Thailand’s capital is known for its vibrant culture, ornate shrines, bustling food scene, and exciting nightlife. It truly is a city that never sleeps and offers unique experiences for the over 30 million annual tourists that visit Thailand. Whether you are a tourist on a budget or looking for luxury, Bangkok has you covered.
Challenge your Taste Buds with Unique Thai flavored Ice Cream
Foodies love Bangkok. The city is notorious for its street food and has been ranked as one of the best cities for food lovers to visit. While chicken satay and pad thai are common favorites and can be found in abundance, for a truly unique experience, check out handmade ice cream at Nuttaporn Ice Cream. The small family run business has been making unique ice cream flavors from scratch for over 60 years. Located in the Old City, and close to the busy tourist attraction of the Grand Palace, the ice cream shop specializes in coconut ice cream, mango, and Thai iced tea flavors. Top off your hand-made ice cream with unique toppings such as lotus seeds or shredded coconut, for a truly unique, and inexpensive Thai treat.
Explore Palace Grounds
After enjoying your hand-made ice cream, take the short walk to enjoy the Grand Palace. While the palace attracts many tourists and is considered by many to be a ‘must-see’ in Bangkok, an earlier visit may avoid much of the rush - not to mention, the scorching temperatures. The palace was home to the Thai King for over 150 years, and now hosts the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and various other temples, museums, and government residences. Most royal ceremonies still take place on the palace grounds, and besides being closed for such ceremonies, the Palace almost never closes. Be sure to check the dress code guidelines before visiting, and be prepared for a day of walking- the entire grounds cover an area of 218, 400 square meters!
Visit a Historical Park
While Bangkok is notorious for its congested streets and bustling city life, there are still several parks spaced throughout the city for visitors looking for some reprise from the hectic Bangkok scene. Saranrom Park, located down the street from the rear exit of the Grand Palace offers visitors a beautiful park, filled with history. The park was previously a part of the Saranrom Palace, was turned into a zoo, and was also allegedly the setting behind the historical coup that ultimately led to the end of the absolute monarchy system in Thailand. The park boasts botanical gardens, fountains, a weightlifting area and table tennis facilities, and historical monuments. You can relax, work off some calories from all the great food you have been eating, and learn about Bangkok’s history all in one place.
Catch Dinner and a Show
If you are looking for a combination of authentic Thai cuisine and culture, Sala Rim Naam provides for both with its array of traditional Thai dishes, coupled with a Thai dance show performed every night. The restaurant is located across the river from the Mandarin Oriental hotel, in a beautiful and romantic setting, and is accessible for hotel guests by a shuttle boat. Guests have the option of enjoying their meals outdoors, right by the river for a quieter experience, or indoors to watch the show. While lunch is served buffet style, the dinner menu is set and offers traditional favorites such as Khanom Jeeb (steamed Thai chicken and peanut dumplings) and coconut ice cream for dessert! The menu options can be quite spicy so be sure to ask for extra water!
Bangkok clearly has the sights, sounds, and food for almost every type of traveler and palette. You can live off of the cheap eats of the authentic street food, or explore fine dining options in the various luxury hotels and resorts across the city. You can enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city, or kick back at one of the many serene parks hidden in the city. Either way- pack your comfiest walking shoes, bring a big appetite and get ready for the sensory overload that is Bangkok.
Have you visited any of the above? What is your favorite hidden gem in Bangkok?