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Chatuchak weekend market (3 hrs - ½ day)
Bangkok is definitely known for it’s shopping options. The biggest and cheapest market, which is only open on Saturday and Sunday, is Chatuchak weekend market. Here you will find everything, souvenirs, decoration, clothes, food, really everything you can imagine. If you need a dress for your hamster, you will find it at Chatuchak.
The best way to go there is by sky train. Take the Sukhumvit line to Mo Chit, it’s the last stop. From there, just follow the flow and the people will guide you easily to the market, where you can easily spend a whole day. But our advice is: go early, as it’s not too hot and not too crowded.
Shopping heaven: Rama One Road (1 hr -1 day)
Bangkok is shopping and besides all markets, this city has the most wonderful shopping malls. And many of those malls are all close to each other. The area around Rama One Road really is heaven for shopping. There are many malls. The most legendary is Mah Boon Krong (MBK) with specialised floors for computer, phones and clothes.
But there’s also Siam Discovery, the beautiful Siam Paragon, and the biggest lifestyle shopping mall in Southeast Asia; Central world and many more shopping centres. They’re all easily accessible from Sky train stations ‘National Stadium’ or ‘Siam’. This is the area where ‘fashionistas’ and shopaholics can eat their heart out.
Traditional Pad Thai noodle place (1 hr)
Thailand is the place to be for good food. Go to a nice restaurant or eat from a small hawker stall in the street. And don't forget to try the world famous Pad Thai noodles of course.
This typical Thai food can be eaten from many places around the country but the best place to try this is the restaurant where the original recipe comes from: Restaurant Pad Thai Lung Pha, which is located at number 315/1 Mahachai Road (nearby Khaosan Road).
Pad Thai is the only dish they make and you have the choice between Pad Thai or the egg-wrapped Pad Thai. You can have your meal inside but best is to sit at a table outside. The restaurant can be very busy so sometimes you have to wait a while. There are several places around Pad Thai Lung Pha selling the same dish and that gave this street the nickname: Phad Thai Lane. There are a few hawker stalls in front of the restaurant where you can order some other dishes while waiting for your traditional Pad Thai.
Mango Tree Signature (2 hrs)
Bangkok has a great new restaurant: Mango Tree Signature. There are more Mango Tree restaurants, but this one is absolutely top of the bill. Located in a wonderful 60 year old colonial building just behind Oriental Hotel, Mango Tree Signature offers a wonderful bar downstairs with a lovely garden and upstairs is a beautifully decorated dining room. The young chef is coming from the Oriental Hotel and prepares wonderful fusion dishes, or Modern style Thai as chef Nattapong Norchoovech likes to call it.
The restaurant is a bit more expensive then most ‘normal’ restaurants in Bangkok, but for sure cheaper then restaurant Normandy in the Oriental Hotel. And to be honest, the food and service are comparable. The decoration is wonderful and it’s an invitation to dress up yourself as well for a wonderful evening. O.P. Garden Soi Charoenkrung 36, tel: (662) 238 6400.
Spanish food (1 ½ hr)
To us it’s hardly impossible to get enough of Thai food, but if you really like to eat something else, we suggest you eat Spanish food. There are two good places owned by the same company. Tapas Cafe and Spanish on 4.
The first one is located at 1/25 Sukhumvit Soi 11. The other one is located at the famous Soi 4 at Silom Road. (Don’t mistake it for Tapas bar, which is just a bar and doesn’t serve any food.) The restaurants are open daily from 11 am till late night.
The food the serve has a real Spanish taste. No wonder if you know the chef are truly from Spain. They serve both traditional and moderns style tapas dishes. And, as it should be, they have a great wine list with affordable wines.
Sirocco Bar State Tower (2 hrs)
One of the best hangout spots at night offers the best view at Bangkok. The view from Sirocco Bar at the city and Chao Phraya River is absolutely breathtaking, and so are the prices of the menu. For the price of a glass of wine, you can easily have a whole dinner outside, but ok, the view is worth a million.
