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Friday, January 29, 2016

8 Things to Do in Bangkok

Bangkok is a vibrant metropolis in Southeast Asia and the capital of Thailand. Although most people say that it is similar to Manila, I have found a certain attachment to this lovely multicultural city. So attached that I returned to Bangkok a year after my first visit, but this time, with the boyfie. :)

Here are the things that we did (and we recommend you to do) while in Bangkok:

1. Malling

San Francisco Floors
Hollywood Floor
There are several luxury malls that you can visit in Bangkok for either shopping or strolling. We have gone to a few malls around the metro: Siam Paragon (Siam BTS), Terminal21 (Asok BTS) and the newly-opened EmQuartier (Phrong Phong BTS). 

Istanbul Floor

While I like Siam Paragon for its accessibility and variety of food choices, I love Terminal21's one theme per floor concept and the architecture of EmQuartier. 

Terminal21 has nine floors with a different city/place per floor: LG is Caribbean, G is Rome, M is Paris, 1st Floor is Tokyo, 2nd Floor is London, 3rd Floor is Istanbul, 4th & 5th Floors are San Francisco (city and pier) and 6th Floor is Hollywood. 

EmQuartier has recently opened last May 2015 and looks more like a museum than a shopping mall. 

2. Watch Movies in the Cinema

Whenever we have the time, the boyfie and I make sure to go to the cinemas. Fortunately, Bangkok has the most beautiful cinemas we have visited. We went to two cinemas: the Siam Paragon Cineplex and Quartier CineArt. 

The Siam Paragon Cineplex Bangkok Airways Blue Ribbon Cinema is the most expensive movie ticket we ever bought at 1000 Baht (Php 1330). Our ticket includes access to the lounge before the movie starts, a La-Z-Boy couch with pillows and blankets for two. 

Lounge Area before the movie

We were offered drinks (wine, juice, tea, coffee) and pastries (cookies, ice cream), served in the lounge. It was the best cinema experience we had, and having relaxing seats meant that we fought the urge to fall asleep. We got defeated. :P

A cheaper but almost as luxurious option is the Quartier CineArt at EmQuartier. For 400 Baht (Php 532), we also got a La-Z-Boy Couch with pillows and blankets. However, the couch seats are limited per theater. There was no lounge but we bought huge buckets of popcorn and soda. 

Popcorn at Quartier CineArt

Truffle Flavored Popcorn, yo! 

3. Eat Local Food

Our brunch at Im Chan

We both love Thai food, and if you haven't tried it, you're missing a lot. 

During our stay in Bangkok, we ate everywhere -- the streets, the malls and the local restaurants. Like what I realized last year, the most delicious dishes we had are the one we got along the streets. 

Tom Yum at The 64 Cafe
Pad Thai and Pomegranate Juice along Wat Pho

We both loved the Shrimp Pad Thai (60 Baht or Php 80) sold by an old Thai lady outside Wat Pho,  paired with freshly-squeezed Pomegranate Juice. Our Airbnb place along Sukhumvit area has a lot of local restaurants, including The 64 Cafe near Punnawithi Station that serves amazing Thai Fried Rice and Tom Yum. 

Our most amazing meal was at Im Chan, an outdoor restaurant located along Sukhumvit 37 Alley, where we had Spring Rolls, Panang Curry and Chicken Fried Rice. 

Lose the hesitation and go try whatever you can find along the streets of Bangkok. You'll love it, I swear. 

4. Drink Coffee, lots of coffee

Being both caffeine-dependent, the boyfie and I loved how abundant Bangkok is with iced coffee cart and small coffee shops. 

Freshly-made Thai Iced Coffee can go as cheap as 20 Baht (Php 26), while Iced Coffee from  local coffee shops can be priced for around 55 Baht (Php 73). 

Our intense need for coffee led us to this simple-looking cafe along Sukhumvit 39 called Rabika Coffee along Sukhumvit Soi 39. This small cafe has Aliens vs Predators lifesize displays near the entrance that the boyfie can't help taking a picture with. 

The most popular temples to visit in Bangkok are The Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun. A trip to Bangkok is not complete if you'll not visit any of these places. 

To go to this area, you can either take the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat or taxis or Uber (I highly suggest Uber if you prefer to ride a car instead of a boat). 

Allot a day to explore these places, and explore the food carts around the area for delicious street food. 

6. Go to a Sky Bar

Though Sky Bars are identified more as hangout spots for tourists, a view of Bangkok at night is not bad. In fact, it is beautiful. I highly suggest Cloud47, which I have also visited last year, for a breathtaking view of the Bangkok skyline. 

7. Get a Massage

Foot massage at Wat Pho School of Massage

As we both love getting massages, we indulged ourselves with foot massages and whole body massages while in Bangkok. For foot massages, we loved Wat Po Massage Schools (there's one near Wat Pho temple and along Sukhumvit 37) and for whole body massages (with body scrub), we have tried Chivit Chiva along Sukhumvit 19 and it was indeed a wonderful experience for us. Rates depend on the area. 

8. Visit the Red Light District

Here's the deal: don't go to Patpong. 

The boyfie and I walked around the Patpong area to confirm if what travel bloggers or TripAdvisor reviewers are posting are true. After being approached by random strangers to watch a sex show, or being offered to go inside to "just look around", we realized that Patpong area is a scammer's haven. 

We suggest that you go to Soi Cowboy instead. 

Located in between Sukhumvit Soi 23 and Asok Soi 21, Soi Cowboy is a small strip of around 40 go go bars

We went to a bar named Suzie Wong's. I won't elaborate what we have seen there (you have to see it for yourself), but note that Soi Cowboy is the legit red light district you should go to. A running bill is left on our table and was updated per additional order. Our whole stay costed us more than 1000 Baht (Php 1330) for a few beers, cocktails and drinking water. Not bad for the experience. 

Here's the tip though: don't take pictures inside the bar.

Landmark for Soi Cowboy is Terminal 21.

Bangkok is indeed a memorable city for us, and I would really love to go back and explore the city more. 

Note: 1 Baht = Php 1.33

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