Next Stop, Bangkok

Bangkok was a bit of a culture shock for me. I’ve been to 3rd world countries before, but not one quite like this. The division of economic wealth sitting so closely together was humbling as well as eyeopening. Our hotel, the Anantara Sathorn Bangkok, was about an hour from the airport and was simply beautiful. We got an amazing deal on our two bedroom suite for an astonishing $140 a night!! It’s crazy how far your money can take you in Bangkok especially when coming from Tokyo. The hotel property had a nice pool, decent gym, good breakfast buffet and an AMAZING rooftop bar and restaurant.

photo by FilmsbyJ

Oddly enough when we looked up best rooftop lounges in Bangkok, our hotel’s rooftop ZOOM came up in the top 10. We arrived at ZOOM for a few drinks only to discover that the entire country was in a 24hr alcohol ban due to an upcoming election! The ban started at 6pm and we arrived at 5:59. Super annoying. The 360 views were stunning until you really looked down and saw the true poverty of the homes and streets below. It blew my mind to see 5 star hotels and multi-million dollar condos with just such deprivation right next door.

view from our balcony

I spent one day exploring alone and found myself in areas I would not want to be at after dark. At no point did I feel unsafe, just fully aware that I stood out as a tourist and a possible target for scamming. Knowing the weather would be of extreme heat and humidity, I packed as if I was going to Miami and quickly discovered this was also a great way to stand out.  Locals dress very conservatively consisting of long pants or skirts, loose blouses and t-shirts. My distressed cutoff shorts and crop tops didn’t mesh well. Much of this has to do with the respect of visiting temples which Thailand has plenty of. I was able to stop at one of many street vendors to buy a sarong to cover my mid-drift and legs. 

The Grand Palace 

Opulent, colorful, eclectic and most defiantly grand are the perfect words to describe this place. It was also very crowded. I did not go as a group on a guided tour, and unless you want to be told about the history while there, I do not recommend it. The groups are large and herded around. I can imagine it would also be hard to hear what the guide is saying. Being solo I was able to go in corners and halls where a private pic was possible. I recommend going right when they open, 8:30am, to help avoid the crowds as well as the mid day sun. In March it gets super hot. Closed toed shoes, shoulders and ankles covered are all necessary to show respect. 

I covered up better when I was walking around. This was just for the pic

Wat Pho

Another alternative, just as beautiful but not as big is the Wat Pho. Home to the reclining Buddha which for the life of me I couldn’t seem to find! It most defiantly doesn’t have a lack of other Buddhas though. The entrance fee was 100 Baht ($2.60 USD) and came with a free bottle of water.  It was a 10 min walk from the Grand Palace. 

Wat Pho

Khao San Road

If you are wanting to party or do some good people watching, Khao San Road is a must. Khao San is the most popular backpacker stop in Bangkok. You will mostly see tourist heavily drinking, shopping at street vendors or eating a scorpion and random insects.

We went at night and the street was shoulder to shoulder. Music is blasting from outdoor bars lining the street with hosts trying to convince you to come sit down and join the party. We grabbed a beer and walked the full length and back just taking it all in, stopping along the way to just be spectators. Bangkok is known for having ladyboys but we hadn’t seen any until we got here. Trans prostitutes, “laughing gas” aka nitrous sold by the ballon full, and lots of drunk young people. We grabbed some Pad Thai and found a lady braiding hair. Since I didn’t bring a blow dryer I thought this would be a perfect time to sit, drink my beer while taking care of my hair. We negotiated and agreed to 400 Baht ($12.50). She did a great job and I wore my hair like this for 4 days. After being there for about 2 hours we had had enough. Its a lot of people and you could tell that if we stayed much later it was going to become a shit show. Lots to see and do. I do recommend at least seeing it even if you don’t partake. 

In order to get home from Khao San a taxi ride would be at least 30 min. The traffic had died down a bit because of the time, therefore this was a perfect opportunity to take a tuktuk. On a motorbike or tuk-tuk, you can get anywhere in half the time. They just weave through traffic and squeeze between cars. Our driver was hysterical, and I laughed the entire 15 mins home. His transmission was going bad and every time he shifted gears it sounded like a grinder. Cigarette in mouth, skinny old man yelling into a cell phone and laughing at my hysterics! Cost more than a taxi ($12 where a taxi was $9) but got home in record timing. The experience was well worth it. Here is a sneak peak

Ancient Siam 

Also known as Ancient City, this is a museum park occupying over 200 acres, in the shape of Thailand. I did not know that when we visited but when I google how to spell it, I learned the shape!

Ancient Siam is dubbed as the world’s largest outdoor museum.  The grounds feature 116 structures of Thailand’s famous monuments and architectural attractions. The grounds of Ancient Siam correspond roughly with the shape of the kingdom, with the monuments lying at their correct positions geographically. Some of the buildings are life-size replicas of existing or former sites, while others are scaled down. -Wikipedia 

It was about an hour and a half drive from Bangkok, and we are so glad we did it. This place is beautiful with plenty of photo opts. You are able to rent a golf cart, bikes or just walk the grounds. With it being so vast and spread out we chose to get a golf cart. Driving around and pulling over for photos we spent over 4 hrs there and still didn’t see everything. 


When leaving Khao San Rd we walked past a restaurant where the line was out the door with locals. Not even really being hungry we had to stop and check it out. Men were on the sidewalk in a outdoor kitchen making huge woks full of pad Thai.

Rated 4 stars out of 1,900 reviews on Trip Advisor. Our food was excellent! Pad Thai done right. Defiantly worth the wait with a very friendly staff. 

Street vendors 

If you’ve never had papaya salad you have to find a street vendor for this one. It’s tangy, fresh and very very spicy. I ask for no spice because I simply can’t handle it. Luckily for me, all of the street food I ate the entire time (which was almost daily) never made me sick. Fruit, meat, salad and pad thai all from street vendors was the best food. No one wears gloves but I like to live on the edge. 

To watch all the behind the scenes of Bangkok watch my highlights here

Next up, Phuket

papaya salad
chicken and pork satay

One Comment

  • Carrie

    That was so fun to read and the pics are great! So helpful for anyone thinking of traveling there. Informative and entertaining at the same time….my kind of read!