What to expect:
Bangkok is a lot like Phuket but just, city. It was so interesting to me because there were big skyscrapers and hotels mixed in with very old Thai buildings and then these poles with literally 100 wires wrapped around them (I show a picture of that below). We were only in Bangkok for a couple days and we spent a lot of time shopping since we were tapped out on the sun. I don’t think I would specifically go back to Bangkok but if I was traveling and had a layover, I’d probably extend it just so I could go to MBK mall and shop again haha I’ve never seen anything like that mall in my life. Keep reading and I’ll talk more about it.
Getting around Bangkok:
Your options are taxi, boat or the Grab app (aka Thailand’s uber). I have some tips on taxis down below but just be realllllly careful that they don’t scam you. Also, let it be known that Bangkok has some of the worst traffic in the world. It can take hours to go a few miles. So if you feel safe and you are close enough, walking isn’t a bad option. We took a boat down the river to get to one of the temples and, you guys, I really thought I was going to die. There was a big boat that we thought we were getting on and it left and this little traditional boat pulls up. We were just like “ok well this will be fine and authentic”. No. This little boat was so low in the water and the river was so choppy (and literally completely brown with floating trash) and the water was splashing on our faces and we were swaying back and forth. I was on the verge of tears. You can see it in the video ^. So only take a river boat if it’s a big boat lol. As for the app, my father in law used it a couple times for us to get around. I am super safety conscious (I don’t even use uber in America) so I wasn’t super keen on the idea but I am still here typing today so all is well.
Where we stayed:
We stayed at Lebua State Tower aka where they filmed Hangover II on that iconic rooftop, on those iconic stairs which, BY THE WAY, you are absolutely not allowed to take pictures on and they have loads of security up there to keep you from taking any pictures or videos on the stairs. Anyways, I digress. We were in a club level room so we were very fancy and got to take a separate elevator. We also had access to their Lebua No. 3 club lounge that had some morning snacks, afternoon tea, and evening appetizers. And drinks all day long so that’s a +. Our room was phenomenal. It had an entire sitting room, nook, full kitchen, full fridge, gorgeous marble bathroom with monogrammed towels, a separate bedroom and of course, the insane balcony that my scared-of-heights father wouldn’t even dream of getting near (even showing him the pictures made him queasy). There was only one major problem with this hotel…the food and drinks here were SO expensive!!! Keep reading to hear more…
What we did:
MBK: This is an absolutely enormous 8 story, 2000 shop mall in Bangkok and we spent so much time here!! By the time we got to Bangkok, we were at the end of our trip and had had enough sun so we were more than happy to be in the AC all day. We hadn’t even realized how much time had gone by (like 6 hours) because the place is so huge!! I recommend going in the second half of the day or evening though. We noticed they started bringing bigger and better stuff out the later it got. Also, you have to barter with them!! But be friendly about it. There are some places where they literally will not budge at all on price and honestly we just walked away from those ones. No fun. I thought I would hate bartering because it makes me uncomfortable but I was a pro by the end. I would usually try to cut the price literally in half (they’ll say no) and just slowly work your way up from there.
Wat Pho: This was the only temple we went by. We aren’t really big temple people and had no interest in going inside of them. We just walked around the outside of this one while my father in law went inside. We were going to check out a few of them just for the architecture, but it was sooooo hot and we were over it after just one. But while we were waiting for my father in law, a group of children who were learning English came up to us and wanted to take selfies with us and try to talk to us in English! So cute. Also, I have some tips below for visiting the temple though…
Thai Massage: Okay I had three massages in Thailand and actually the best one was in the Phuket airport 😂 (we had a crazy scary taxi ride to the airport and I was soooo stressed so Alec made me get a neck massage lol). We also got one at this spa at MBK and it was so pretty!! Alec and I were in the same room and it felt like a really nice spa, not a mall spa at all. Lastly, Alec and I got a true Thai massage at our hotel and tbh, it basically felt like a deep tissue massage. Except they stand on top of you and your have to wear special outfits because they move and bend your body around so much.
