Bangkok is the world’s favourite holiday destination. If you are planning an international holiday of any sort, chances are that Thailand’s amazing capital city is high on your list, if not at the very top! After all, for some years running now, Bangkok has rated as the most visited city in the entire world.
This might make you wonder what Bangkok has got that other cities haven’t. The answer is very simple: Bangkok has everything.
Starting from exploring the best shopping area in Bangkok or the marvelous things to discover in a Bangkok night market, enjoying a Bangkok Thai massage afterward, or a fascinating tour through the Bangkok Old City the next morning, the list goes on of incredible things to do here, and there is surely something for everyone.
And the numbers prove it. In the country as a whole, tourists coming in increase every year — from over 20 million in 2017, to 38 million in 2018 and a projected 41 million people visiting in 2019. Tourism is an extremely important part of the economy of Thailand, as you might guess. When you count up all the effects of travel though Thailand, direct and indirect, it amounts to nearly 20 percent of the country’s Gross National Product. This tells you that there must certainly be enough going on in Bangkok to draw people in and make them want to return again and again, and the top 10 experiences in Bangkok are waiting for them!
Having something to do with their proximity, and the fact that Bangkok is a major airlines hub in Asian, the biggest percentage of these tourists to Thailand come from Asia. It is figured that almost 30% arrive from China alone, with an equal number represented by other ASEAN countries, Malaysia being at the top of the list. However, during only the first quarter of the current year, 2019, both South Korea and Japan have already, brought in over 600,000 tourists each, with India not at all far behind them.
But proximity is clearly not the whole story, as the tourist arrival numbers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and especially Russia are all also incredibly high. So if you are thinking, whatever the top 10 experiences in Bangkok are, they must be wonderful — well, guess what. You’re right!
Without a doubt, Bangkok is the world’s El Dorado for gourmands of every level — both amateur and well known professional food writers. But this also includes the world’s most famous chefs and simply people who enjoy eating. That includes nearly everyone, of course, so now you the picture of Bangkok’s immense popularity is getting clearer!
Besides all the foreign cuisines available in the city, the local cuisine of Thailand is a world-famous delight and high on the list of the top 10 experiences in Bangkok. The high quality dishes of the royal cuisine made according to age-old traditional recipes can still be found in your most elegant restaurants. But that is not the whole story.
You may not realize it but a Thai street food is also recognized as a culinary art and represents an incredibly delicious realm in eating authentic Thai cuisine. You can find these stalls and carts, often with some metal tables set up around them, at most of the busy areas in the city. The best shopping area in Bangkok will always have plenty of them. And at a Bangkok night market you can try and taste to your heart’s content. One of these little stands was even awarded with a Michelin star!
Famous for its healthful benefits, traditional Bangkok Thai massage is absolutely one of the top 10 experiences in Bangkok. Having its roots in Ayurvedic treatments, stretching back thousands of years, Thai massage one of the salient expressions of the culture.
The actual treatment involves a lot of stretching and the applying of pressure along energy lines in the body, with the goal of increasing circulation and restoring flexibility. With it comes a happier attitude and mode of mind. However, always be sure to inform your therapist of any problem areas or pains. And do not be too shy to tell them if the pressure is too strong or too light. They are here to help you.
While you can find a huge number of small shops scattered across the city, the most relaxing experience would definitely be in the most comfortable surroundings with qualified and experienced therapists, such as you will find at VIE Spa in VIE Hotel Bangkok.
If you are considering learning a bit about it in order to practice it at home, the most famous Bangkok Thai massage school in the country is located at Wat Pho, sometimes called the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, located in the Bangkok Old City.
MUAY THAI SHOW
Experience the excitement of Thailand’s traditional martial art, Muay Thai. A number of areas are located in Bangkok, such as the famous Lumpini Stadium or at Ratchadmri Stadium. You can even be on television if you go to the Channel 7 arena which films the matches live.
A Muay Thai match is a boisterous bout of yelling crowds, fast-moving punches and kicks and bets being made. Prepare yourself for a wild time.
Bangkok’s Chinatown, called Yaowarat, is a fascinating place to visit. Not only are its streets lined with all kinds of shops amidst the crowds, it is also a popular place to buy gold jewelry, as you will see from the large shops displaying huge amounts of the intricately designed and gorgeous metal — necklaces, bracelets, rings, and all.
