The MBA experience has given me the opportunity to travel the world and experience some amazing memories. Some of these have been schools treks and others have been individually planned trips and I thought I would start a new series of blog posts giving my tips for each destination and my favorite spots I visited. First up, my short but sweet stop in Bangkok, Thailand for New Years!
We spent a few days in Bangkok exploring, eating and counting down into 2017, before heading off to Phuket.
See all my top highlights from the trip in my photo diary post!
Things to see:
The temples in Thailand are breathtakingly beautiful, but you really only need to see a couple and my suggestions are:
- Wat Pho – which is famously known for giant reclining Buddha
- While you are at Wat Pho, definitely check out the Grand Palace and remember to check the dress code before heading over, they are quite strict about it. Also if you are planning to be in Bangkok in New Years, plan to go on any day but the 1st.
- The Golden Buddha Temple – known for a giant golden Buddha statue
- Khao San Road – A popular street market with lots of cheap food and drinks
- Floating Markets
- Damnoen Saduak is the most famous one, but is quite far (~100km) outside of the city. It’s a fun experience and interesting to see even though we didn’t really buy much of anything except a coconut ice cream, which was delicious!
- The boat tour cost us ฿1000/person and we had the whole boat to ourselves. It did seem like you could get non-motor boats at another location for much cheaper. Might be worth doing some research before going.
Things to do:
- Silom Cooking School – such a fun way to get to know more about Thai cooking!
- Thai Massages – we typically spend around ฿250, but specifically looked for more upscale looking places.
- Rooftop Bars:
- We only went to Banyan Tree Hotel’s Vertigo and Moon Bar, which is Bangkok’s most famous rooftop bar. As we didn’t want to pay the £200+ charge to spend NYE there, we went on the 30th, which was much calmer and you could really enjoy the view. If you are interested in other options you can look here.
- The view was quite spectacular and I’m sure if you want to see the New Years fireworks (there wasn’t any this year due to the mourning period) this would be an excellent spot!
- NYE Things to do
- Rooftops are usually the place to go for NYE celebrations, but as I mentioned earlier it can be quite expensive. You do get a beautiful view of the city and the usual NYE fireworks if you are willing to drop the money for it.
- Maggie Choo’s was our pick to spend NYE since there wasn’t any fireworks this year anyways. This place was a basement bar (kind of looks like an underground vault) with some pretty cool decoration and ambiance. The night started with some live jazz music and eventually turned into typical pop hits to enter into the New Year.
- The bar is like an old barred clerk counter and has a platform above it that sometimes was occupied one of the entertainers
- The bar was mostly filled with ex-pats or tourists and there was a cover charge of ฿800 which included a glass of champagne for the NYE celebration.
- If you are on a budget, street food is the way to go! You can easily get a full meal for ฿40 – ฿60. There are plenty of noodle carts, mango stick rice, fruit carts around to much on as you tour around the city.
- Try to avoid tuk-tuks as they are significantly more expensive than metered taxis
- Always make sure you are getting a metered taxi. Sometime they will try to bargain with you for some kind of flat rate, which most likely will be a ripoff
- If you find a taxi driver you really like, you can always ask them for their card and negotiate day rates with them. We found an amazing driver and asked him to go take us to see the original floating market outside of the city and he proceeded to be our driver for the rest of the day. He also took us to the Grand Palace/Wat Pho and then finally to find a massage place on NYE. He called us his ‘USA Angels’ and was absolutely one the highlights of the trip.
- There are massage places everywhere and they can range from being extremely posh and expensive to about ~£8/hour.
- The cheaper ones can definitely be pretty nice, just make sure you pick ones that look and feel nicer. There can be big difference in quality even though the prices are the exact same.
- There is wifi essentially everywhere in Bangkok so there isn’t really a need to buy a data plan.
- However if not having GPS at all times makes you nervous, sim cards/data plans (฿300/week) are quite cheap and can be picked up from the airport when you arrive.