Friday, August 9, 2019

Bangkok, Thailand: 5 days 4 nights Itinerary

       5 days 4 nights in Bangkok, what can I do? Although I feel that Bangkok deserves a week, this 5 days 4 nights Bangkok itinerary will be an eye-opener for any first-timer in Bangkok! As soon as arriving at the airport, remember to pick up a local SIM card to stay connected. You can also pre-book the BTS Skytrain Rabbit Card before your trip and pick up at the airport so that you won’t waste time queuing up tor tickets. In case, you are wondering, there is also an unlimited Skytrain pass, but it won't benefits you since Skytrain is just a part of Bangkok public transport. We will be using a combination of Skytrain, bus, boat and tuktuks.

       We arrived at the Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport a little before 10 in the morning. Without further adieu, we collected our luggages and head towards the arrival hall. That is when we saw our driver holding a cardboard with our names. Yes, to avoid chaos at the airport, we had booked a private transfer from Don Mueang International Airport directly to our hostel. Hassle Free and it isn't even expensive in the first place. It's RM80 per car and you can share with 3. 40 minutes later, we had checked in, took a bath and rested a little.

Where to stay in Bangkok? 

       We picked a prime location in Pratunam because we planned to transform into shopaholics Every night. wow, sounds like a vampire or a werewolf!  We really enjoy having the Pratunam Night Market at our doorstep.
Recommendations: 
Coop Hotel (View on Booking.com) and Citin Pratunam (View on Booking.com )

Bangkok, Thailand: 5 days 4 nights Itinerary

DAY 1 - Friday (start at noon)

Floating Market-> Train Market-> Pratunam Night Market 

Amphawa Floating Market

How to get there: Easiest way is by minibus from the Victory Monument all the way straight to the doorstep of Amphawa Floating Market. Fare is around 90–100 baht each way.
how to go to Amphawa Floating Market
Ticket price: Free
Estimated time of visit: 2 hours, have your Lunch here!


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       Make Amphawa floating market on the Maeklong river as the first destination of your day because, even though Amphawa is the second most popular floating market among travelers (second to Damnoen Saduak), it is the Local’s favorite. So by 5 pm, this market will be packed and difficult to move. Hence, it is advisable to go early and leave by 4 pm.
       After you’ve done feeding, take a longtail boat ride to explore the surrounding canals and rivers. You can also go to the “Wat Amphawa Chetiyaram” temple nearby.
Bangkok, Thailand: 5 days 4 nights Itinerary
how to go to Amphawa Floating Market
how to go to Amphawa Floating Market
how to go to Amphawa Floating Market
Amphawa Floating Market

Maeklong train market

How to get there: Take a Songthaew to Maeklong train market from Amphora Floating Market. The fare was around 8 baht.
Ticket Price: Free
Estimated time of visit: 30 minutes to 1 hour
tuktuk
songthaew in Bangkok

       Truly one of the most unusual market I’ve seen so far: A transformable market that sits atop train tracks. You will be walking on the narrow track surrounded by vendors during normal hours and when the train arrives, you jump off the track to secure your little spot a safe distance from the train. As the train passes through the market pulling into the terminal, you can see vendors pulling in their umbrellas and goods to make way while visitors take out their phones and camera.
       Before your trip, be sure to check the train schedule so that you don’t miss the great “show”! For the ultimate experience, you can also jump aboard and let the train takes you through the market!
Bangkok, Thailand: 5 days 4 nights Itinerary
Maeklong train market
Maeklong train market

Pratunam Night Market

How to get there: Pratunam market is located at the intersection of Ratchaprarop and Phetburi Roads in the Ratchathewi district. The metro will take you there.
Ticket price: Free
Estimated time of visit: 2-3 hours including shopping time, have your dinner here!

       Pratunam Market is one of Bangkok's major markets, and, Thailand's largest clothing market! Shopping! Not only that, food choices were abundant too, we tried the green papaya salad with small chili crabs, tomyam gung and "forced" our new Japanese friend to try Durian.
Pratunam Night Market
Pratunam Night Market

Tips of the day: 


  • For those who would like someone else to settle the logistics for them while they have fun, join this Amphawa- Maeklong tour that includes a Fireflies viewing along the Maeklong River! How exciting!  
  • If you arrived in Bangkok early in the morning or even the day before, you can start the day earlier by joining a Thailand Floating market day tour, which will not only bring you to the Amphawa Floating Market and Maeklong Train Market but also the most famous floating market of all, the Damneon Saduak.  
Bangkok, Thailand: 5 days 4 nights Itinerary


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DAY 2 - Saturday

Chatuchak Weekend Market

How to get there: Take the SkyTrain to Mo shit BTS station. This way, you can experience the famous SkyTrain!
Ticket Price: Free
Estimated time of visit: Whole Day. The market starts from 6 am, so if you a hardcore traveler, feel free to come at 6 am. If not, it is advisable to come after 9 am when all stalls are set up and ready to party!

