You’ve probably heard about Thailand’s infamous capital city in several movies and got the idea, as I did, that Bangkok’s primary attraction was the over the top nightlife. But apart from a scenario for The Hangover, what does this city have to offer?
Before going to Thailand, I thought I had had a Thai massage before- you hear a couple of bone cracking and not much else- but I was wrong. There is a masage center near Wat Arun and on the way to Wat Pho by boat. There in the corner you will find seven very nice ladies in uniform and a man who is in charge of setting the price. Your masseuse will take you to a small room on the first floor where there is a mattress on the floor and you will get the experience of a lifetime. I must admit some muscle pulls were quite painful (it depends on how sore you are) but I enjoyed the uplifting feeling afterwards. You will only feel it once you’ve tried it.
Temples, temples, temples
Thailand is a Buddhist country and has some of the most impressive temples I’ve seen. From Wat Arun to Wat Pho or Wat Phra Kaew (where you will find the Emerald Buddha) there is plenty to feast your eyes on. My personal recommendation: The reclining Buddha (Wat Pho)! The Reclining Buddha is a golden Buddha complete from head to toe. Be sure to take some time to observe the inlaid with mother-of-pearl Soles of the feet.
Don’t forget to cover up shoulders and legs beforehand!
Bangkok is a very inexpensive place to shop so if you add that to the possibility of being ushered around in a boat there is nothing quite like it. There are a few floating markets but no markets in the city center so you will have to get up early and take into account transportation for this experience.
The floating market Damnoen Saduak has the opportunity to shop on land and on the boats that float on a narrow canal. Vendors will try to seduce you into buying from them so if you know exactly what you want and don’t want to stop at a tent for too long, don’t touch the merchandise. That will tell them that you are interested in buying. Needless to say, you should bring cash as there are no atm machines there.
Thailand’s business center is a must see. You will be amazed by the contrasting tall skyscrapers and the small buildings that constitute the capital’s landscape. You’ll begin to realize how busy this city really is (if you hadn’t already). Sky Bar rooftop at Lebua State Tower is the best for getting a glance of Wat Arun and the River Chao Phraya.
I would add that Thai people are incredibly nice and welcoming and provided that you take into account possible shaming for prices and wrong change you will have a great time mingling with the locals. Bangkok is also a very popular site for young people so backpacker galore!