This is a guest post by my sister, Natalie. She’s the photographer of our family and the most well-travelled person I know. She’s currently exploring Southeast Asia, so I asked her to write a bit about what she’s been up to.
Southeast Asia travel is so popular right now and many travellers start their adventures in Bangkok, Thailand. This is a quick rundown of a few things you can see in Bangkok before heading to either the northern part of the country or the infamous party island in the south. By no means is this a typical guide (or an exhaustive list of attractions, you can read about those on any other travel website). Our ideal way to see a city is to walk around the main areas to get a feel for the culture and way of life. We don’t typically visit the popular tourist attractions (after awhile they seem repetitive from city to city).
We first landed at BKK and were instantly impressed by the easy access to the city using the BTS train system.
The Weekend Market
Luckily we landed on Friday and the next morning we ventured to the weekend market bright and early before the crowds. As you’ll read in any guide, this city is a shoppers’ mecca, full of cool clothing, home decor, coffee shops, delicious thai snacks like coconut ice cream and frozen bananas. There are a couple larger restaurants within the market – avoid these. We ended up in one and the food was average and overpriced. It’s best to stick to the smaller spots where the locals are eating. Another tip is to impulse shop – if you like something, buy it because if you wait, you probably won’t find that stall again. I like to think I am a good navigator, but could not wrap my head around the market. Just finding the exit was a challenge, but I’m going to blame that on my jet lag.
The Grand Palace and old city
We didn’t visit this area until our second time in the city, but I would definitely recommend it. This is where you can soak up the culture and history of the city. We went picture crazy taking shots of the temples within the palace. Make sure to pack light packs that cover your ankles (no leggings) or you’ll end up dying of heat in jeans (like I did). While you are in the area, check out the Flower Market and if you are curious to see the notorious Khao San Road full of backpackers.
This was our favourite place to stay in the city, mostly because it had that big city feel. It’s where I would want to stay if I ever decided to live in Bangkok. It’s also walking distance to massive and beautiful parks that were very clean and a great escape from the heavily populated city. There was lots of shopping available here, but we particularly enjoyed Siam Center because we hadn’t seen any of the stores before and they all looked hip and good quality. There’s also lots of great street food options where many locals eat. Bangkok Arts and Culture Center is also worth a visit – it’s free and consists of seven floors of local arts and crafts. It’s an amazing place to pick up unique souvenirs.
Let Natalie know what you think of her travel guide! If you like them, hopefully I will coax her into doing more!