Stop 1 on our honeymoon
This January, my husband and I were lucky to spend three weeks in Asia for our honeymoon. Our first stop was the vibrant Thai capital, where we celebrated the New Year and started off our journey through Thailand, Myanmar and the Maldives. Sharing the entire trip in just one post would probably break the mold – so let’s kick it off with Bangkok. Scroll down to see some photographic impressions and our tipps for the city – all the way at the bottom of the post!
NEW YEAR’S EVE – VERTIGO
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at the Peninsula hotel and loved it. The service and atmosphere lives up to the price tag, and even though you can tell it’s not a new hotel, it’s been very well maintained. The location on the west river bank provides for some incredible views on the city, and getting anywhere is easiest via a long-tail boat.
If you’re looking for a really cool bargain, check out Arte Hotel. Its location isn’t premium, but it’s right at the sky train so you’ll get in and out quite easy. I haven’t stayed there yet personally, but my sister-in-law highly recommends it.
WHAT TO DO
In terms of sightseeing, it all depends how much time you have. I’d recommend the following:
- Spend half a day on the west bank of Chao Phraya river. Start off with sunrise at Wat Arun temple, then take a walk in Thonburi, where you’ll find cute little alleyways and canals that are a little more authentic than central BKK. Also a good option: Grab a long-tail boat and take a ride through the canals!
- Do a walking tour in Chinatown before dinner (after sunset). The one mentioned in the Lonely Planet guide Bangkok is really nice – you start at the flower market and work your way south-east. If you want to go straight to dinner, “Samsara” restaurant at the river is one option!
- Spend a few hours at the Chatuchak Weekend market – we had to skip this one due to time constraints and because it’s a bit outside of the city, but I guess it should be on everyone’s list.
- For shopping, there’s no way around Siam Square. Check out MBK Shopping Centre for more of a sightseeing experience (you won’t find anything to by, but it’s really fun to check out) and Siam Center for some serious shopping.
- Very close to Siam Square is Jim Thompson house. You can only visit with a guided tour that takes about an hour, and no pictures allowed. It’s interesting, but I’d probably skip it if you don’t have too much time.
- The classic: the grand palace and the lying buddha. It’s crazy crowded, so do yourself a favor and go there really really early in the morning, right when it opens.
- Excursion: To see “old” Thailand, take a trip to Ayutthaya. We got a cab to take us there in the morning (45min drive from BKK) and then rented a scooter near Chao Phrom Market. Then you drive to all the temples – my favorite being Wat Phra Si Sanphet, the sleeping buddha, and the buddha in the tree. I think 3-4 hours in Ayutthaya are sufficient, so you can be back in the city for a late lunch.
- Floating markets: Everyone (including me) who travels to Bangkok dreams of photographing the floating markets. Unfortunately, they’re not in Bangkok! The famous ones are at least an hour outside the city, so you have to get up insanely early to go there. Plus, apparently they’ve gotten quite touristy. So we didn’t go, but if you’ve had a different experience, please share!
- Massages: when you’re staying in a hotel with a beautiful in-house spa, you’re likely just going to use that one. But if you’re not, apparently Wat Pho Massage School is the place to go!
WHERE TO EAT
Bangkok (and Thailand in general) is foodie’s paradise. Seriously. And even if you don’t crave Thai food all day, you won’t be disappointed.
- Everyone’s talking about “Jay Fai”, the street stall restaurant that’s recently received a Michelin star. While it says “open every day” online, we were standing in front of a closed restaurant on Jan 1st, which was a bit of a bummer. But next time we go, I’m not missing out on that crab omelette!
- Unicorn café is a pink, fluffy place that makes you feel like you’re sitting on a rainbow made of cotton buds. You can enjoy incredibly unhealthy lunch options or go straight to coffee & colorful desserts! Perfect for Instagram, that’s for sure.
- There’s a new place in town that we absolutely LOVED – called 80/20 BKK. It rightfully describes its approach as “casual fine dining” – the food is amazing while the vibe is very hipster with cool waiters and an open kitchen. Don’t forget to order the “round of beer for the crew” that’s on the menu.
- For a more casual, open-air experience right on the river bank, check out “Never Ending Summer“. Great for sundowner cocktails and casual dinners in a fun place.
- We spent New Year’s Eve up on the rooftop restaurant “Vertigo” (Banyan tree hotel). The international set menu was good and the views breathtaking – definitely much better than the famous “sky bar” on Lebua state tower known from the Hangover movie. Go there for sundowner drinks before dinner at 80/20BKK!
- One more restaurant high up my list is “Gaggan“, which was closed on one of our three nights in Bangkok and fully booked on the other two – even though we had emailed them a month before. So if you’re planning on going, make sure you book wayyyy in advance – right after watching Netflix’ episode of “Chef’s Table” about it.
- Last but not least, you might want to skip the traditional dinner experience for a night and head to Rot Fai train night market instead – it’s a 30-45min drive east of the city center. My favorite classics in Thai street food are Pad Thai (which I never like to eat in Europe, but loved in Thailand), Banana Roti and Mango Sticky Rice with coconut sauce…
Since we’re planning on going back to Bangkok to explore some more, do let me know if I’ve missed out on one of your favorites! Thank you for reading & happy traveling xx