Travel Dates: Oct 22- Oct 30 2016
Places visited: Bangkok & Chiang Mai
Bangkok in 3 days
Weather: When we booked our trip to Thailand we knew we booked it during the rainy season but just decided to go with it and see how lucky we would be with the weather. Bangkok was extremely humid (80-90s F) with scattered thunderstorms but thankfully, we only got caught in one storm on our way back home from dinner one day. We’ve never seen a downpour ever like the one got caught in but we successfully made it back to our hotel in the mini river that formed in the streets of Bangkok. It was quite an experience but certainly one I would prefer not to be repeated.
Getting Around: When we first landed at the airport, we decided to give Uber a go and it was pretty affordable! We traveled 24.5 miles for $11 (that’s like JFK to the Yankee Stadium in NYC!). However, when we were calling an Uber from our hotel, the wait was always around 20 minutes due to the traffic in Bangkok. In those cases, we took cabs (make sure they turn on the meter when you get in) and they were sometimes even cheaper than Uber. Our advice would be to head out earlier to start hailing a cab and also to account of the intense traffic in Bangkok. Because some of the cab drivers did not speak English, we had to pull up addresses in Thai and Trip Advisor was a life saver, you can translate the address on the app or you can download the iTranslate app which was super helpful when trying to communicate with the locals.
*There is a train that runs in Bangkok but we did not take it.
Food Scene: Street Food is the real deal here in Bangkok. Everywhere we went, we saw food vendors whipping up some amazing stir fry dishes or noodle soups. The food is not only amazing but also super cheap! In the local areas, food is cheaper (about 30 baht or 86 cents for a noodle dish) but even in the touristy areas, food is still cheap (70 baht or $2 for a noodle dish). Thailand is a big producer of coffee so there are tons of coffee shops everywhere and coffee is usually 30-40 baht per cup.
Day 1 – After we arrived in Bangkok, we checked into our hotel, which was across the Chao Phraya River, and across from the Grand Palace. We were not here for long but we went to Wang Lang Market to check out the stores and food. There are tons of shops prices are more affordable compared to other parts of Bangkok that we visited. We ended up going into a restaurant where the menu was only in Thai. Thankfully, there were photos and we ended up being served an amazing meal (see below).
We then made our way to Chinatown on Yaowarat Road
We ended up eating at T&K Seafood and were obsessed with their crab curry!
After stuffing our faces with delicious food, we visited our first rooftop bar nearby, at the Grand China Hotel at the Sky View 360º Rooftop Bar and Restaurant. It is located on the revolving top floor of the hotel but it moves so slowly you don’t notice it when you are there.
After returning back to our hotel, Baan WangLang Riverside, which was across the river from the Grand Palace, we visited the bar there and saw a great view of the Grand Palace.
Day 2– We took a plane to Chiang Mai (see Chiang Mai post) and returned back to Bangkok to explore some more. We did a Historic Bangrak Food Tasting and Culture Tour where we learned a lot about Thai culture and food. Some of the highlights of our tour were our trip to Muslim Restaurant, where we had delicious roti mataba and massaman chicken curry.
Another favorite of ours was our visit to a local restaurant that serves Isan (northeast region of Thailand) food. Isan food is known for its use of lime, cilantro, mint, fresh herbs, chili peppers, and sticky rice. Our favorite was their lemongrass fried chicken (gai tod). The flavors were complex and everything just came together so well. The sign to this restaurant in Thai but after some research, I believe it is Yam Rot Saeb.
While we were walking, we saw these interesting Thai coconut-rice pancakes (kanom krok) on the street and decided to give it a try because they looked interesting (and cute). They were amazing!
We loved this green custard bun from the famous Panlee Bakery . It tastes like a Chinese custard steamed bun but the bread is even fluffier! We also found out that it is green because it is colored by pandan.
After the food tour, we headed to our hotel, Lebua at State Tower (known for where the Hangover 2 was filmed) and went to the sky bar there. The hotel is beautiful and we highly recommend staying here at least for one night. We booked the hotel for ~$100 a night (which is amazing compared to rates in NYC!). However, be prepared to pay some NYC prices for their cocktails at the sky bar…
Day 3- We visited the Damnoen floating market in and then went to the Buddhist temple Wat Pho to see the beautiful reclining Buddha.
It was a cool experience to shop around in a boat, but it seemed to be a bit too touristy for us. The vendors were overpriced and really tried to sell us things at unreasonably high prices. We were lucky that we went to the Wang Lang Market where many locals shop so we knew the average prices of certain goods. However, it was still a cool experience to see people selling food and cooking on their little boats and vendors along the river.
When we got to Wat Pho, we were amazed at how beautiful it was.
Before we left, we decided to splurge on one last meal at Nahm, ranked number 37 in world’s best 50 restaurants, and number 8 in Asia. It was nice to have a different kind of dining experience. We were super stuffed afterwards, but everything was delicious! A few of our favorites were the aromatic curry of chicken with pickled cucumbers , the scallop salad with coconut and lemongrass, and the whole fried fish with lemongrass fish sauce.
We loved loved Bangkok and hope you do too!