We LOVED Bangkok! Justin had been a few times before we went together for our first time in December 2014. I thought it was going to feel like a big, crowded city and had no idea how fantastically interesting, magical and delicious it would be. I totally fell in love. When we were planning our honeymoon stops, we knew we wanted to start and end our South East Asia portion in this fantastic city.
Most people would start their Bangkok stories by talking about the amazing temples — which I should probably do also, but I had to start with the food.
OMG the food in Bangkok was some of the best food of our honeymoon. The fresh fruit (including my first durian!), food stalls, markets and street food was all amazing. Surprisingly, some of the best food is at the massive malls in their food courts — which were packed with locals and bewildered tourists. We loved everything!! Some of our favorite spots were eating at MBK, Soi 38 and the food stalls outside Central World Mall.
Ok, now to the temples. The temples in Bangkok were spectacular and if you are visiting for the first time you’ll probably want to spend at least one full day (probably two) seeing the temples. The highlight was the Grand Palace. We found a lovely tour guide on the street outside the temple who we paid to guide us through the temple — well worth it. The history and intricacy of the temple was amazing — a must see!
We also visited two other favorite temples, Wat Arun and Wat Po.
I have a weird habit of mimicking statue expressions. It may be a theme you see in our travels. I only sometimes get Justin to do it too.
Yeah, I know. I wouldn’t have thought I’d go to an amazing place like Bangkok and spend time in malls but the malls are a major part of the city and a place you go for EVERYTHING. There were all types of malls but our favorite was a mall on Sukhumvit Road called MBK. The food court food is spectacular and cheap (~$1-$1.50 per meal) and we also found a little arcade corner which had two of our favorite games: Japanese drumming and basketball.
It took us several attempts during our first visit to Bangkok to figure out how this drumming game worked, but we soon got the gist of it and pounded away on these massive drums as little Japanese cartoon characters encouraged us on in crazy loud voices that echoed throughout the space (sometimes I even won).
We also played basketball together and spent many attempts trying to get the highest score of the day — which we finally did one day. After so many attempts, this quickly served as our workout for the day — a two-for-one!
This last visit we discovered an Escape Room in MBK. We’d heard of this in SF, but not surprisingly, it is much cheaper to do in Bangkok and we were excited to try out our sleuthing and team problem solving skills. We were super proud to have finished the “escape” with the fastest time of the week. Go Team!
MBK is not a particularly fancy mall but Sukhumvit Road has tons of very fancy malls. All of them are air conditioned with incredible food and great bathrooms (pro tip!). They are beautiful and sometimes you can find stores with hundreds of condiments!
Our tradition (if you can now call it that) was to start our trip staying at S15, a very nice but reasonably priced boutique hotel on Sukhumvit Road, near the BTS public transit (which is amazing!) and is within walking distance to many of the markets and malls. And then at the end of the trip, we treat ourselves to a stay at Lebua, the hotel made famous by the movie The Hangover.
Both times we stayed there we got upgraded to suites that were ridiculously luxurious with beautiful balconies overlooking the city. Despite the smog, we got some wonderful sunrises and evening skyline views from the balcony.
Lebua has the most stunning rooftop bar that extends out over the city with knee-shaking views when looking down. Cocktail prices rival NYC so after several weeks in SE Asia we balked at splurging on one each, but the experience of it all was totally worth it!
Oh, and the breakfast! Most hotels we stayed at in South East Asia offered free breakfasts — and we had some great ones. But none came close to the amazing breakfast at Lebua. Rooms and rooms of food — a salad room, a sushi room, fruit, juices, a wood burning oven where they bake fresh pastries, eggs on demand. It was incredible!
During our visit in 2014 we took the MRT train to Chatuchak Weekend Market — a huge 35-acre market with over 10,000 shops. We took it all in, including quite a bit of suspicious food, but made it out with only slight stomach pains. Tip: Acclimate your stomach before diving right into all the market food…
And, be sure you are tall enough to ride the train on your own — I just made it!
During this recent trip, Justin surprised me with a night out at Dining in the Dark, an evening eating in complete darkness. It was created as a way to raise awareness about blindness and raise funds for local charities dedicated to enriching the life the visually impaired. Our server was blind and guided us through the evening of multiple courses. It was incredible to have super delicious food with all of our other senses so heightened — feeling around in the food and often eating with our hands. They have similar experiences in many cities and is definitely worth checking out.
These are before and after pictures — obviously no pictures from inside the darkness.
So, is it clear how much we love Bangkok? We LOVE Bangkok!