Hello, my petites!
As I was saying in the article about what shocked me in Bangkok, no matter how much you prepare for a visit to the capital of Thailand, this city like no other will surely surprise you. If you haven’t read that article, I suggest you do it in order to understand the purpose of this one.
When it comes to Bangkok, you either love it, or you hate it, there is no in-between. In this article, I will tell you what I love about Bangkok (yes, there are some things I really enjoyed) and what I hate about it so, let’s start.
What I Love About Bangkok And You Probably Will Too
Of course, this will sound like a cliché, but the temples are fascinating, and my only regret is that I didn’t visit them all because the time was way too short. With awe-inspiring architecture and unique decorations, you will be impressed by Bangkok’s temples even though you do not consider yourself a spiritual person.
There are hundreds of inspiring temples in Bangkok so choosing the best ones to visit is a matter of taste – you just need to follow the same rules for all of them and you will surely have a pleasant experience:
- Dress appropriately – don’t show too much skin, make sure your shoulders and knees are covered – this is available for both women and men. If you are not prepared, or you want to buy a scarf or a pair of pants as souvenirs (as we did), you will find different models near the big temples for about 100 baht/piece. You can also rent them, but you better buy them.
- Don’t be rude
- Keep the noise down
- Don’t photograph monks
My favorite temple in Bangkok is Wat Pho – The Temple of the Reclining Buddha. I loved it! When we arrived, a ceremony for the Chinese New Year was taking place, but everything felt so peaceful. It was not very crowded, maybe because we visited it in the afternoon when it was too hot.
Wat Pho is one of the largest and oldest temples in Bangkok, so you must pay it a visit. It also houses the famous Reclining Buddha statue plus more than 1000 Buddha statues.
My second favorite temple – Wat Phra Kaew, also known as The Temple of Emerald Buddha – one of the most important Buddhist temples in Thailand, located within the ground of the royal residence – the Grand Palace. The temple is beautiful and abounds with history. Because of its popularity, it is very crowded so taking pictures might be a challenge. But, overall, the temple offers an exciting experience as there are many things to discover and admire, from murals to statues to fabulous bonsai trees.
Longtail boat ride through Chao Phraya River
The long-tail boat ride through Chao Phraya River and its canals helped us escape the heat and all the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a new world on the water – including a floating market and the colorful Thonburi area. There are hundreds of canals in Bangkok and the moment you start the tour, you enter a peaceful world in the middle of the madness.
I must admit that I was scared at first as I don’t know how to swim, and the lifejackets provided couldn’t be used as they were completely ripped off. But what I discovered was greater than my fear, so I took a deep breath and enjoyed every moment.
Visiting Chinatown when you are in Bangkok is a must but staying in this thrilling area when visiting the city – as we actually did, is not such a good idea if you don’t like crowded and noisy places. From a huge variety of street food to small shops where you can buy souvenirs at small prices, Chinatown is authentic and full of surprises, and it was even more fascinating as we visited during the Chinese New Year. If you love street food and enjoy trying new tastes, Yaowarat Road is the culinary hotspot in Chinatown, especially at night.
Street fruit drinks
There is nothing more refreshing on a hot day than a freshly squeezed orange or mango juice. In Bangkok, you will find fresh fruit drinks stalls everywhere on the streets. For 40-60 baht, you will enjoy a delicious and hydrating drink that will give you the energy you need to explore the city.
It took me a while to decide if I loved the food or I hated it because I really couldn’t get used to Thai food, but I want to give it a second chance.
While in Bangkok, I loved traveling by tuk-tuk. A tuk-tuk ride is an adventurous, unique, and fun-filled experience as you get close to the city’s soul and enhances all of your senses. Plus, in most of the cases, traveling by tuk-tuk is faster than traveling by taxi as the three-wheeled vehicle is small enough to weave through other cars. As a tourist, don’t forget to negotiate the price as drivers tend to highly inflate the starting price. If the drivers say no, smile and walk away – they’ll come back to you and lowe the price up to 5 times.
The best way to escape Bangkok’s busy streets and still admire its beauty is to relax up in the sky at one of the city’s fabulous rooftop bars.
You may spot beautiful blooming Frangipani (Plumeria) all over Thailand. I love them and their sweet perfume. You may also find the flowers as decoration for fancy cocktails, ceremony garlands, on tables at restaurants. There is also a strong symbolism related to plumeria – Thai people associated frangipani with bad luck in the past, but the flowers also symbolize beauty, charm, grace, and a new life and Thai people wear them during special days or ceremonies. You can’t stop admiring and loving them.
What I Hate About Bangkok
Bangkok is busy and noisy, and it’s normal to be like this considering the traffic, the night entertainment activities, people working everywhere and so on.
Pollution, durian, fish, street food, seafood, lemongrass, sewage – while in Bangkok, you are exposed to combinations of smells you can’t even imagine, and this was my biggest problem. I was horrified at the simple thought of leaving my pleasantly smelling hotel room.
From piles of garbage to huge rats passing by you to industrial and residential waste, some areas in Bangkok are way too dirty. You should always pay attention when choosing where and to eat and drink if you don’t want to get sick. Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer all the time is a must.
Being a pedestrian who wants to cross a street in Bangkok is a real-life challenge. You can’t trust the zebra crossings here because 99,99% of the drivers ignore them, even the police. Try as much as possible to cross the streets at signal-controlled intersections and be patient.
Thai people are friendly but, unfortunately, some of them want to take advantage of tourists. There are many scams you should be aware of. We got scammed, but this is the subject of another article.
As a conclusion, Bangkok is a colorful and exotic city that has something for everyone – culture, food, traditions, crazy fun, incredible architecture, nightlife, many shopping options. But I must admit, I couldn’t wait to leave it. It was too crowded and noisy for me. Even though it is such a lively city, I felt like it drained all my energy. I am not sure if I want to ever visit it again.
After Bangkok, we continued our adventures in Phuket.
This article reflects my own beliefs and experiences.