In case you haven’t heard, Thailand is now fully reopened to tourists! As of May 2022, all testing and quarantine restrictions were finally lifted. We were so excited to finally be able to book a spontaneous long weekend trip to Bangkok again.
As we are not big shopaholics, we put together an itinerary that allowed us to really do a little bit of everything. If you’re like us or just looking for a break from Bangkok’s never ending shopping malls, these are the top 10 things that I would fully recommend. If you are pressed for time, everything can even be packed into a 3 to 4 days!
1. Visit A Temple
Bangkok’s Wat Pho temple is breathtaking and a must-see. It has no shortage of beautiful monuments such as the four ornate, sky-scraping monuments (Phra Maha Chedi Si Rajakarn) seen below. It also houses an awe-inspiring Reclining Buddha, constructed all the way back in 1832.
Wat Pho costs a 200 THB ($8 SGD) for foreigners to enter, the price of which also gets you a little bottle of water. Besides this, you should be appropriately dressed as Wat Pho is a religious place after all. Don’t worry if you didn’t pack for it though, as Wat Pho provide some basic dressing at the entrance.
If you can’t get enough of temples, another fantastic option would be Wat Arun, which takes a bit more time to get to but is equally beautiful.
2. Go Café Hopping
It’s great to see that Bangkok’s café scene has survived the pandemic and is making a roaring comeback. Prices are now not exactly cheap, but many places are worth it for the stunning architecture, interior design, top-notch food and hospitality.
A few of our favourites are:
- Wallflowers Café – Notting Hill vibe with antique furniture and lush greenery (above)
- Lhong Tou Café – Dim sum café where you have to climb ladders to get to the upper deck (cover photo)
- Holey Artisan Bakery – Brunch classics and perfect croissants in a beautiful two-story café (below)
As most places don’t take bookings, be prepared for a wait if you’re headed down to some of the really popular ones! Alternatively, you can go early in the morning (like we did) to enjoy some tranquility.
3. Visit A Cat Cafe
Caturday Café is located a short train ride from Platinum Mall, at the BTS Ratchathewi station. While Bangkok has an assortment of animal cafés, this seems to be one of the most conveniently located ones by far. It was packed to the brim and had a queue when I visited on a weekday afternoon.
The café is packed with cats doing their own thing (see below :D). All the cats also look really well-cared-for and comfortable which is great. There are so many of them that one will always be within your reach to pat or observe. The café staff also make a conscious effort to ensure everyone gets some play time with the cats and moves the more social (or most nonchalant) cats to the newly seated tables.
4. Relax At A Spa
No trip to Thailand would be complete without a trip to the spa! The Health Land group has spas located in many major areas of Bangkok, with the most famous being the Asoke branch. Here, you can get a 2-hour full body Thai massage for just 600 THB ($24 SGD) which is just unbeatable.
Those who love the Japanese-style onsen should pay a visit to a Yunomori outlet. The whole complex is a thoughtfully crafted oasis that transports you to Japan just for a moment. A full-day entry pass here costs just 550 THB ($21 SGD) and entitles you to use the wide range of onsen pools, saunas and lounge areas for as long as you like.
5. Soak In The Chaos of Chinatown
You can honestly get lost in the hustle and bustle of Bangkok’s iconic Chinatown or Yaowarat district. We were here in the morning and enjoyed our brunch at Kway Chap Uan Pochana. This humble stall, featured in the Michelin Guide, serves comforting, peppery pork belly soup with rolled rice noodles.
We then spent the afternoon wandering around the numerous alleys that make up Yaowarat’s Old Market. Many temporary stalls set up shop starting from the morning, selling everything from fruit to marinated crabs. In the evening, the area continues to be a heaven for foodies, with numerous street food carts and seafood restaurants.
6. Try A Roadside Stall
Roadside stalls are ubiquitous in Bangkok. The opening hours, names and locations of carts are, needless to say, often not formally recorded and you have to rely on word of mouth or go to certain roads to find them.
Our all-time favourite is a cluster of Thai food stalls that open for dinner on an unassuming section of road outside the Evergreen Place Hotel, a stone’s throw from the Ratchethewi BTS station. We enjoyed a hearty Thai meal (think tom yum soup, grilled beef, prawns with glass noodles, basil pork, beer etc) at just $10 SGD per person.
Another lively stretch is Soi Phetchaburi 5, featured by my all-time favourite food blogger Mark Wiens. This stretch comes alive for the dinner rush, and serves up a ton of amazing fried food, rice with dishes, tom yum soup, mango sticky rice and more.
7. Go Nuts At An All-You-Can-Eat BBQ Buffet
For those who absolutely love BBQ, having Thai mookata (charcoal grill) is a must. We loved Best Beef Sukhumvit in particular for it’s fuss-free flat price of 329 THB ($13 SGD) for all-you-can-eat meat, seafood, veggies and more. You can also top up a 50 THB ($2 SGD) to add a pot of piping hot soup to boil stuff like seafood and veggies in.
This sprawling, open-air restaurant is incredibly popular and fills up very quickly after 6.30. It is advised to make a reservation through their Facebook page if you intend to come during the peak hours!
8. Visit A Night Market
Our favourite night market would have to be the Srinagarindra Train Night Market. This is located about 30 minutes drive out from the main Bangkok city center and is somewhat off the beaten track. Here, you will still experience the familiar plethora of tourist knick-knacks/knock-offs and be spoilt for choice with numerous food vendors.
However, what sets the market apart is the really photogenic shop fronts and numerous antique stalls that dot the complex. This is perfect for window-shoppers like us who love a laid-back, old-timey vibe. Keep an eye out for the huge aeroplane as well!
9. Enjoy The View From A Rooftop Bar
Since Bangkok never sleeps, the night-time view is quite spectacular. To fully enjoy the view, you can head up to one of the many rooftop bars between the Chit Lom to Asok stations.
We opted to try out The Speakeasy Rooftop Bar, located on the 24th floor of the Hotel Muse Bangkok. The cocktails here were simply excellent (if pricey) and the interior delivered on the gin-and-cigars speakeasy feel. The view was pretty decent (you could probably get better views elsewhere) but not the main highlight for us.
10. Have A Traditional Breakfast
Finally, after all the fun, exploring, relaxation and drinking, it’s time to detox with a hearty breakfast. For that, On Lok Yun is an absolute institution for a homely Thai-Chinese breakfast. Must-try dishes include the Kaya Toast, Butter-Sugar Toast and the full works (soft-boiled eggs, chicken sausage, bacon and chinese sausage).
Portions are fairly small and prices are affordable (~$5 SGD for a decent amount of stuff) so feel free to go all out!
Thanks for reading and have a great time on your Bangkok trip!