On the 18th of August 2014, I had an opportunity to become a traveler in my own hometown, Bangkok. My friend from New York attended a wedding in Koh Phi Phi and on her way back, she decided to do a short stop in Bangkok. I was very excited to show her around because in all my 25 years living in Thailand, I have never had a chance to see Bangkok from a traveler's perspective. Here was my chance, and I never looked at Bangkok the same way again.
I came up with the itinerary to show Danielle around ranging from temples to rooftop bars. Even though some items did not go as planned, it was still a wonderful evening. We took on Bangkok in a slow fashion and that is what I think most travelers missed when they traveled through this busy city. Yes, the traffic is bad, and the heat can be unbearable, but if you don't rush it if you thoroughly enjoy every moment of it, then Bangkok can be a very peaceful place to be.
Without further ado, let's see what Bangkok has to offer.
- Picked up my friend at the hotel near the Sao Ching Cha (very convenient since almost all attractions in Bangkok are a few minutes walk away)
- Have lunch around the area. (Many places to pick, some restaurants are more than 50 years old!)
- Go to the Grand Palace. It closes at 4:30 PM so make sure you arrive way way earlier than that. Plus, they are extremely strict about what you wear so no tank top or shorts.
- Walk to Wat Pho and see the reclining buddha, listen to the chanting sound of buddhist practitioners.
- Dine at The Deck, overlooking the Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn.
- Enjoy the view of the city from one of the many roof top bars in Bangkok. We went to Red Sky and had a blast!
- The good old Khaosarn road, for shopping and eating weird insects! :)
Sao Ching Cha District
Sao Ching Cha is one of the oldest district in Bangkok. Some restaurants around here have been in business for more than 50 years.
Danielle was right to stay somewhere around here as most of the temples and river-side restaurants are all in walking distance.
The Warehouse Bangkok was the hotel my friend stayed in. The lobby has a cozy cafe and the rooms are very clean and well designed, especially for the price point. Highly recommended if you have a few hours in Bangkok as you can walk almost everywhere from here.
I picked Danielle up at 2 PM and I took her to lunch nearby. We then walked around the Democracy Monument but we were stuck in the rain for half an hour before we went to the Grand Palace. As it turned out, the Grand Palace closes its gate 30 minutes before the actual closing time which was 4:30PM, so if you are here, make sure you come hours before 4:30.
Plus, the required dress code to enter the Grand Palace is very strict and you will be forbidden to enter if you wear a short or a tank top so prepare accordingly.
Since the Grand Palace was closed, we decided to go to the temple next to the Grand Palace called Wat Pho.
Wat Pho is equally stunning and has a more welcoming dress code and closing time. There is plenty to see in this temple alone.
Happy traveler is a happy traveler. Even though, Danielle was not able to see the grand palace, she still put a healthy smile on her face and enjoyed her time here. That is the "Thai" way. :)
The detail of these pagodas are magnificent.
Did you know, Wat Pho is one of the biggest and oldest temples in Bangkok and is home to more than one thousand Buddha images?
The only peaceful time you can have in the city like Bangkok is within these temples.
This is the infamous reclining Buddha located in one of the complexes in Wat Pho.
The reclining buddha stood at a whooping 15 meters high and 43 meters long.
The foot of the reclining buddha alone is 3 m high and 4.5 m long. The engrave on the foot displays the 108 auspicious symbols of Buddha.
We were fortunate to witnessed the praying of buddhist practitioners in one of the complex in Wat Pho. The chanting sound really put my mind at ease.
We walked around the whole complex, until we realized that it was about to close. No wonder why we were walking alone most of the time.
The Deck & Wat Arun
We decided to go have an early dinner at The Deck, a river side restaurant nearby.
While we were waiting for our food, we decided to hop on top of the roof top bar, with a killer view of the Wat Arun (temple of dawn) and the Chao Praya river.
Now this is a smile worthy of the land of smiles. :)
This is the benefit of taking it slow in Bangkok. You can enjoy each moment more thoroughly.
Since we had more time in our hands because of the Grand Palace's fiasco, Danielle suggested that we should spend more time enjoying our food and cherishing the moment. Now, that's the best travel companion you can get.
River prawns, a beer and a great companion to talk to is a recipe for an amazing dinner.
We really did take it slow. We stayed and watched the sunset at The Deck for almost 4 hours conversing about New York, her career and the many differences and similarities we shared.
Before we left, we went up to the rooftop again and snapped this photo of the Wat Arun at night before heading to our next stop, a rooftop bar.
Red Sky Roof Top Bar
There are many rooftop bars in Bangkok. The most popular ones are Vertigo and Sirocco but these places are infested with tourists from around the world. With the limited spaces and the poor services that came with being one of the best, I decided to take Danielle to the Red Sky, at Central World instead.
Red Sky is definitely one of the best roof top bar in Bangkok. With 2 stories roof top, spacing was not a problem. We walked in at 10 PM and we still got a nice table by the balcony.
The stunning view of Bangkok's skyline.
As the end of a 12 hour trip was approaching, her trip would not be completed without seeing the center of the backpack community in Bangkok, the Khaosarn Road.
Danielle was very excited to try out these delicacies (not). :D
After walking around for half an hour, it was time for us to say goodbye as we went on different paths. This experience had taught me that a perception of a place can be changed if you look at it with a different set of eyes. I had never had an interest in going out and see what was up in my hometown until that day. Now, I feel a little more excited and adventurous as I explored new areas around Bangkok.
And there you have it, the things you can do in Bangkok for 12 hours. If you are planning to come to Bangkok, feel free to ask for suggestions in the comment section below.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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