Yaowarat is also extremely well known in Bangkok for its extremely delicious dining! The street food here is said to be the best in the city. All the restaurants you will find, from seafood to Chinese cuisine, are nearly guaranteed to delight your palate with exquisite tastes.
The brilliant temples and pagodas (called chedis) of Bangkok are iconic. A visit to the most famous of them is simply a must among the top 10 experiences in Bangkok.
You will find them in the Bangkok Old City along the Chao Phraya River. From VIE Hotel Bangkok, one easy way to get there is to take the BTS Skytrain to the Taksin Station, where you will find the Sathorn pier. From there you can board an express taxi boat which will take you upriver, for less than 20 baht per person.
Just ask for the Wat Arun Pier as your destination. This will let you off at Wat Arun, the gorgeous temple of white gleaming spires, known as the Temple of Dawn. From here you can take a ferry across the river to the Grand Palace, which houses the mind-bogglingly beautiful Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Phra Kaew. A short walk from there will get you to Wat Pho, with its immense gold-sheaved reclining Buddha.
Don’t leave Bangkok without a visit to these temples! Your camera will thank you and so will everyone who sees the incredible photos you bring back home or post on your favorite social media.
EXPLORE THE CITY BY TUK TUK
Get around Bangkok in authentic Thai style with a tuk tuk ride. Loud and bit wild as it careens through the traffic, this is a thrill and one of the top 10 experiences in Bangkok. To make sure you get where you need to go on time and safely, the VIE Tuk Tuk service at VIE Hotel Bangkok is complementary to guests of the hotel.
CHAO PHRAYA RIVER CRUISE
Imagine a romantic dinner aboard a boat cruising the exotic Chao Phraya River that runs through the center of Bangkok. A range of choices are available and the concierge can organize just the one you need. Some of them are large multi-leveled vessels with live bands and glamorous buffet. Others may be an elegantly converted rice barge, perfect for an intimate candlelit conversation over the delicious cuisine.
Thailand is a land of many waterways. An authentic experience of the traditional Thai floating market can be had at Taling Chan Market, Bang Ku Wiang Market, Tha Kha and Damnoen Saduak, which is the most popular of them, especially with tourists. You can even go in for a guided boat tour of them, passing the little boats piled high with local fruits and vegetables.
While on the edge of town a bit, for an even more authentic trip, try out the Bang Nam Floating Market or the Klong Lat Mayom Floating Market. These are much smaller but will offer a taste of Thailand less often seen by tourists.
Another experience of Thai shopping culture is a visit to a Bangkok night market. These are great places to pick up good deals are hard to find items and curios — as well as to indulge in some delicious Thai street food.
From VIE hotel Bangkok, the easiest two to get to are both quite different from each other. At the BTS Saladaeng Station, you will find the Patpong Night Market. Though it is actually laid out in the middle of what was once Bangkok’s most infamous red light district, the bars and clubs are fairly tame these days and it is a good place for a deal on handbags and other accessories.
The Ratchada Train Market can be found by transferring to the MRT Subway and shooting up to the Thai Cultural Centre Station. From there, make your way behind the adjacent Esplanada shopping mall. This night market is fantastic for all kinds of trendy apparel and antiques. Pubs with live music and some tasty restaurants will entertain and satisfy you as well.
One thing Bangkok is known for is shopping. Overall, shopping has to be among the top 10 experiences in Bangkok. And if the night markets and floating markets aren’t enough for you, the glitzy megamalls are amazing. They are generally about seven floors high and packed with every kind of shop, as well as restaurants, food hall, a cinema and usually a bowling alley or some other entertainment.
Explore the brand name world of high-end shopping or make a deal at MBK center. There are plenty more located all around VIE Hotel Bangkok, which is situated right in the middle of the best shopping area in Bangkok, which is known as the Siam area.
They are all conveniently reached by the BTS Skytrain, within just a 5 minute ride! Of course, weather permitting, you could also simply walk to them from the hotel which would take about ten minutes. Besides the malls mentioned above, you can also reach Siam Discovery, Centrepoint and the shopping at Pratunam and Platinum Mall this way, including the techie Pantip Mall.
Besides mall shopping, the fascinating Jim Thompson House is just down the street. This is a great place to explore for its beautiful architecture—and yes, also to shop for some gorgeous silken souvenirs.