When in Bangkok !

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Photo of When in Bangkok ! 1/14 by charu rawat
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Photo of When in Bangkok ! 8/14 by charu rawat
The infamous Nana Plaza!
Photo of When in Bangkok ! 9/14 by charu rawat
Photo of When in Bangkok ! 10/14 by charu rawat
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Photo of When in Bangkok ! 14/14 by charu rawat
Enjoying a refreshing swim at the Erawan Waterfall

“ There is so much madness in a big city. Feel the anonymity of being in a foreign city surrounded by hundreds and thousands of people all going in different directions. It’ll scare you, overwhelm you, teach you and make you love yourself for doing this.”

My idea of making this backpacking trip was to stay away from exactly what I was told that Bangkok is – an overly-commercialized city, so I wasn’t really too thrilled about roaming in the city, but I guess now if someone asked me about visiting Bangkok, I’d say “Yeah! Totally go for it”, at least as long as one’s visiting Thailand, stay in Bangkok on the weekend at the least and experience it for all its madness.

During my trip, I stayed in Bangkok thrice. Once when I landed from Hyderabad, the second when I had to take my flight out of Bangkok to Phnom Penh in Cambodia and then the last time when I had to take my flight out to Hyderabad. So needless to say I kind of ended up spending a day or a day and a half every time I came to Bangkok., which also gets me to this part of Bangkok, since I don’t have a story to tell here, I’m just going to give you my guide to this city!

Getting around –

Public transport is expensive. Be it the bus or the metro. There are two kinds of metros– MRT (underground) and BTS (Skytrain) and the city is pretty well connected via metro and will probably be your best bet if you want to commute from end to another because of the massive traffic.

Uber and GrabTaxi are two apps that you should definitely have if you need a cab come what may because the drivers don’t believe in using the meters so unless you want to burn a hole in your pocket, use the apps.

Though once you get inside one, they drive as if you’re in the Fast and the Furious movie, so tighten that seatbelt.You also have motorbikes that are virtually there at every nook and corner and have drivers who will drive you around the city for a fixed price. I guess that’s the cheapest way of getting around because everyone kind of uses that only.

Not many people know English so either learn a bit of Thai if you plan to stay here for longer or use some translation app. My first day on arriving in Bangkok it took me about 3 hours to reach my accommodation because no one could understand a thing I said and well I couldn’t understand a thing they said either. But, I somehow managed to board the public bus from outside the Airport, get to the metro station, took the metro and with a bit help from Google Maps I managed to reach my destination.

Food-

I, for one love Thai Cuisine. So I was really excited about trying the food that Thailand had to offer. Bangkok has a killer street food scene, with roasted meat and seafood on a stick to Curry Noodles, Pad Thai , Tom Yam, Red and Green curries to feed the foodie in you. It’s all pretty cheap, nd you can manage a filling meal in 50 Baht. There are street food stalls almost in every part of the city and the best part for me was that they cook up whatever you want right there in front of your eyes within 10 minutes and it’s like magic. In a big pan, there go the shrimps and veggies and then the sauces and spices, the cook will toss it all up in the air while the smell in itself will make you salivate. I couldn’t get enough of the food there. I guess that’s the reason that the only thing I ended up bringing back from Thailand were the pastes and spices. If Thai food isn’t your thing, you’ll find a whole lotta multi-cuisine restaurant in every mall there that will do it for you, and well if you’re a vegetarian then good luck. And if it’s 2am and no place open there’s ALWAYS that 7-Eleven open 24*7 that is 30m close to where you live and has some decent packaged food.

There are a lot of hostels in Bangkok that you can stay in. You can also book accommodation in a decent 3 star Hotel for 1000 INR a night via booking.com or makemytrip.com that have some great deals literally every night. You can also try Airbnb, I did it the first time and it was a really good experience for me. If you don’t mind living with a stranger you can give CouchSurfing a try as well, there are tons of people ready to host you in Bangkok. If you do want to roll this way then it’s probably a good idea to find hosts well before time as people take a lot of time to get back to you, and well for free accommodation you have to go through the effort of sending multiple requests/messages out .

My first time around I lived in the Phra Ram 9 area and it was pretty good, it was well connected to the metro and surrounded by massive malls(Central Plaza, IT Mall, Tesco Lotus) and skyscrapers, everything you need to get a “big city” feel.

My second and third time I lived in the Saphan Khwai area of Bangkok , again well connected to the BTS line, and honestly I really liked living here. It has a few nice small cafes and authentic street food stalls that give it a china-town feel.

Where to go-

My favourite bit. Nightlife- Now since I was in the city in breaks, here and there with really awkward timings I wasn’t really able to visit everything. Bangkok obviously has a great nightlife, hard to ignore the scenes on the Khao San Road and Sukhumvit, You will be spoilt for choices. I went with a few friends of mine to the Nana area which is the notorious center of Bangkok with all its Go-Go bars and we went inside a few strip clubs for fun. They don’t charge you for entry but you have to of course buy drinks in there for as long as you want to be.

Markets- Visit the markets. Period. Irrespective of being a shopaholic or not. Bangkok markets have everything to offer you.

Bangkok has a lot of floating markets on the outskirts of the city. Taling Chan is one that you can try. You can ride a long tail boat for 100 baht, shop a bit and enjoy the lovely food. The only thing you have to keep in mind here is that you have to come early at 8am to avoid the heat and the crowd.

The Siam Square shopping district is a Fashion lover’s PARADISE. From chique shoes to trendy clothes, it’s HARD to walk by every single one of the stalls without buying anything. No wonder everyone in Bangkok has their A game on when it comes to fashion.

I also visited the Chatuchak Weekend Market which is one of the world’s largest market covering 35 acres and home to more than 8000 stalls. I got lost in there a lot of times, that big.You will basically get everything you want in there at bargainable prices. Since the market is only open on the weekend, make it early at around 9 am. And literally shop till you drop.

Classes- Bangkok has a variety of fun classes to offer, be it at Bounce Inc, or an Aerial Silk or Trapeze class or a MMA class to Cooking classes. You can book a slot online and give it a go.

A whole day to kill? HEAD TO ERAWAN. My last time Bangkok, I was there for 1 and a half days and hence went to the Erawan National Park.You can take a bus to Kanchanaburi which is 4 hrs long then take another bus to Erawan which is approximately an hour long. The park has beautiful hills and forests and rivers and limestone cliffs. I took an open taxi ride from Kanchanaburi to Erawan and the entire journey was so beautiful.

The park is famous for the Erawan Waterfalls which is basically a 7 tiered waterfall, each one separated from the other by a few hundred meters so you have to walk to each one of them. The water is absolutely cold and refreshing and you have many fishes inside the lagoons that’ll nibble away at your feet giving you a free pedi, yikes! The park closes by 4:30pm so try coming in early in the morning so you can visit the other caves in the park and see the sun bring out the turquoise blue colour in the lagoons.The only thing to keep in mind here is the bus timings so plan this one carefully. Buses in Bangkok usually leave well before the scheduled time so it’s easy to miss your bus.

From the animated billboard covered skyscrapers to the hundreds of street markets everywhere, this city is bound to get you in one way or another, be it through sight, smell or taste. And you will love every bit of it!

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