Look who had a chance to return to Bangkok? That’s right – I did. After my first visit to Bangkok, Thailand last year, I knew I had to return. I just didn’t have any idea I’d be able to this year so I’m so glad I could. Since I’m currently in the Philippines for the summer, a flight from Manila to Bangkok was so incredibly inexpensive, how could I not go?
Flying to Bangkok
After a relatively short 3 hour flight from Manila to Bangkok on Cebu Air, I landed at Suvarnabhumi Airport before catching a ride to my friend’s apartment in Bangkok. I was going to spend two nights at her place, but only stayed one because I missed my flight on my original departure date.
TSG Tip: For international flights they always advise arriving no less than two hours before your flight. If flying out of Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, I’d definitely double that time. My flight was at 6 am and I arrived before 4 am and still couldn’t get through the long queues for baggage drop off, immigration, and security in a timely manner. I was sad to have missed my flight, but it is what it is and you can only learn from the experience.
Khao San Road
I definitely wanted to visit Khao San Road during this visit and see what everyone was talking about this place. In case you don’t know, Khao San Road is famous destination for tourists, especially backpackers because of its affordable accommodations and the wide variety of food, bars, and entertainment offerings.
Khao San Road during the day is a hot, bustling business area with street vendors, restaurants, and other businesses offering goods and services. As a vegan traveling in an area where I don’t speak the language, my food options were limited to white rice, curry, and Pad Thai. Believe me, I’m not complaining as I certainly ate my fair share of food including an abundance of mango sticky rice.
At night I even dove into some fresh coconut ice cream served in a freshly scraped coconut just for me. And yes, it was finished off with chocolate sauce and peanuts. Yum.
Khao San Road At Night
Khao San Road comes alive at night with bars and restaurants open and welcoming everyone in for the best Pad Thai and fried rice they’ve ever had. Massage parlors beckon to tourists for 250 THB massages (roughly $7.50 USD) massages. I’ve never seen so many people willing to sit in the street to be massaged by a stranger.
From there they will probably go off and eat a strange insect like a scorpion or grasshopper before indulging in copious amounts of inexpensive alcohol before returning to their hostel. Bars range from massive properties with huge menus to small, hole in the wall style places like this little Tupac bar that was playing popular music and serving beer. Strange but so randomly true.
TSG Tip: Don’t settle on just one bug to eat, but rather a selection. For 20 THB, you should get a sizable portion of these little critters. Make sure you negotiate a good deal for your friends and you probably want to have a few drinks in you first.
There’s plenty of sightseeing to be had in Bangkok, but I wasn’t looking to fill my days with repeats of what I had already seen last year. However, as Khao San Road is so close to Wat Phra Kaew or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, how could I pass up a chance to go back there again?
TSG Tip: Admission to Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace is 500 THB (about $15 USD) per person.
TSG Tip: Don’t buy your admission outside of the gates from anyone offering to sell you a ticket. Only tickets sold from inside the gates are considered valid no matter what anyone might tell you. I mean you could certainly buy one if you choose, but there’s no guarantee it’s a legit ticket, you know?
Inside Wat Phra Kaew
Once you have your ticket, you’re free to roam the temple on your own. I highly recommend not going midday as there’s no protection from the sun inside the complex. That and there’s always plenty of tourists and that makes this place one hot and sweaty tourist destination.
Yes, everyone goes to see the Emerald Buddha, but I have to admit my favorite part is right when you enter through the gates. You’ll see these two large figures that stand 16′ tall called Yaksha demon warrior statues that loom overhead as tourists enter. They’re my number one choice for photo ops within Wat Phra Kaew.
TSG Tip: Did you know that there are replicas of the Yaksha at Suvarnabhumi Airport? The replicas used to be in the domestic terminal, but were moved to the international terminal after employees said they brought bad luck.
Considered the most sacred Buddhist Temple in Thailand, Wat Phra Kaew houses the Emerald Buddha. Now before you think this is some giant emerald statue, it’s not. While I’d like to show you a pic of this little guy that stands approximately 26 inches tall, pictures and video are not allowed inside the temple. Might I suggest Googling “Emerald Buddha” if you want to see what he looks like? I don’t have any copyright free images to share here unfortunately. Instead, I can share an image of the building where he is located above.
While one might believe the figure is made of emerald, emerald refers to the green color and not the material from which it was made. The figure has resided in a few different locations, but has been in its current location since 1784.
The list of buildings and figures within the complex is far too long to go into here. Let’s just say there are many within the complex itself.
If you’re only in Bangkok for a few days, I definitely recommend visiting at least one major tourist site like a temple. Otherwise you’ll regret not having seen some of the culture that makes Bangkok and Thailand such an interesting country.
Time For A Massage
After walking for hours while sightseeing and shopping, I needed to relax. While I’m not one that usually jumps at the chance to get a massage, I thought, “Why not?” After all, the price seemed right and I had a whole lot of free time on my hands. My choice for a massage was Massage in Garden. Here you can enjoy an affordable hour long massage in the privacy of a garden just off the main street. Honestly, it was such a good experience that I thought about going back again, but sadly didn’t. I definitely recommend this place where you’re twisted and bent into positions you think you’re body isn’t meant to go, but you’ll feel fantastic afterwards.
Massage in Garden is located just off Khao San Road and you might miss them if you don’t look carefully. But it’s definitely a step up from the easy chairs on the street kind of massage places you regularly see along Khao San Road.
Massage in Garden
1/1 SOI RAMBUTTRI
Bangkok, Thailand 10200
Local Thai Nightlife
How lucky am I that I have friends in Thailand? With an opportunity to step away from touristy Bangkok and go to someone’s home, I wasn’t about to say “No.” A bunch of us shared some drinks and I watched as they prepared pork on a grill outside. They even cooked me up some tofu separately so I could eat something while we drank and chatted. Nothing makes you feel more like a local then when you’re welcomed into someone’s home, right?
Next up, I’m headed to Phuket for a few days for some more fun in the sun in Thailand.
Have you visited Bangkok? Can you suggest other destinations in Thailand that you found equally exciting? Leave your comments below. Discover some other great destinations and travel ideas here on the Travel Shop Girl website .
On my new SPONTANEOUS TRAVEL SCALE of 1-5, with 1 being super easy and spontaneous and 5 being you better plan far in advance, Bangkok scores a 1 for spontaneous travel, especially if you’re already in Asia as airfare to Bangkok is inexpensive and hotels, hostels, and other forms of accommodations like Airbnb make it an affordable destination.