The first time I was in Thailand, specifically in Bangkok was for a meeting so as expected I wasn’t able to go around. Good thing, my second time was for a shoot with AirAsia so I was able to explore Thailand beyond the usual beaches and city.
If you are up for some challenges and a good road trip, then this itinerary fits you! It’s a mix of Bangkok and backpackers’ gems outside the city!
About Thailand and Bangkok
Thailand, or also known as the Kingdom of Thailand is one of the most visited countries in Asia because of its history, culture, islands, and food! Most tourists who backpack through Asia go through Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos.
Tourism in Thailand has been growing immensely that lately the government has been implementing stricter rules in immigration and visa policies to avoid overstaying in the country. Good thing Filipinos are visa-free!
I recommend for any first timer to explore Bangkok and then go out of the city. Spending a few days here is already worth your money!
In this itinerary, you will find some must see areas in Bangkok and if you want a “less-traveled” but adventurous part of Thailand, I recommend visiting the Erawan National Park and the Kanchanaburi Death Railway! Here you go!
Top Things to do:
Temples and Palaces
The Royal Grand Palace:
Situated in the heart of Bangkok, the Grand Palace was the official residence of the Kings of Thailand. It is a complex made up of buildings and halls with gardens, temple (The Temple of Emerald Buddha is here!) and courtyards. Now it is still partially open to the public while the other areas are functioning as royal offices. Royal ceremonies and important state functions are still being done here too.
Wat Arun, a Buddhist temple also known as the “Temple of Dawn” is also in Yai district of Bangkok, located in the west of Chao Phraya River. If you want to get a good view of the temple at night, take a photo of it from the other side of the river and see how magnificent it glows when the sun has set!
Wat Benchamaphopit is called the Marble Temple, also located in Bangkok. It is considered as one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand because of its high-class marble material from Italy and its architecture resembles the finest designs and structure of Thailand culture.
Shopping and Nightlife
Khao San Road
Khao San Road came from the word “Khaosan” meaning, milled rice, as it used to be the rice market area now it is known as the backpacker’s alley. You can find cheap accommodation, restaurants, pubs, bars, and local shopping stores in this area. This is one of the famous nightlife areas in Bangkok! At night, street vendors come out to offer different products and services from street food like scorpions, worms, grilled pork to foot massages.
Other nightlife areas are: PatPong and Sukhumvit, known as the red-light districts!
Siam and Pratunam Malls are top choices for your shopping needs. Siam has the branded shops while Pratunam are local stores where you can still bargain!
Chatuchak Weekend Market
My favorite though is the Chatuchak weekend market. I was able to buy a lot of good stuff from clothes to room accessories here! It is the largest market in Thailand located in Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, Chatuchak and is also open during weekends (thus the name!).
You can find different items in here from food and drinks (I love the famous Thai milk tea!), cosmetics, clothes, books, and more! It is divided into sections and you can get a map in the tourism office so you know where to go. Most stores only accept cash so make sure you have enough!
Famous Thai Milk Tea in Chatuchak:
Damnernsaduk Floating Market
You will find Damnerdsaduk 80 kms from Bangkok and it is considered as one of the last authentic floating markets left in the country. Personally though, when I visited, there were boats that were using engines already disrupting the water and the natural sound of the environment not to mention they also cause traffic!
Less traveled but more adventurous part of Thailand!
Kanchanaburi (Death Railway)
Kanchanaburi Death Railway is also called the Burma or Siam-Burma Railway running from Ban Pong Thailand to Thanbyuzayat Burma (known as Yangon). It was built during World War II by the Japanese. Some civilians and war prisoners were forced to build the railway and most died during the construction.
Now part of the railway is open to the public and still used by locals. Some tourists include it in the itinerary and when you are dropped off, you can enjoy the scenery and some local interactions at the train stop.
Erawan National Park
Erawan National Park is located in the Kanchanaburi Province of Thailand. The most famous part of the park is the Erawan waterfalls which has seven tiers that you can explore by foot. Each waterfall has a name and offers different experience to the visitors. You will find fishes, rock formations where you can climb and slide, and one even has a small cave. I have to admit the 5th to 6th waterfalls were a bit more challenging but of course, worth it. We weren’t able to get to the 7th because of time constraints. The park closes around 4:30 in the afternoon so make sure you go early!
It took us around 4-5 hours from Bangkok to Erawan by private car but you can also go here via train and bus from Bangkok. There is a shower area and some food stalls by the entrance.
By the way be careful as you are in the forest, and it is a natural park so there are roaming animals like monkeys and lizards that you might meet during your trek!
Don’t forget to bring food so you have something to eat along the way. That’s it!
Some travel tips:
- Uber and Grab are available in Thailand
- Most stores and restaurants accept credit cards
- Do not forget to try the famous Thai foot massage!
- Beware of massage parlors that offer additional services (unless of course that’s what you are looking for!) especially in Sukhumvit area
- If you want to see the pingpong show (I haven’t) they said you have to make sure you get the “authentic” ones or else you will be fooled to pay a larger amount of money when you’re inside the club already.
- Traffic in Bangkok is really bad especially during rush hours so plan your itinerary well.
Overall, not bad for a few days in Thailand. I plan to go back to explore the islands!
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Next stop: Jakarta and Yogyakarta! Ciao!