So, you’ve finished all your business meetings, and you have one day to spare in Bangkok. You don’t want to exhaust yourself doing everything in your tourist guide, but you want to make the most of your time, so you can at least go home and tell people you saw some of the real Thailand. We suggest you focus on pleasing all your five senses during your one day in Bangkok, the city that has something for everyone.
Here are our suggestions:
See the real Bangkok by doing a trip along its canals (referred to as Klongs, in Thai). Life in Bangkok, once upon a time, revolved completely around its waterways, which were the main means of transportation, and the lifeblood of the city. Today, obviously, things are a bit different, and much of urban lifestyle in Bangkok is located off the riverbanks. That’s what makes a canal tour all the more worth your while – so you can get off the tourist track (in a sense) and observe how life once was in Krung Thep (the Thai phrase for Bangkok), and continues to be: slow-paced, yet efficient, and undoubtedly full of culture and smiles.
Bangkok is famous for its street food and while there have been many discussions in recent years about moving vendors off of the street to Hawker Centres like in Singapore, we’re happy to report that city’s street eats are still as vibrant as ever. In fact thanks to last year’s Michelin guide, the first one for Bangkok, some places are hotter than ever.
Raan Jay Fai, “Jay Fai’s shop” is a street-side restaurant in Bangkok and a nickname of its eponymous owner. The restaurant mainly serves wok-cooked seafood dishes and is most famous for its crab omelette which we are happy to say is BRILLIANT. It received one star in the inaugural Bangkok 2018 Michelin Guide.
No trip to Bangkok is complete without a Thai massage, which is world-renowned for being able to significantly improve one’s health by removing knots and blockages that build up throughout the body. Head to Health Land (www.healthlandspa.com), which has locations throughout the city (Silom, Sukhumvit, Ekkamai, etc.), for a traditional two-hour Thai massage (450 THB for a private room) by some of the best masseuses in town.
Bangkok’s Flower Market, AKA Pak Klong Talad, is extremely popular amongst locals and visitors alike. It’s possible to buy a bouquet of orchids or long-stemmed red roses here for just 100 THB (about $3 USD). You’ll find all the local species of flowers, including jasmine, chrysanthemum, gerbera, orchids, lilies, and roses, as well as imported flowers, such as tulips, snapdragons, irises, and delphiniums. It’s open 24 hours, though the best times to go are early morning and late night, to avoid the crowds and get the best deals. It’s located at Chak Phet Road, the Memorial Bridge, or Saphan Phut Chao Phraya pier.
To really get a feel for the culture, check out Thailand’s folk music bars. Luk Thung music was developed in the early 20th century in central Thailand, and is comparable to Western country music. There are music halls throughout Bangkok that host performances all week long, and are especially crowded on the weekends. As the night ticks onwards, different singers perform, and the beat gets progressively faster. Best to show up later in the evening. Try: Isaan Tawandaeng, 484 Pattanakarn Road, near intersection of Phetchaburi Road and Phra Khanon Road. +66 (0) 2 717 2320. Open weekdays, 8 p.m.–midnight and 8 p.m.–3 a.m. on weekends.