ICONSIAM: This is another mall that I wish we had more time in! Alec and I went here to kill some time on our last morning before heading home (and to get the Michelin star pad Thai…keep reading…) and it was SO beautiful. It was so luxurious (no bartering here) and so modern. We both said they had the coolest food court we had ever seen in our lives. But the bottom floor was set-up like a traditional “floating market” and they had all kinds of vendors and authentic foods, but like, nicer. I’m glad we kinda got to experience the idea of that because we fully intended to go to the famous floating markets in Bangkok until we got to our hotel and learned it was going to take about 2 hours to get to and from the floating markets. We were only there for 2 days and had other things we wanted to do so we passed.
Where we ate:
Lebua State Tower: Okay so continuing on from what I said before– the food and drinks at Lebua were outrageous. So much so that the only place we ate there was Cafe Mozu for our complimentary breakfast buffet (nutella crepes every morning hellooooo). It was honestly a bummer. So for example: we wanted to get a drink at the iconic and most famous bar in Bangkok, the rooftop Sky Bar. The verrrrry cheapest glass of wine was $35 USD and most drinks were around $40-$50. So we were like ummm no hard pass. Then we were thinking we would get dinner at one of the FIVE resturants up there. The very cheapest option was a tasting menu for $200 USD a person. They were actually all tasting menus except one a la carte but it was very heavy on the seafood which Alec isn’t a huge fan of/ still very expensive. SO THEN we headed down to the brand new Pink Bar (see photos above) which is an all pink, marble, and velvet champagne bar and of course I was in heaven. No. The cheapest cheapest option there was a $70 USD glass. Every other GLASS was over $100. So….yeah. You must have some luxurious clientele, Lebua.
Thipsamai: Four words. Michelin Star Pad Thai. To say we ate a lot of pad thai on this trip is an understatement. But to say that this is the best pad thai I have ever had is also an understatement. We tried to go one night to the OG location in Bangkok but when we got there, we realized it was closed for Thailand’s Independence Day. But they had just opened another (beautiful) location inside the ICONSIAM mall so we headed there the following day. I don’t even know how to describe how yummy it was or why it was different. It just tasted so fresh and nothing was overpowering. I would stop off in Bangkok just to have this pad Thai again.
Ciao Terrazza at Mandarin Oriental: In an effort to still go somewhere nice and fun once we got all decked out to eat somewhere at Lebua, our concierge recommended this restaurant and boy am I glad they did!!! This was one of my favorite meals in Bangkok. You sit right by the river and watch the boats float by while enjoying an absolutely delicious meal and some good wine! I highly recommend going here for a nice dindin. Also, how gorgeous is their tea room^^^?? I’ll have to put that on my to do list for next time.
Mazzaro: We popped in here on our first night because it was near our hotel and we were STARVING. It was so cute and modern in there, you wouldn’t even know you were in Bangkok. They had a huge menu with so many options. On our table, we had a mix of pizza, pad Thai, spaghetti bolognese and panang curry lol
Bonchon: This where we had lunch at MBK mall. It is a Korean friend chicken place and it was soooo yummy (and so spicy)! Their strawberry lemonade was one of the best lemonades I’ve ever had. The portions here are huge though so you could easily share and not waste a ton of chicken (like us).
Yao Rooftop Bar at Marriott Hotel The Surawongse: That’s a mouthful. We came here for the actual Yao chinese resturant on our last night and we were starving but when we arrived, they had JUST put in the last order for the evening and wouldn’t serve us despite the fact that their website displayed the wrong info. SO. They directed us to their rooftop which was very cool and lively but it was sooo hot, it was like 10 pm, and we were all starving and kind of over it. The food was ok. Kinda greasy. Not memorable. Overall, good for a quick bite or a fun rooftop drink but otherwise I’d skip it.
- So to go to the temples, not inside but just through the perimeter gates, you have to be dressed appropriately as a woman which usually means covering your knees and shoulders. As you can see above, I had shorts on but thankfully I grabbed my pool cover up at the last minute and wearing that was good enough for them I guess. Also, you can’t wear shoes in the temples (at least Was Pho) so if that weirds you out…now you know.
- Be really really careful with your money here. Or just anything in your pockets. Nothing was taken from us thankfully but we were super aware of it after people from Bali and Singapore warned us about the pit-pocketing skills in Bangkok. I highly recommend either a secure crossbody purse or a crossbody bag like this one that Alec wore the whole time.
- Like I said about Phuket, make sure that you aren’t ripped off by the taxis and don’t get in it until you settle on a price. Almost every single taxi there had a meter but they said it didn’t work (lies) so that they could charge you 5x that amount.