Ultimate Experience no. 1000 – Hottest Places in the World: Bangkok, Thailand

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Between my best friend’s wedding and some much-needed beach-bumming we had scheduled for later, we had about three days in this vibrant, sprawling city. Here’s what we did.

 Day 1:

Breakfast at Anantara Riverside Resort & Spa: Technically, this was still a part of our weekend wedding extravaganza, but even with no wedding, I’d definitely splurge on a 5-star breakfast when in Bangkok; lodging, food, transport (not to mention massages) are so cheap in the city, you won’t feel guilty about treating yourself.  Away from the hustle and bustle of the inner-city, we enjoyed a serene moment at this breezy riverside spot – and the buffet was straight out of a dream (at least my dreams, which consist exclusively of food).

Check-in at our next hotel, the Cacha Art Hotel in Siam. I loved our stay here: the minimalist, pared-down style coupled with the brilliant wall art really appealed to my aesthetic. It may not be luxe, but it is centrally located and the staff is super-helpful.

Tuk-tuk ride to lunch: Great way to catch the sights and sounds, and not nearly as dangerous as its formidable fellow, the motorbike taxi. Which I also rode, and it was terrifying and exhilarating. And I get to cross off Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Experience no. 12, the Motorcycle-Taxi Ride in Thailand! (Be sure to wear a helmet if you do this one.)

Lunch at MK Restaurant: This is a chain – but don’t recoil! If you want to do it like the locals, MK should be on your list; it is hugely popular and the food is as delicious as it is cheap. Sukiyaki (Japanese hot pot) is what they’re known for, but my personal favorite was the roast duck with green noodles.

Fish Pedicure at Fish Spa: Not for the ticklish, and not a particularly effective pedicure either  – but fish spas are plentiful in Thailand and we were tempted to give it a try. Do acquaint yourself with the health risks beforehand, of course.

Full-body massages at Chang’s Foot Massage and Spa: This was a day we’d set aside to recuperate from the 3 days of non-stop partying, so it was fairly low-key, but ultimately very reviving. Chang’s Foot Massage and Spa was a great find, but as with all the massage parlors I visited in BKK, I had to state emphatically that I needed to be handled gently.

Dinner Cruise on the Chao Phraya River: We went with the Loy Nava Bangkok at Night Cruise, which provided a 6-course candle-lit dinner alongside some Thai traditional music and classical dancing. Unlike other loud party cruises we passed by on our journey, this was a quiet and relaxing affair. Pro: they pick you up and drop you back at your hotel. Con: their much-touted degustation menu was simply not as good as we came in expecting.

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Streetside Nutella crepes
And the presentation is pretty sweet, too
The presentation was pretty sweet, too

Day 2:

9 AM to 1 PM: Cooking Course at Silom Thai Cooking School. Some of the most delicious food we ate on our trip was the stuff we made here in the Silom kitchens; of course that isn’t in the least to our credit because spices and ingredients were measured out for us and we were very closely guided. The lesson included a trip to the local market, and a 5-course meal of Tom-Yum soup, Larb-Gai salad, Pad-Thai noodles, Green Curry chicken & rice, and the famous traditional dessert, Sticky-rice-pudding & mango. Terrifically fresh food – everything was made from scratch, even the coconut milk and tamarind paste –  and an entertaining class; I cannot recommend this enough!

Foot Massage at Chang’s Foot Massage and Spa. Yup, we got one every day.

Shopping at MBK, Platinum Fashion Mall and Siam Paragon: MBK and Platinum Fashion Mall are known for their great bargains, but I’d say you get what you pay for: the quality of the products on sale reflect their prices. Siam Paragon, arguably the most upscale mall in Bangkok, is where we went to gorge on macarons (Ladurée!) and cupcakes (Cupcake Love!).

Dinner at Khao San Road: Famous for being a backpacker’s Mecca, Khao San Road is quite the sensory experience. Vendors waddled around with trays strapped to their chests, offering such delights as fried frogs, scorpions and other little insects. We opted for dinner in a tucked away little place called Tom Yum Kung instead.

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Day 3:

On our final day, we did the highlights of the city with Tours with Tong. There were a multitude of itineraries to choose from, but we wanted to take things easy (it’s a perennial struggle when you’re lazy AF but also want to go places and see things) and ended up visiting the following:

1. Pak Khlong Talat (Flower Market)
2. Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
3. The Grand Palace 
4. The Royal Temple of the Reclining Buddha
5. Canal Tour

Gorgeous walls at the Grand Palace

One thing to keep in mind for the tour: there are dress codes for certain places, such as temples. You cannot be bare-shouldered or wear anything above the knees, so perhaps leave the teeny-tiny shorts and crop tops for another day?

Also, while at the Temple of the Reclining Buddha,I suggest getting a foot massage at the in-house Watpo Thai Traditional Massage School. Your feet will thank you dearly.

At Wat Pho
Wall details, Wat Pho

Dinner and drinks at Above Eleven: Offering spectacular nighttime views of the city, a rooftop bar is par for the course when in Bangkok. Above Eleven is a massively popular one that was recommended to us by many, and it did not disappoint. Although for my next trip I’ve got my eye on Sky Bar the Lebua…

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