       Trust me, of dear, this open-air market is the biggest in the world, a must-visit no matter what other people tell you. Go for a FOOD HUNT! Diet plans can wait. and Yes, the little Chatuchak tale I told you in my instagram post actually happened. So eat in moderation guys!


       This place is HUGE, covering more than 1km with 15000 stalls dotted across! We spent almost the whole day walking but I doubt we covered half of the whole place… If you have other plans for this day, cancel them. You won’t make it, trust me. Make this day your eat-shop-eat-shop day!
       No other markets can beat Chatuchak market at prices. everything sold here are all so freaking cheap. And on top of that, it is a culture to continue haggling until both parties are happy with the price. This is how you stretch your purse in Thai markets!
Bangkok, Thailand: 5 days 4 nights Itinerary
how to go to Chatuchak Weekend Market

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DAY 3 - Sunday

Grand Palace → Wat Pho → Wat Arun → Jim Thompson House  Chinatown 

       Today, we explored the Rattanakosin Island where almost all the iconic historical sites and tourist attractions are located on. Why is it an island you may ask… It is actually a bend in the Chao Praya river that creates this land partially surrounded by water.
       Many people choose to start their day by buying an unlimited hop-on-hop-off tourist boat ticket for the day, which is definitely a good idea as this part of the river has fantastic views and every destination on the list today is conveniently accessible by riverboat.
Bangkok, Thailand: 5 days 4 nights Itinerary

Friendly reminder: 
Dress appropriately for the day. By that, I mean a long dress or trousers. Avoid spaghetti straps. A scarf can be useful too, so stuff it into your bag! No bare feet allowed so highly recommend you to wear socks even if you are wearing sandals, even though it seems to be a weird combination!

Grand Palace, Bangkok

Ticket Price: 500 Baht
Estimated time of visit: 2-3 hours

       The Grand Palace opens at 8:30 a.m. Be one of the first to get there so that you can beat the crowd and also escape from the heat! I didn’t pay 500 Baht to go into the premise because on the day of my visit, the place was packed and I felt so reluctant to queue up. If you don't want to miss it, I recommend buying tickets online so that you can walk straight in.
        This used to be the home of the Monarch. Inside the premise, you will find over 100 fascinated buildings decorated with gold, diamonds and everything shiny…. and one of them is the temple of the Emerald Buddha/ Wat Phra Kaew (some say the highlight of the Grand Palace). This special 66cm jade buddha in gold clothing is highly sacred, only the King and no one else is allowed to touch it. Photos are strictly not allowed.
        The entrance ticket to the Grand Palace will also grant entry to Vimanmek Palace and Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall. During my visit, the Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall was under renovation, hence, more reasons not to pay for the ticket.
Grand Palace, Bangkok
Grand Palace, Bangkok

Wat Pho 

How to get there: Walk or take the water taxi to Tha Tien Pier (No 8.)
Ticket Price: 200 Baht
Estimated time of visit: 1-2 hours

        Just 10 minutes walking distance to the south of the Grand Palace, is Wat Pho, one of the oldest temples in Bangkok and home to the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand.
        For 200 Baht entrance fee, you can find a 46-meter-long gold plated reclining Buddha (a famous image of Buddha shortly before he achieved Nirvana) and way-too-many instagrammable corners. Around the giant reclining Buddha statue are 180 bowls. The locals believe that by placing a coin into each bowl in a single direction will earn you merit points to secure a better next life. The sound of coins resonating within the closed place formed a melody… music to my ears.
Wat Pho
Wat Pho
Wat Pho
Wat Pho

        In Wat Pho, make sure to check out Phra Ubosot, considered to be the most sacred prayer room with its amazing architecture. Wander around the courtyard for some time, coz Wat Pho was soon much more to offer if you care to look around. There are 91 stupas beautifully decorated with porcelain, statues and a lot of exquisitely carved arch doors.  


