I started my trip in Bangkok. As well as the obvious tourist attractions in Bangkok such as the Grand Palace and its many Buddhist temples, I wanted to experience a feel for how Bangkok used to be before it became over commercialised. I would recommend Soi Rambuttri (for shopping and dinner) and a khlong boat ride around the old canals of Thonburi (Thailand’s old capital).
- Soi Rambuttri
The stalls still sell similar tourist trinkets that you’ll see all over Thailand and there is a ‘bar street’ but the feeling here much more authentic and laid back. In the evening the streets are lit with pretty colourful lanterns.
- Patpong Night Market
In most cities nighttime means closing time. Not so, here in Bangkok, Patpong Market’s tarpaulin covered stalls don’t even kick into life until the area’s office workers are tucked up in bed. Just an example, among several, of Bangkok’s love affair with the after-dark shop.
- Floating Markets
In the floating markets, boats are piled high with tropical fruit and vegetables, fresh, ready-to-drink coconut juice and local food cooked from floating kitchens located right on the boat. To enjoy the atmosphere without haggling over prices, try relaxing on a guided boat tour of Damnoen Saduak market. Floating markets are Taling Chan Market, Bang Ku Wiang Market, Tha Kha, and Damnoen Saduak.
- Bangkok Flower Market
Among the many fresh produce markets in Bangkok, the jewel without a doubt is the Pak Khlong Talad Flower Market. The colours, fragrances of jasmine and the sight of garland weavers busily at work makes for a dazzling sensory experience.
What to wear
As the weather in the city is always really hot and humid, I would always recommend light and comfortable clothes and sporty shoes to afford long walks during the day. Remember that, for religious reasons, you need to have your back and knees covered before entering the temples (a thai sarong in the backpack is always the better tip!).