of a walk from BTS Nana, this is the perfect location for any backpacker to stay at. With a couple of 7 Elevens, about 15 eateries, beauty parlours and all the street vendors within 100 meters makes it an ideal place to stay in. The entire street comes alive at night, with restaurants that open only around midnight and shack-like restaurants with live performers and great music resulting in parties every night.

A nice shopping centre to pick up artefacts from. Do check out the furniture stores and other stores selling Burmese antiques.The Tom and Toms coffee shop has good coffee and pizza, and an even better view.

This airport/travel themed mall is fun and is interesting. Each of the nine floors is made to look like a different city. So you can go to London, Paris, the Caribbean, Tokyo, Rome and a few other cities, all in a matter of a few hours!The Caribbean floor has an amazing food court. The supermarket - Gourmet Market has a lot of international foods and a salad bar. Shop at the other floors, tuck in at the Caribbean!

This is a monolithic structure has been built in honour of the army, navy, air force, police and the militia. The bridge around it provides great views of the city. However, the real fun lies in the general area where normal people shop and eat. The little kiosk like shops here sell great clothes, shoes and what have you!

Photo of Victory Monument Thanon Phaya Thai Bangkok Thailand by Anusha Ranganathan
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