OakMonster’s Quick Guide to BKK

Hi kids! Long time no see! 🙂 Still busy over here but I figure I post this info out for you guys to start talking and getting more suggestions out for my friend Celeste.

You see, Celeste is going on a tour of Asia with her boyfriend, stopping in Bangkok for 3-4 days. She has asked me about what to do and where to go.

After referring her to Thai-Blogs.com, shamelessly, I wrote the following piece of tourism nugget of the places I like best. Please note that this is ONLY my opinion. But I’m sure Celeste will appreciate everyone’s input as well.

Here goes my quick effort. A piece written after a long day at work and a couple of beers… 😉

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Dear Celeste,

Okay. For 3-4 days in the city, you’re going to have to hit these spots. Don’t worry. Any cabby with English skills will know where to take you.

First rule, remember that anything that is written with “Ph” and “Th” or “Kh”, the H is silent. Once you know that, communicating with the locals get much easier. i.e. Chao Phraya River – reads Chao PRAya River, not FRAya. 🙂

Second rule, just don’t go out there if you’re in the country on the weekend without checking local English-language newspaper first. We are having a lot of political rallies on the weekends at different spots in the city. That would a) make traffic worse, and b) be a chance the crowd would gather where you’re going especially if you’re heading for Old Town.

Third, bargain down HALF of asking price if you’re buying a stall or night bazarre/market type. You must fake that you’re not really that interested. If you show the sign of “Oh my god I sooo want this!”, you just lost your haggle power! 🙂 Same goes with anywhere in Asia really.

Fourth, what I’d recommend to you could vary depending on where you’re staying. Getting across Bangkok is easy if you’re close to the Sky Train route. Tell me where you’re going to be staying, and I can help you along so much better.

Where to go in Bangkok also relies on what day you’re in town. But for SURE you just can’t miss these places.

1. Temple of Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace – “Wat Prakaew”.
Standard Bangkok trip. Cost you a few bucks plus cab fare. You can spend most of the day wandering around the historical area. In the same area, there’s the National Theater and the National Museum. And of course, Chao Phraya River. Catch another short cab ride to the famous Kao San Road, backpacker’s heaven and trendy Thai kids’ haven.

2. Patpong
Yes, the Red Light district. As much as I hate the stereotype of Thai = prostitution, but I must recommend Patpong. Not only for the go-go bar gawking purpose, but the shopping there is divine at night. Tons of stalls offering “Louis Vuitton” purses. They close the streets down once the sun goes down. But watch out for the folks hawking the “Show upstairs”. Brandon and my friend’s friend from Australia were quite horrified. LOL.

3. Suan Lump Night Bazarre.
A sanctioned night bazarre by Lumpini Park. Huge outdoor bazarre open nightly. Great food. Great bargain. Just around the corner from the Thai boxing stadium. You can hop from Patpong to here on a cab.

4. Soi Lalai Sap
This one is a local secret spot. Nestled in the alley way of Bangkok Bank on Silom Road, the heart of the Financial district, is a strip of shopping paradise that comes alive from 11-2 on a weekday. The whole alley plus a few air-conditioned ground floor spaces are packed with everything from clothes, suits, shoes, dresses and evening gowns, jewelry and gem stones, to food and fresh fruit. But only from 11-2 weekdays.

5. The Red Cross Snake Farm
Just around the corner from Patpong and Silom is the Thai Red Cross. They have a snake farm and show in the morning for affordable price. Money goes toward the operations and other functions of the Red Cross.

6. Siam Square, Siam Paragon, and MBK Mall
Siam Square has been THE place to be for generations of Thai teens. But at the same token, it is a shopper’s paradise. The Siam Paragon is the new high class mega mall that just opened. With Hermes and Versace peppers the mall, other brand names deep in the department store, and Ferrari showroom on the top floor, still nothing beats their massive food court on the ground level. Everything you could possibly imagined! MBK on the other hand is down to earth everyday stuff.

7. Jim Thompson House & Museum
Jim Thompson, an American, revolutionized Thai silk industry back in WWII where he ended up falling in love for Thailand and the region. He built his traditional Thai house and today it is a museum. Wonderful place to visit and only a Sky Train ride away!

If you’re there on the weekend, definitely check out Jatujak (or Chatuchak) Market. You can get there via the subway. The JJ is THE mother of all bazarre/swapmeet type place. Everything is dirt cheap. And they have EVERYTHING.

If you guys can afford it, check to see what your hotel has to offer when it comes to tour packages. We’ve found one years back that was an affordable day trip to go to the Floating Market, just outside of Bangkok, and some other attractions all over the city. That would be worth your money.

If you also have a day to spare, and once again, check with your hotel, see if they have a day trip to Ayuttaya. Ayuttaya was once the capital of Siam. The city was massive and grand before we got our butt kicked by Burma who burned down the city and took our gold to build there frickin’ Golden Pagoda. (Yeah, I’m still bitter about something that happened over 200 years ago.) Some tour drives you out there and back, but there’s a package of driving there and riding the boat down the river back, or riding the boat both directions.

Let me know if you want more (or less) guidance!


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