What if we told you there’s a place where you can find anything your heart desires, and plenty of things that it doesn’t, as well? You’d probably guess we were talking about Bangkok holidays!
You’ve definitely heard of this magical place, but listening to your cousin tell his “Emerald Buddha” story for the hundredth time doesn’t compare to being there yourself. Mostly because you’re way more fun than your cousin Jim. And also because it just has to be seen to be believed.
Things to Do in Bangkok
You’ve heard of the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Khao San Road, so we’ll get to those later. If you’ve got some time to explore, there are tons of weird and wonderful attractions to find. Doesn't the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute sound nice? Well, it’s full of poisonous snakes. The institute focuses on making antivenom, and houses 35 species of snakes just east of downtown. Don’t worry, it’s totally safe.
Just a quick tuk-tuk ride away, you can lighten the mood at the Shrine of Chao Mae Tubtim, aka the Bangkok Phallic Shrine. Yes, it’s pretty self-explanatory. This fertility shrine is also proven to be quite effective, so be careful, ladies.
There’s another “bang” in town: Bangrak is one of the city’s most interesting neighbourhoods,. It has lively markets, beautiful temples and surprises around every corner (the good kind of surprises). But most of all, it has some of the best food in Bangkok—as long as authentic, fresh and local eats are your thing. Make your mouth happy, and maybe a little confused, with the Bangrak Culture & Cuisine Walk. You’ll thank us later.
Getting To & Around Bangkok
Thai adventures begin when flights to Bangkok land at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), 25km from downtown. From BKK, take the Airport Rail Link straight to the city centre, where you can hail a taxi to get you to any of the area Bangkok hotels. Once in the city, taxis, buses (they’re free) and the Sky Train can get you from Point A to Point B quickly.
If you want to go for a thrill ride, get on a motorcycle taxi and say a “Hail Mary!” as your driver weaves through traffic like he’s starring in one of the Fast and the Furious flicks. Want control of your own destiny on the road? Check out lastminute.com.au’s sweet car hire options so you and your travelling buddies can explore the area around Bangkok at will.
Just because you’re in the "Sin City of Asia" doesn’t mean you can’t class it up a little. The soothing sounds of symphonies fill the air and spandex ballet costumes are the name of the game from 8 September through 19 October during the International Festival of Dance and Music. Plus, a few snaps of the Moscow Stanislavsky Ballet, Switzerland’s modern dance troupe and Belgium’s saxophone ensemble will totally throw off your social media followers.
If you really want to get lit, check out the Loy Krathong Festival, which takes place every November. In this case, it doesn’t mean getting off your face. We mean it “lit-erally”, as people gather around lakes and rivers to release handmade floats decorated with candles and flowers. Your Bangkok accommodation may even have a celebration in its pool!
Love a good birthday party? Book hotels in Bangkok around 5 December for the king’s birthday. You could say he knows how to throw a rager. If you think that Australia Day parade you went to last year was crazy, wait until you see this celebration. Check out the elaborate processions in Chinatown first. If you’ve brought your furry dragon head, feel free to take part. As the sun sets, head to the Grand Palace for the fireworks display. The palace will be easy to spot—it’s lit up in gold.
Let’s be honest—the temples are unbelievable, but you came for the party. And friends, Bangkok knows how to party. Khao San Road is a famous (possibly infamous) area only 1km from the Grand Palace. From sunrise to, well, the next sunrise, this place thumps like no other.
Check out some of the local shows—some are spiritual; others will leave you laughing your butt off or searching for your soul at the nearest church. Either way, you can count on our accommodation in Bangkok to be there for you when you need to kick back and relax afterward.
If you’ve only got one day in Bangkok, you’ve gotta make it count. Get up early and head to the Grand Palace complex. It opens at 8:30 am. Not that getting up too early is ever really a problem in Bangkok.
Does the Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall look like a strange chimera of Thai and colonial European architecture to you? If so, you’ve really been studying up on your 19th-century buildings! Also, you’re right! King Rama V was so bad-arse, he managed to convince two Englishmen to travel halfway around the world to design the throne hall. Now that’s some leadership.
Next up, visit the famous reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, then take a water taxi across the river to the Temple of Dawn. This 79m tower has greeted the sun since the early 17th century, and the surrounding village of Thonburi will also give you that old-school feeling. Finally, hop on the Chao Phraya Express Boat and ferry back over to the east bank for dinner in Chinatown. Be warned: The streetside seafood stalls that pack Yaowarat Road ain’t no fancy, reservation-taking restaurants.
You can make reservations at one of lastminute.com.au’s awesome places to stay in Bangkok though, even if you totally forgot about your upcoming leave. When you needed to book your trip yesterday, we’ve got the best prices on all hotels in Thailand’s major cities—and the minor ones! Your accommodation is all set. Now it’s time to decide what to do with the 23 hours a day you won’t be sleeping.