Bangkok is hot, bright and futuristic. While the city can feel like an imposition at times there are so many truly beautiful, magical places that heat, crowds and bad traffic just don’t matter.
Stay: The Anantara Baan Rajprasong Suites are nice and spacious serviced apartments just a minute away from Ratchadamri Skytrain station and near the central Erawan Shrine.
Do: There is just so much to do in Bangkok! The most touristic and crowded places are probably the Grand Palace and the temples Wat Pho and Wat Arun. However, they are simply magnificent and worth a visit. The sheer abundance of opulence, ornament work, materials and colors on every building is a reason to come here. It is best to visit in the early hours or late afternoon when it is less crowded and the light is softer and warmer. Also beautiful is the the Queen Sirikit Museum of textiles right at the entrance of the Grand Palace. Here, they host fashion and textile exhibitions as well as a nice souvenir shop. A nice way to get to the Palace is by Chao Phraya Express boat. Wat Pho is ten minutes by foot from there and Wat Arun is just across and can be reached by the ferry crossing the river. Visiting one of the many markets, bazaars and street stalls that can be found all over the city is a fun shopping experience and a refreshing alternative to all the malls and modern shops. Chatuchak Weekend Market is the most famous and even though there is a stream of tourists coming here, it’s still fun to explore the filled stalls and lanes. Great for a break is the small Craft Coffee shop in the market, they have the nicest staff and delicious coffee. Another beautiful but extremely touristy crowded place is the Jim Thompson house. The home of the American entrepreneur was build in 1959 in traditional thai style and still feels like an oasis in the middle of the city. A nice way to get there is by boat because the house is right at the canal. Apart from the traditional sights Bangkok also has to offer an interesting contemporary art scene. The Bangkok Art & Culture Centre offers free exhibitions and events in a great architectural building.
Also, the City City Gallery shows new, contemporary art like street art and local artists in a beautifully designed building. A great opportunity to discover more of Bangkoks art and gallery scene is the annual Galleries Night. Then, you can tour many galleries until late and experience special events on site.
Eat: The food in Bangkok is amazing. You can get everything from super cheap street food to fine dining menus but especially some midrange thai restaurants serve exquisite, fresh and inexpensive meals. Ban Chiang, Somtum Der and Baan Somtum all serve delicious thai dishes, especially the famous papaya salad but also so many other mouthwatering dishes like vermicelli noodles, catfish salad, marinated beef and mango with sticky rice. Teens of Thailand is a cool bar that serves tasty gin cocktails on the edge of Chinatown. It’s located in Soi Nana, a stylish street with small galleries and El Chiringuito, a tapas bar where you can sit on the street under red lanterns. The cafe Shugaa creates sweet dessert dreams in pastel colors which don’t only look beautiful, they are absolutely tasty, for example the matcha cake or the chocolate dish. Also the Shugria, a spiced roselle and grape juice, is delicious.
Shop: Bangkok is a city of malls and even though most of them look the same you can sometimes find some local designers and unique products. Pattric Boyle for example is a local mens brand with bold prints and colors that is also wearable by women. The stores can be found at Siam Paragon and Siam Center. The Jim Thompson Outlet sells the famous colorful silk products like scarves, clothing and home decor at reduced prices. A nice stylish spot right at the riverfront is the Jam Factory. The old factory building now is a cultural space with a cozy cafe that serves delicious matcha waffles, a design and bookshop as well as special events like a farmers market on weekends.
Getting around: Public transportation is plentiful in Bangkok but can be confusing. The BTS SkyTrain is the easiest and fastest way but there is also the MRT subway system, BRT buses, and of course taxis. A nice way to get around and avoid rush hour are the many boats, like the Chao Phraya Express ferries that run up and down and across the river and canals and stop at many tourist spots. This site gives an overview and helps with trip planing.