3 Days Off the Beaten Track in Bangkok
Bangkok is an intense city, especially if you’ve never traveled in Asia before. It’s HOT, loud, and extremely busy. It’s also bursting at the seams with culture, activities, amazing food, and friendly people. Bangkok is Thailand’s capital, and comparable to no other city in the world.
Despite its’ massive size and notoriety, Bangkok is a safe city. Of course, common sense applies (no walking alone late at night, etc.), but Southeast Asia in general is known for its safeness and ease of travel, particularly for female travelers.
Bangkok is not only extremely large, it’s also very spread out. There isn’t really a true city-center. Therefore, it’s important to have a plan of action when you visit, especially if you only have a few days.
Check out our suggestions below on the best way to experience Bangkok without acting like too much of a tourist.
Tour the Chao Phraya River…
Renting a boat and cruising along Bangkok’s most famous body of water is the best way to witness authentic, local life. It’s also a great way to get from Point A to Point B (it beats getting stuck in traffic!)
The Chao Phraya intersects Bangkok in a sort of semi-circle and naturally provides a great moving tour of the city. As you cruise, you’ll pass famous sights like the Royal Palace, Wat Po, and other impressive temples.
There are hundreds of khlongs (smaller canals) to explore where you can see daily life unfold for the people who live on the riverside.
Chill out at Bangkok’s most unique, riverside venue…
Have lunch right on the Chao Phraya at The Jam Factory, Bangkok’s newest and hippest creative space. Housed in an old factory, the industrial vibe blends seamlessly with the laid-back atmosphere. You’ll find a lot of young Thai people here; dining, relaxing under Bangkok’s biggest Bodhi tree or on the riverfront deck, and browsing the bookshop and art gallery. Visit on a Saturday or Sunday and enjoy live music on the lawn.
The Grand Palace – it’s a must…
Yes, it’s touristy, but for a good reason. The palace has housed the Royal Thai family for over 150 years. Its world-renowned for its’ beautiful architecture accented by intricate detail. It also home to a 14th century Buddha, which was c
raved from a single piece of jade. The entirety of the Palace and its grounds are a masterpiece and a must-see sight in Bangkok.
Browse a few museums (it’s not what you think…)
Counter act the hordes of tourists at the Palace by crossing the street and visiting the Songkran Nyomsane Forensic Medicine Museum and The Anatomical Museum. Located inside the Siriraj Hospital is one of Bangkok’s weirdest and darkest attractions most people don’t even know they’re missing. View the bodies of accident victims and murderers, as well as dissected adults, children, and babies, all preserved in jars of formaldehyde. Needless to say, these museums are not for the faint of heart.
Learn some moves…
Not talking about dance moves. Learn how to fight - Thai-style! Muay Thai in the National Sport and the most famous and authentic venue to catch a match is the Lumpini Muay Thai Staidum. This is something quite a few people know about, so yes, it will be a little bit touristy.
So, here’s what we suggest; instead of just watching a fight, why don’t you get in on the action yourself? There are many gyms and training center for Muay Thai throughout the city, and many welcome foreigners. Learning the basics is like learning a dance. You’ll find it’s not easy and takes focus and practice, which makes it even more rewarding once you get the hang of it!
Bangkok loves its shopping centers. The city has multiple story malls scattered throughout the city, decked with every shop imaginable. You can even browse Ferraris, Aston Martin’s, and Bentley’s at the upscale luxury mall Siam Paragon, located in Bangkok’s main shopping hub. Or visit Thailand’s biggest megamall, CentralWorld Siam complete with cinema, ice skating rink, and over 100 restaurants and cafes.
The Chatuchak Weekend Market is the biggest market in the country, located north of the downtown area. The market is named after the large park that lies adjacent to it, however it’s the market that’s made the Chatuchak area famous. With over 8,000 outdoor stalls you’re likely to find almost anything you’re looking for; clothes, shoes, jewellery, textiles, furniture, home décor, outdoor equipment, live animals – you name it, Chatuchak’s got it.
Additionally, there are many food and beverage stalls serving Thai teas, fruit shakes, pad Thai, fried rice, spicy papaya salad, and sweet green curry. Some of the bigger places even have live entertainment performing on the streets to draw customers in. Chatuchak is the perfect on-stop “shop” for all sorts of treasures, souvenirs, and knick-knacks to commemorate your time in Thailand, although it’s worth a visit for the atmosphere alone!
**Three days in Bangkok is only long enough to scratch the surface. There’s an overwhelming amount to experience, so it’s best to keep your schedule laid-back. Because getting around Bangkok can be time consuming, it’s best not to pack too much into every day. This will leave you feeling exhausted.
This guide was created for those who don’t have a lot of time to spend, but want to see it all. Following these suggestions will allow you to sample a little bit of everything Bangkok’s got to offer!