THINGS TO DO.
If you’re looking for adventure, culinary delights, a place to relax & recuperate, friendly people and value for money – Thailand has it all. In my opinion Thailand is a destination everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.
As the capital city, Bangkok is an incredible place that offers a real buzz and energy at every corner. It is a city that has something to offer everyone, whether you are on a budget or want high-class luxury.
Songkran (Thai New Year / Water Festival)
For those looking for excitement and don’t mind getting a bit wet, on the 13th April every year Thailand has it’s New Year celebrations. This is locally called Songkran and is also known as the Water Festival. This holiday period is not for the faint hearted, and it generally lasts for a few days until the 15th April.
During this time in Bangkok, locals and tourists alike take to the streets with buckets of water and small bowls to drench each other. There will even be a few water pistols floating around with the intention to soak anyone in range. I know this may sound like it could be a little annoying at times, but once you are in the swing of things (and have acquired a small water pistol) this is a lot of fun. This is a holiday period the locals, both young & old, truly enjoy. This gets particularly crazy on the popular Khaosan Road. Don’t forget all the water fights are only in the streets, so to escape the madness make sure to check out the local bars and restaurants.
Make sure to purchase a small waterproof bag when you arrive from the many market stalls, these are sold for little to nothing. Or bring a waterproof bag with you to keep your money, mobile phone and other valuables safe.
There are endless bars on the Khaosan Road which offer cheap drinks, thumping music and flashing lights to put you in a trance. Just off this main street are numerous other bars, including some high-end hotel bars that are perfect for those looking for a little more refinery whilst still offering the buzz of the city. For example, check out the Dang Derm Hotel bar located at the bottom of the Khaosan Road
Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of Emerald Buddha)
Buddhism is the most popular religion in Thailand which is reflected by the various incredible & opulent temples that are well worth visiting. Wat Phra Kaew aka the Temple of Emerald Buddha is located in the historic centre of Bangkok, within the Grand Palace grounds and is regarded as one of the most sacred temples in Thailand. The architecture is visually astounding and the intricate design work is fascinating. A visit here is a great way to learn more about the history of Bangkok. The temple is free to visit and there are both personal & audio guides available for a small fee if you wish to learn more.
Please be aware that the temple is a place of worship, so you must ensure that legs and shoulders are covered modestly. In the day it’s wise to wear light trousers to keep you cool. Alternatively, there are many stalls located around the temple selling cotton Thai patterned trousers for a few hundred baht (£3-4) that will keep you cool from the heat.
After visiting the temple, I highly recommend walking to Sanam Luang Park around the corner. There are many stalls nearby which sell interesting and colourful kites that can be flown in the park. This is hugely popular with both tourists and locals, it can be very relaxing at the end of a long day. If you time it right to coincide with the sunset it only adds to the experience.
Every Saturday and Sunday from 6am-6pm the gigantic Chatuchak Market is open for business, selling pretty much everything and anything you could imagine. The market attracts up to 200,000 visitors a day and consists of 15,000 stalls both inside and out. I would highly recommend paying this market a visit for the sights, sounds and for any souvenirs you may wish to purchase. There are some incredible hand-made crafts and interior design pieces at very reasonable prices.
If you decide to purchase a few more items than originally expected or fall in love with some larger furniture for instance, then there are numerous postage services located in the market who can pack a create to send back home at practical prices.