        One of my Thai friends highly recommended me to try the Thai massage in Wat Pho, but I felt weird going for a massage in a temple so I overlooked her advice. Turned out (I later found out) that it is indeed one of the best places in town for an authentic Thai massage at Wat Pho is the university of Thai massage, regarded as the birthplace of this traditional art!!! A full body massage will only cost you 300 Baht here.
       However, if you have no extra time for a Thai massage today, fret not because there are plenty places more to experience this at a reasonable price. One of our favorites is the award winning Relax Spa, featured in "Lonely Planet" guides. I'm sorry but it may be a bias opinion, coz one of the reasons I like it: they provide complimentary mango sticky rice dessert after your massage!  
Bangkok, Thailand: 5 days 4 nights Itinerary

Wat Arun

How to get there:  From Wat Pho, walk to the Tha Tien Pier ferry terminal where you can take a trip across the river to Wat Arun Pier. Fare: 4 Baht
Ticket price: 100 Baht
Estimated time of visit: 1-2 hours

       People call it the Temple of the Dawn. For some, this might even be the main draw of Bangkok. The temple ground features an 82 meter-high cortical-shaped tower decorated by ceramic tiles and porcelains, which is extremely photogenic. I didn't make it to Wat Arun that day due to mismanagement of time. But, we made it a point to see the temple from Chao Phraya River ferry.
Wat Arun

Jim Thompson’s House 

How to get there: take the Skytrain to the ´National Stadium´ stop, and follow the signs
Ticket price: 200 Baht
Estimated time of visit: 2 hours.

        Travel all the way to Thailand to visit an American expat’s house? No thanks! But think again. Jim Thompson… not only did he introduced the silk textile business into Thailand, but he is also a huge fan of Thai architecture and an antique collector. So around his house, expect to find some treasures… and a huge beautiful garden just next to the canal.
        A guided tour of Jim Thompson's House is recommended. As you got your ticket from the ticket counter, you will also get a tour time, yes, it's free. That is when you are supposed to gather back at the ticket counter to start your tour. The experience includes a Thai dance show and a Thai silk making demonstration.
        If you've spent lesser time in all the attractions above, you may combine your visit with the Suan Pakkad Palace, which is the former residence of Princess Chambon of Nakhon Sawan. See two of Bangkok's richest cultural/residential buildings in half a day!  
Bangkok, Thailand: 5 days 4 nights Itinerary

Chinatown/ Yaiwarat

How to get there: get on to the boat again and jump off at no 5, Ratchawong Pier.
Ticket price: free
Estimated time of visit: 3 hours
       Chinatown is actually located opposite of Wat Arun, however, we purposely left this to the last of the day because the China town will only spring into life at night with a plethora of street food stalls. Hmm…. I am actually getting hungry as I type this part of the article…. To the bold souls out there, try out the some of these insects on a stick. If you are not sure what to try, what to look at and what is the significance of Chinatown, join the Bangkok Chinatown Bite tours where professional guides will guide you through your dive into Chinatown cuisine and culture.


Tips of the day: 


  • For those who would like someone else to settle the logistics for them while they have fun, join a Bangkok Landmark Tour. They'll make sure you do not miss any iconic sights along the Chao Phraya River, and include a lunch stop at the Wanglang Market, which is truly a local street food haven! 
  • If you fancy a show, don't throw away your Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew physical ticket. This will grant you admission to a 25-minute Khon-Thai Classical Masked Dance at the Sala Chalermbrung Royal Theatre in Bangkok any of these times within 7 days: 10:30am, 1:00pm, 2:30 pm, 4:00pm, 5:30pm Monday to Friday! To get to the Royal Theatre, hop onto the free shuttle bus at the Phiman Deves Gate right in font of the Grand Palace. This is how the bus looks like: 
Bangkok, Thailand: 5 days 4 nights Itinerary


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DAY 4 - Monday

Lopburi- Khao San Road 

Lopburi

How to get to Lopburi: To get to Lopburi is a one of a kind experience. Lopburi is the terminal station of the Northen line of State Railway of Thailand. Train service from Bangkok railway station Hua Lamphong cost only 50 Baht for a third-class seat and it takes 2-3 hours. It is not only your means to travel to Lopburi, but this train ride is also a great way to experience the "Real Thailand" as you experience buying food on the train, having a train picnic on the way while chatting away with your friendly “neighbor”.
Estimated time of visit: Full day
How to go to Lopburi
How to go to Lopburi

       It is referred as the Mad-monkey city so do take the name seriously and beware of monkeys! After visiting the Khao Jean Lea Sunflower field, we walked around the city in search of historical monuments and food... yes, more food!
How to go to Lopburi