Sirocco is located at the 63th floor of State Tower at Silom Road. From the lobby of Lebua Hotel you can take the elevator to the top floor. The bar and restaurant are opened daily from 6.00 pm till 1.00 am.
Red Sky Bar (2 hrs)
Another great sky bar is Red Sky Bar on top of Centara Grand Hotel. One of Bangkok’s most acclaimed rooftop bars is perched dramatically above the heart of the city, boasting breathtaking 360-degree views of the cityscape.
The bar is open daily from 5:00 pm to 01:00 am. Have a look at our IFLYtheworld.com mini movie about Red Sky Bar.
-5 Ice Bar (½ hr)
If it’s too hot for you in Bangkok and like to cool down, you should go to the -5 Ice Bar at Silom Road. In this small Absolut ice bar the temperature is -5 degrees Celsius. You enter through the Irish Pub of the Holiday Inn Hotel. You pay 500 Baht, which gives you 20 minutes entrance time. They will give you a warm jacket and gloves before entering the freezer. It’s just a small bar and everything inside is made of ice; the walls, the bar, seats and even the glasses you drink from.
During your stay in the bar you can drink as many shots of Absolut Vodka as you can. And Vodka is the only thing you can drink there. Of course you can try several different flavours. Before entering you will be told you can drink as much as you can and they tell you as well: make sure you are drunk when you come out. But be careful, when you come out it’s not only the vodka that makes you dizzy, it’s the difference in temperature as well.
The -5 Ice Bar is located at the ground floor of the Holiday Inn hotel at 981 Silom Road. The opening hours are every day from 6 pm to 1 am.
Sampeng Lane (2 hrs)
In walking distance from Chinatown you will find a market called Sampeng Lane. At this market you can find a lot of stuff like clothes, jewellery, accessories, fabrics and decorations. You can buy just one piece, but the market is mostly meant for wholesale. So if you buy a dozen or so of something, you will get great wholesale prices. There’s no bargaining at this market, as they are all fixed wholesale prices. But the prices are very good already.
You will find the market at Sampeng Lane and the small soi’s (streets) in between Ratchawong Road and Thanon Chakkrawat. Just walk into a soi and have a look at the small shops. Don’t forget to go upstairs sometimes and you’ll be amazed what they sell. You can do some serious shopping here. Most shops are open during daytime from 8.30 am to 6 pm.
Khaosan Road (1 night)
The most laid back area in Bangkok is at Khaosan Road. In former times the street was a rice market. In the last 20 years, however, the street has developed into a popular backpacker area.
In this area you will find all world travellers, cheap ho(s)tels, tourist agencies and also a nice market, shops, massage places and very affordable restaurants and bars. It is located in the Banglamphu area about 1 km north of the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew. The area is busy 24 hrs, but the best time to go there is at night.
Silom Area (1 night)
A more sleazy area to hang out at night is the Silom area. This is the place around the famous Patpong Market where you can buy your copy watches and other fake items.
This is also the area with many restaurants, bars and clubs where you can hangout until late night. Sex shows and ping pong shows are given in many bars in the area and there is an alley (Soi 4) with gay bars only.
Impact (2 hrs - 1 day)
Impact is a huge expo centre located in Nonthaburi, about half an hour taxi drive from downtown Bangkok. In this huge centre are many varying exhibitions where you can buy good stuff. Some events look like Chatuchak, but less crowded and air-conditioned.
There are exhibitions for furniture and decorations; exhibitions that feature hand made, Thai foods, travel, arts & fashion, cars and much more. There are big shows and concerts given as well.
You will find impact at 9 Popular Road, Banmai Sub district, Pakkred District, Nonthaburi. An event calendar can be found here.
THINGS NOT TO DO: Lumpini night market (0 hr)
This nightmarket is still mentioned in several travel guides, but since 2011 this night market is closed.
If you want a touristy night market you’ll have to go to Pat Pong at Silom Road.
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Language of the world
Of course you like to speak a few words of the local language onboard the plane or at your destination. Here you find some simple basics of the main language spoken in Bangkok.