The post below was written when we were coming back from Bangkok in January 2015, but only managed to post it now. Hope you enjoy!
We have just come back from spending a long weekend in Bangkok, and we really enjoyed it! It was an easy and short trip from Singapore, so we set off early in Saturday morning. We got into BKK airport by 10, and decided to take the train into town. Since we were travelling light, we decided to go for a walk around the train station, in a place called Pratunam and its English neighbour, platinum plaza. Pratunam is a neighbourhood where there are tons of little local shops and restaurants.
We did not know the food didn’t open til later, so we had a bit of an aimless walk without finding the stalls! After a little while, Mariana asked a local seller and she explained where the food shops would pop up in the afternoon. In platinum plaza we had a bit of a look around, and this is certainly the place to buy clothes… They have some pretty good deals, and all kinds of local brands! Most of the stuff they sell seems relatively on the small side, but the selection is huge!
By this time, we were starving (having only had breakfast at the coffee bean in changi airport) so we went to a noodle shop that was quite recommended. When we got there, there was a pretty long queue, but in total we only waited about 15 mins. The guy cooking the noodles outside was really on a roll! The speed at which he churned plates out was amazing. They also had some pretty nice pork stew, so we enjoyed the meal. It would have been nice to get bigger portions, but it was good. In the street we also found some nice pandan cakes (looked like pandan Madeleins) as well as some coconut pancakes… Got them hot off the grill!
After lunch, we started walking towards the hotel, going through a few different areas of town. At the end of the day, we had walked about 12k! Not bad at all for a holiday…
The hotel we stayed at was the Lebua at State Tower. Yes, yes, it IS the one from the Hangover 2. As you walk near the hotel, in a nice area of town called Silom, you can see that it looks a bit run down… This worry was quickly eliminated when we walked into the lobby, as everything looked very new and upscale. We were informed that we were being upgraded (if we accepted a city view instead of a river view) and we promptly accepted, as the new floor was on floor 54 instead of 23. The room was huge and modern, and had a pretty nice view of the city. We had booked dinner for 7, but we quickly changed and asked the concierge for a massage recommendation near the hotel as we did not have too much time. They recommended the Silom Bodyworks one block away as a cheap and clean option. The place was pretty decent and really cheap, and we got a foot massage and a Thai massage, it was nice! After relaxing, off to the hotel for dinner!
The hotel has an area called The Dome, which is a group of restaurants and bars spread across the top floors of the hotel (52 and 67). We went for a drink at the sky bar on level 67, were you get an awesome view of the city at night. They claim this is the highest alfresco bar in the world – but I have heard this claim before from 1Altitude in Singapore, one of our favourite bars – not sure who is right, but will do some research! Anyway, I digress… The view is amazing! After a quick drink we went down to level 52, where we had an absolutely delicious dinner at Breeze. The service was amazing, the food was delicious, it was just a lovely experience!
On our second day in Bangkok we got up early and had a spectacular breakfast at the hotel (on the Mizu floor – apparently the 13th, but they changed the name…), and got ready to set off for a day of boat riding, temple visiting, massage, and more!!
On the way to the dock, we ran into a retired police man that gave us some pointers on getting a cheap boat (it might have, actually probably was, a set up to go to a different boat station, but the price was right, the boat was ok, and everything seemed fine, so we went for it). Then, we were off on our first tuktuk ride of the trip! Once arrived at the boat station, we found we had a few hours of boating ahead of us, which included visiting temples and markets. Getting around by boat was actually quite good, as it avoided lots of traffic on the streets… This is definitely a way to move around!
The boat first took us to a very beautiful temple called Wat Arun. It is across the river from the grand palace, and has a pretty nice view from the top. Definitely recommended! We had about 20 minutes there, and then had to catch the boat to go on to Taling Chan, which is an area further out of town that has a floating market. To get there, we had to get through a lock on the river, which was an interesting experience… Think small scale Panama Canal.
The market only had a handful of boats, but it was still a nice experience! Lots of colours and smells, and some very nice food.
On the way back we were dropped off at Wat Pho, which is a huge Reclining Buddha statue… It was very impressive.
Finally, we were running short on time, so we headed for another quick TukTuk ride to Wat Saket, a small temple on top of a hill which was nice, but not the nicest one that day.
By is time we had to get back to the hotel area as we had booked a massage at a place called Divana Spa, Which was just unbelievable. The place was beautiful and the massage was amazing, definitely recommended.
To end the day, after being completely relaxed, we headed for a very nice dinner at Issaya Siamese Club. This was an incredible local dinner. The food and drinks were delicious, and the place is set in an old house that is full of character. Really very recommended. The chef is recognised as one of Thailands best. A reservation is highly recommended. After dinner, time to go to sleep!
On our last few hours in Bangkok, we went to visit the Grand Palace. This is without a doubt the highlight of the trip, and can not be missed on a visit to the city. The different buildings, both religious and political are incredible, and you truly get to see a very wide range of architecture, culture, and history. They also have a periodic changing of the guard which was quite nice to see. The photos do a much better job about showing this amazing place.
After the palace, we had to go back to the hotel to get our bag and set off to the airport. On the way back we also decided to take the train, which was a completely painless experience. This is definitely a cheap and cheerful way to get to and from the city.
Bangkok is definitely a place to go back to. It has so many things to eat, see and do, and we felt that while we got a good taste, we would like more!