Khao San Road

How to get there: To travel from Hua Lamphong to Khaosan road, why not experience a Tuktuk ride?
Ticket Price: Free
Estimated time of visit: 1 hour

       Khao San Road is fun and full of surprises but at the same time, it is very touristy. If you are going to eat here, expect to pay more for average or even subpar food. Go there for the ambiance and probably a bottle of Chang beer while you people watch, but if you need real Thai good food, keep your stomach.
Khao San Road
Khao San Road

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DAY 5- Tuesday

Day trip to Ayutthaya

Estimated time of visit: Full day

       This will mark the perfect ending to your Bangkok trip. 
       Built-in 1350, for more than 4 centuries, Ayutthaya has been the capital of the country (previously known as Siam) instead of Bangkok.
Bangkok, Thailand: 5 days 4 nights Itinerary
Bangkok, Thailand: 5 days 4 nights Itinerary
Bangkok, Thailand: 5 days 4 nights Itinerary

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More of Bangkok? You got it! 

If you have more days to spare in Bangkok, I recommend buying an iVenture Bangkok card and experience the Thai culture in a deeper level. The reason why I recommend my readers to buy the iVenture card is because with this card, you will save up to 50% on the following activities (a choice of 3 or 5 ). You can get more details here: iVenture Bangkok.

If you have 6 Days in Bangkok

Day: Learn to cook Thai Cuisine in Bangkok

       Join a Thai cooking class, and bring a real skill back home to your country! Trust me, this will be a great treat and probably the best "souvenir" from Thailand you can give to your friends and family. I've been to a lot of Thai Restaurants overseas, and although some of them are opened by Thais and suppose to be authentic, a found an awful lot of them had alter the taste of their food, assimilating to suit the taste of the locals.
       Hence, learn the art from Thailand itself and cook the most authentic Thai food for your friends and family back home. Show them what Thai food is really about, show them your love for Thailand, the land of smiles :)
       Sompong Thai Cooking School is so far the best place to do it. You will be guided step by step, starting off with choosing ingredient in a local market! Don't overlook this part because in Thai cuisine, the use of herbs and spices is important, so it is beneficial if you can recognize the commonly used ones. The teachers here are very attentive and they speak your language. At the end of the session, a detailed cookbook will be given, so don't worry about forgetting some steps back home!
       Other alternatives if Sompong had been fully booked (,which happens quite often): Sequence according to recommendations and ratings: Go Thai cooking school, House of Thai Cooking Class, Pink Chili House.

Night: Take a night cruise along Chao Phraya River

       Time to reward yourself a little after a productive, fruitful day!
       Jump aboard Chao Phraya Princess to join the two hour journey that flow pass the famous historical buildings and religious monasteries along the river. During the first hour of the journey, you will have the opportunity to hark back to the 80s and 90s with a live band and dance your night away!
       Dinner is included in the experience, providing a wide selection on both international and local Thai food on the buffet table. There are closed air-conditioned or open air seats to choose from. For those who want to experience the tender sea breeze while dining, choose the open air seats! However, be warned that the wind may be unpredictable during your course.
Bangkok, Thailand: 5 days 4 nights Itinerary
Bangkok, Thailand: 5 days 4 nights Itinerary
Bangkok, Thailand: 5 days 4 nights Itinerary

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If you have 7 days (A week!) in Bangkok

Morning til Late afternoon: Getting lost in Bangkok

     We allowed ourselves to get lost on foot in the midst of the buzzing city of Bangkok but we was pleased by what we found on the way. We visited 2 more beautiful Wats that are less visited: Wat Ratchanatdaram and Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram Rajawarawiharn, also known as the Marble Temple. We also noticed some quirky statues, the best example would be the Giant Swing!


Getting lost in Bangkok
Getting lost in Bangkok
Getting lost in Bangkok
Getting lost in Bangkok
Getting lost in Bangkok
Getting lost in Bangkok

Late Afternoon: Muay Thai Ancient Sport 

       In Japan, watch a Sumo battle. In China, watch a KungFu assembly. In Malaysia or Indonesia, watch the art of Silat. In Thailand, treat yourself to a Muay Thai Fighting Event!
       Muay Thai is Traditional Thai boxing. Visitors should go to Rajadamnern Stadium to immerse themselves in this intense exhilarating event with the locals. Although Ringside Class seats are available, I recommend taking the 2nd or 3rd class seats where you can see the locals in action too (betting on their favorite Muay Thai Fighters. )

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Watch my Bangkok video! 


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Bangkok, Thailand: 5 days 4 nights Itinerary
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