Visiting Bangkok: 4 days in the capital of Thailand
First things that came to my head when I thought how to describe the capital of Thailand were chaotic, crowded & crazy traffic. They all seem negative, but the positive things are definitely great food & cheap prices. In this post I’ll describe Bangkok from what we saw and experienced during our short stay. Also, I’ll tell you some tips and information about Bangkok I’ll think might be useful, when you decide to check it out yourself.
Bangkok is definitely an extremely HUGE city. The population is over 10 million. For me, it has been one of the largest cities I’ve visited. It’s truly crowded and packed with people. You should be ready for busy streets and crazy traffic. The capital of Thailand could be described also as the city that never sleeps, because it seems like there are people everywhere 24/7. Whether they’re working, eating out, driving somewhere, chilling on the streets or doing whatever they want. A sidenote – be ready that basically no one understands you, because they don’t speak English at all.
The weather in the end of November and beginning of December was extremely humid and hot. It was around 30-33 degrees of Celsius. Midday was incredibly hot and around that time we didn’t walk around very much. It’s better to walk around after 16.00. The sun sets around 17.30. The evening is a little bit better, but it never really went under 29 degrees. So, be ready for the heat! (We got the Airbnb hotel, which had a pool, so this might be also a good idea, if you’re looking for a place to stay – check if they have a pool!)
For me, the most disturbing thing about Bangkok is the mess. The streets are dirty, full of garbage and they often smell. There are people taking care of the garbage, but it seems like there isn’t as much people taking care of it as there are the people, who are making the mess.
Also, they use a lot of plastic. With every purchase they give you a plastic bag or two, straws if you buy drinks and plastic spoons if you buy yogurt or something. All the food is already packaged with plastic bags and/or wraps. You can’t buy fruit and vegetables without them being packaged. I carried my own fabric bag around all the time and tried to deny the plastic bags, but they were always so fast with packaging your purchases, that you’re often not even able to say no.
It’s sad to see that Europe is trying so hard to decrease the usage of plastic, meanwhile in Asia, nobody is not even trying to do something about it. And there are millions and millions of people living there and consuming the plastic daily. Sad, but true.
The traffic and getting around
The traffic is truly quite chaotic. My first impression was, what the heck is going on here? There are thousands of cars, motorbikes, tuk-tuks, trucks and buses. Seems like you have to be daring and fast in order to get around. Motorbikes are definitely the best way to get around because they can pass by the cars. We didn’t rent any vehicles and decided to use public transportation and to walk.
The sidewalks are almost non-existent or seriously narrow, so walking around is quite difficult. Also the paths are extremely uncomfortable and uneven. There aren’t many traffic lights to cross the road, so you just have to be brave and cross it wherever you can. We mainly used the metro to go to places, which were more further from our Airbnb hotel and decided to walk. The Metro and SkyTrain are great options and they aren’t so expensive. The price depends on your destination, but it can be around 20-45 bahts per person (around 0.60-1.35€).
The food and drinks
You can get super cheap and tasty food in Bangkok. We decided to eat breakfast in our Airbnb hotel room, because we had a little kitchen area. But lunch or dinner, snacks and drinks we had from the streets. We tried Pad Thai, mango sticky rice, milk bubble tea, chilli chicken, shrimps, garlic chicken, durian ice cream and lots of pineapple and mangos. So, our favourite was chicken for sure and of course the truly yummy mangos and pineapples. Durian ( a popular local fruit) was awful, the taste and the smell both. I don’t understand how people can eat it. For me, it was a big no-no (and I’m never picky).
The best way is to buy street food for example from Khaosan Road – there are many street vendors, as well as restaurants with cheap prices. We got Mango Sticky Rice for 50 bahts and Pad Thai with shrimps and egg also for 50 bahts (this is 1.49€). The restaurants in the city center may be of course more expensive. We visited Cabbages & Condoms, which is a famous restaurant, there we spent maybe 350 bahts (10.48€), but this wasn’t also not that much.
The cold coffee and milk drinks, fresh juices and smoothies are sold basically on every corner. Bangkok offers a large variety of bubble tea, milk tea, ice coffee and so on. There are so many choices that it can be just so difficult to choose from. We tried for example iced coffee milk tea, iced bubble tea and fresh papaya juice. All the drinks are awesome and great but also sooo freaking sweet. They use a lot of condensed milk and brown sugar with the drinks.
What to see and do
It may seem like 4 days is nothing in a big city, but I felt like for me it was quite enough. I’m not a fan of huge cities, I like to visit them, but I’ll start to miss the nature and peace. Luckily, we found some nature within Bangkok as well. So, what to do in your trip to Bangkok? Here are some ideas for you.
Visit Bang Kachao
It’s an urban jungle inside of Bangkok. It’s basically like a small island within Bangkok. You can access it by a small boat from the pier (Bang Na or Khlong Toey). On the island, you can rent a bike to ride around the island jungle. It truly feels like being somewhere outside of the city, as it offers so much nature and quietness. This was definitely the highlight of my Bangkok visit.
This is the most touristic area in Bangkok, but you’ll want to see it. It’s packed with street vendors, restaurants, massage offerers, bars and everything you’ll want. You can get tasty and cheap food, see lots of people and experience the true vibe of Bangkok. It’s called the backpacker street, because it’s filled with tourists. Also, the locals try to sell you a lot of stuff – tailored suits, watches, insects, massages, food and so on. Great place to bargain with the prices!
Get a Thai massage
We got a 30-minute foot massage for 100 bahts (around 3€) in Khaosan Road. It was awesome! It felt so great after a long walk. You can get different massages for extremely cheap prices. So, don’t miss that chance!
Try the street food and fruits
The best things we had were Pad Thai, mango sticky rice and the fresh fruits. Don’t miss out on the great tastes. You can get basically anything you want, but I would recommend to do some research before to find the best places. But, the pineapple and mango – if it’s fresh and ripe, it’ll blow your mind!
For me, the best way to find interesting places is by exploring the city on foot. We randomly found cool temples, interesting food places, awesome streets, a cool outside bar area and great views by just walking around and being curious.
Hope you got some ideas and tips, when you decide to visit Bangkok someday. Feel free to contact me, if you have any questions.