Before I headed to Thailand, I had heard over and over that Bangkok wasn’t really that great, was just a stop-over location and that I didn’t need to spend much time there. I’m here to tell you that I think everyone was wrong! Honestly. I got to spend a full day and night here and let me tell you, it was not enough! I felt so rushed and there really was just so much more to see. The temples are so elaborate that running around them just isn't fulfilling.
There were two main focuses for me in Bangkok. There are obviously a few must see temples, but I also wanted to shop! With limited time, we planned out the top things we wanted to hit, Wat Arun, Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha), the Grand Palace and the MBK center.
Our first stop after flying from Chiang Mai to Bangkok was to hit up Wat Arun. Most all of the people I talked to said that this was the most beautiful temple of all. I agree to an extent. It was definitely gorgeous. We spent a ton of time here admiring the super intricate and delicate details while also taking tons of pictures. But, since we were on a pretty strict timeline, it did feel like we didn’t have enough time.
I’ve been told that the best time to see this temple is at sunset. I imagine its a gorgeous sight. Well, except for all of the construction that they’re doing on it right now.
After Wat Arun, we took the water taxi, which, by the way, was I think 6 baht per person, straight across the river to find Wat Po. It was really easy to do since Wat Arun sits right on the water. Wat Pho houses the famous reclining Buddha. It is so much larger in person. Its like the length of a basketball court, if that helps visualize it.
I went to the Grand Palace bright and early in the morning. I got there at 8:30am when they said it opened and there were literally already thousands of people there. It was packed! I got pretty confused as to where to go since there were giant crowds of people in this massive line. If you happen to go to the Grand Palace within this year, odds are you will find thousands and thousands of Thai people coming to mourn the king. They are all dressed in black. Don’t follow them! Find the signs to the entrance - it’s completely different.
The Grand Palace is just as grand as it sounds, if not more. Everything is so elaborately decorated and/or covered in gold plating. I couldn’t believe how grandiose this place was. Really, just prepare for the crowds. Even though I got there right as they opened, the place was already swarming with tourists.
TIP: Bring your passport here. There was security set up before entering the area. They were checking passports. I didn't have mine, but thank goodness they accepted my driver's license as a valid form of id. Although the young guard then proceeded to hand it around while they all shouted in dismay that I was from California. I really confuse people in Asia, apparently. No one can figure out where I'm from!
This place is the absolute mecca for shopping in Bangkok. And I’m talking bargain shopping - the best kind if you ask me! My cousin went to Bangkok a few months before me, so of course I bombarded him with questions on where to go and what to see. He knows I love to shop and said this was the place to go and boy was he right.
There are plenty of places to shop around Thailand, but the MBK Center is one-stop shopping, which was perfect since this was at the tail end of my trip. It’s basically a giant like 6-story indoor mall filled with stalls and stalls of goods. Each floor has a different theme - clothing, electronics, home, etc. It’s the absolute best for bargaining and designer fakes. My friend and I may have taken home a very real looking designer bag each. I could've spent an entire day here. Trust me, don’t miss this place!
One thing I will say about Bangkok is that the weather was so much different from the islands and the north. I finally started to feel that heat that I kept anticipating that we’d run into. Up until then, the islands were rainy for us, the north was cooler, but Bangkok, yup, I was sweaty in about 10 minutes. Too much information? Well, just be prepared for the heat when you come here. And hydrate. Hydration is key.
So, why should you spend more than a day in Bangkok? One, there is literally so much to see. These are just the things I had time to see in a day and, again, I felt so rushed to be able to see each site in its entirety. We, literally, were running around at times, just to take all the shots we wanted. Two, leave yourself some time to get lost. It’s just a city that you should wander around.
Yours Truly // Shannon