Many a traveller will have experienced a stopover at this exotic melting pot of cultural experiences and bustling traffic, but while many love Bangkok’s fast pace and myriad opportunities, others can find it overwhelming.
Here we take out the hard work to show you the must see and do’s in any Bangkok stopover.
Loy Krathong Festival
As Thailand’s ‘Festival of Lights’, Loy Krathong is celebrated with waterways lit up by a sea of lotus-shaped rafts, adorned with candles, flowers and incense.
Traditionally an event to pay respect to the goddess of water, this is also a time for hope.
The festival is held annually during a full moon in November, or during the twelfth month of the Thai lunar calendar.
One of the best places to see this is on the banks of the Chao Phraya River.
Situated on the 33rd floor of Fraser Suites on Sukhumvit Soi, Above Eleven boasts a menu that’s as memorable as it high up.
Peruvian and Japanese influences fuse together to create dishes that are undeniably delicious, but decidedly unexpected in Bangkok such as impressive Pisco Sours and ceviche to soft-shell crab sushi rolls and edamame beans.
38/8 Soi Sukhumvit 11, Bangkok
A newcomer to Bangkok’s bar scene, you’ll find Chili Hip on the 20th floor of the new Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel, boasting 360 degree views of the city and light shows from surrounding towers.
While there is an array of cuisines available from Thai specialities to tapas and Australian Angus beef, it’s their cocktails that steal the show. Namely, the Chili Hip Signature Cocktail…
567 Ratchaprarop Road, Makkasan, Bangkok
Cooking with Poo
Don’t be put off by the name – travellers are invited to spend the day cooking with local celebrity chef Khun Poo (which means crab in Thai) – she only made the unfortunate discovery of her name’s English translation a few years ago.
Even so, Khun Poo (also known as Saiyuud Diwong) is the founder of Bangkok’s Helping Hands Thai Cooking School in the middle of Klong Toey.
Classes here with Poo are run daily from 8:30am–1:30pm from 1200 baht per person (approximately $40AUD).
They include a full tour of the produce markets in Klong Toey, hands on experience learning three traditional recipes, Thai specialty dessert tastings as well as transfers.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Sprawling across 35 acres, encompassing over 8,000 market stalls and enticing over 200,000 visitors every weekend – it’s little wonder why Chatuchak Weekend Market is a Bangkok must.
As Asia’s largest market, it’s often said that if you can’t find it in Chatuchak, you can’t find it in Thailand.
Stalls include everything from antiques and art galleries, accessories, electronics and homewares to cock fighting and flower markets.
Here are five best tips for surviving Chatuchak:
1. Buy a copy of Nancy Chandler’s map of Bangkok. It includes a detailed map of where to find what inside the market – the selection of goods offered can be roughly divided into 11 categories.
2. Arrive from 8:30am and start from the outside of the market and work your way towards the centre.
3. Stay hydrated. It can get hot in the middle of the day.
4. Bargain hard and smile. It will take you a long way to getting the price you want.
5. Lastly, if you see something you like in here – Buy it! Who knows if you will be able to find your way back to that exact stall!
The Peninsula Bangkok
Never failing to impress, The Peninsula is situated on the Chao Phraya River and offers a complimentary five-minute ferry across to the city for shopping and to nearby Chinatown.
Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel Bangkok
The new kid on the block and home to a stunning rooftop bar and spa, Centara Watergate is conveniently located just down the road from CentralWorld shopping centre and Siam Paragon – two Bangkok’s top shopping centres.
Luxx XL Langsuan Road
Stylish and private, this boutique stay is a short walk to Lumphini Park, MBK Shopping centre and Siam Shopping centres.
Thai Airways operates 38 weekly flights from Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney to Bangkok – flights from/to Sydney run daily.