Bangkok offers so much, it is incredible! Temples, palaces, shopping, food, massages, nightlife, skyscrapers, parks, the red light district, and so much more. It took two posts to get through Bangkok’s temples and palaces, think we can get through the rest in this one? I think so, so lets do it!
First things first: food! Bangkok is known for its street food, and Inna and I agree: it is the best in the world. Chicken, pad thai, soups, salads, and more, all were delicious, and all were only a dollar or two. Amazing!
Bangkok’s restaurants were also incredible. And not much more expensive either, only a couple bucks a plate!
For dessert, it was all about mango and sticky rice…
And then there’s the iced tea… This stuff was so good, every time, every place. Thai iced tea is without a doubt the best non-alcoholic drink I’ve ever had.
I think I could write an entire post on the food in Thailand, Bangkok especially. But I’ll suffice it by saying that Bangkok really is one of the best food cities in the world.
Next up: shopping. Above is the main backpackers district, with tons of hostels and lots of shops selling all sorts of things, like clothing, food, massages, souvenirs…
Speaking of massages, Inna and I got two during our week in Bangkok. You can do this when they are less than $10 a pop!
Bangkok has incredible malls. Tons of them, and they are huge. The mall pictured above, CentralWorld, has more than 11 million square feet of space, making it the tenth largest mall in the world.
Even cooler than CentralWorld was Terminal 21. This mall wasn’t nearly as big, but it was unique in that each floor was themed after a different city around the world. Above are the first five floors, which were themed after Rome, London, Paris, Istanbul, and Tokyo.
Of course, we all know that California is the best place in the world. Terminal 21 definitely knew this, because three of their eight floors were themed after the state. Although I must say that I don’t think this was the most efficient way to go, for example: two floors on San Francisco, but zero for Manhattan? And half of one of San Francisco’s floors was themed after Chinatown, but wouldn’t it make more sense to theme the floor after a city in China?
Oh well, I’m not complaining, because as we all know: California is the best!
These malls (and several others) were all located in the main shopping district of downtown. Hotels and other businesses were located here too. As you can probably imagine, this place was insane!
Thankfully, unlike the rest of Southeast Asia (minus Kuala Lumpur), the public transportation here was really good. Not only was there a skytrain that avoided all the traffic, but there was also a skywalk that allowed pedestrians to avoid traffic as well.
Inna and I were surprised to discover that despite Bangkok being a major regional economic powerhouse, it doesn’t have a ton of skyscrapers. It does have a couple notable ones however, like this one, named MahaNakhon but unofficially known as the Pixel Skyscraper.
Bangkok’s other coolest skyscraper is Sathorn Unique, a skyscraper whose construction was abandoned when it was ~80% complete. What happened was, the 1997 Asian financial crisis hit, bankrupting the companies that were financing this project. Bangkok was actually left with over 300 buildings in this situation, but most of them were completed when the economy recovered. Not this one though. Today the building just sits there, doing nothing other than advertise Pepsi. The building used to be a popular urban trespassing/exploring area, but the owners cut down on this a couple years ago, after a dead tourist (believed to be a suicide) was found here.
To round out this post, we’ll swing by the rest of Bangkok’s districts. Here we are in Chinatown, one of the largest and densest Chinatowns in the world.
Here is a night bazaar we found near Chinatown. The people (and by people I mean tourists) in this city definitely love to shop!
Bangkok’s river district is one of the most popular places in the city. Ferry rides were cheap and tons of fun, even if the river itself (the Chao Phraya) was super-polluted.
Here we are at Bangkok’s largest and most famous park: Lumpini Park. This park is famous for some unique residents who live here.
Monitor lizards! Tons of them. They were huge!
Finally, we ended our Bangkok visit with a trip to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, a huge canal-marketplace located about an hour out of town. Bangkok actually has several floating markets like this, but Damnoen Saduak is the most famous because it was featured in The Man With The Golden Gun. Some people even call this market the James Bond Floating Market because of that film.
Here are some examples of the food vendors, whose food was very good. And yes, you are seeing correctly, that is a propane tank in the gondola in the upper-right photograph.
The marketplace also had cute little animals you could play with, and also large snakes, but we avoided those.
Unfortunately, we later learned that many of these animals are part of a unethical animal trade ring, and they often are not well taken care of. Hopefully that isn’t the case with the two we took pictures with above.
Finally, and most importantly, we visited the floating market with our friend JC! You might remember, we visited her way back in DC. Lucky for us however, her work sent her to Bangkok while we were there, so we got to meet up. It was awesome. Hi JC!
And that’s it, the end of our visit to Bangkok. There was so much to do in this city, everything so interesting and so much fun, this is definitely one of my favorite cities in the world. If you haven’t visited here yet, you must!
As for us, we still have the rest of the world to see. Up next we temporarily left Thailand to visit neighboring Cambodia, home to one of the greatest monuments in the world: Angkor Wat.