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How to spend your day in Bangkok with these 10 things to do: from the morning visit to the Reclining Buddha until the last drink on a trendy rooftop bar in the city that never sleeps.
There are three things not to miss in Bangkok: The Temple of Wat Arun, the Wat Pho with the 50-meter-long Reclining Buddha and the Royal Palace. These places are not easily forgotten (an obvious fact by the number of tourists out and about to admire them). Go there early in the morning to avoid crowds, and with a private guide who will explain Thai culture and history, as well as the fundamentals of Buddhism.
The best way to get around avoiding city traffic is also a pleasant cruise on the Chao Phraya River. Choose a private boat that – in addition to the usual tour of the temples and Royal Palace – will allow you to explore the city that was built up along the surrounding canals, revealing the real life of the inhabitants living in stilt houses, with restaurants and shops accessible only by water. Don’t panic, the creatures you see are not crocodiles, but harmless (although rather large) monitor lizards.
In order to truly understand the spirit of Bangkok, you need to eat street food at least once. Whether a table set in the middle of the market by one of the vendors, or a typical restaurant along one of the main streets, you’ve got to experience a pad thai or a papaya salad. Look out for a place with people queuing; It’s a guarantee of high quality and fresh food for less than 35 Baht (one Euro).
No oil or massage table, but a white kimono and a mat on the floor: here’s what to expect from a genuine Thai massage. Like a sort of assisted stretching, the masseur bends and pulls your body to stretch the muscles, unlock joints and relieve tension. After hours of work, you leave rejuvenated, more mobile and energetic. The Shambala SPA at the COMO Metropolitan Hotel features only certified therapists and the massage entitles you access to the hydrotherapy pool (just for women). Treat yourself to one of the Shambala Cuisine signature smoothies at the end of the path.
The sarong is a long wrap of fabric, in bright colours, which is wrapped and fastened around the waist as a skirt, and found in Indonesia and parts of Southeast Asia. Cotton ones are very cheap, but if you look well you can find silk ones, refined and also very wearable once back home. Watch a tutorial on YouTube to figure out how to wear it.
The best Thai restaurant in town has been indisputably, for years, Nham. This address was the precursor of the new food scene in Bangkok, bringing to light the most elegant and sophisticated Imperial recipes. No pad thai, but Thai haute cuisine, served as is tradition here: sharing the dishes and asking the waiters running around the tables with wooden baskets for sides of rice. One of the best dining experiences in Asia (5th place in 2017, according to the ranking of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, and 1st place in 2014). A paradise for those who love spicy food.
Wait for the evening to come (or book a table for the time of sunset) in one of the many rooftop bars occupying the top floors of the skyscrapers. The most spectacular spots are here, and, to see the city from the 50th floor or higher, while the night falls and the cityscape is lit up, is priceless. In addition to iconic places like Vertigo or Sky Bar (found at the Lebua at State Tower), try some new places, like the Alfresco 64 – the highest whisky bar in the world.
The night in Bangkok is as renowned as an episode of the movie The Hangover. To understand why, go to Pat Pong or along Sukhumvit (at Nana Plaza or Soi Cowboy) – the two red light districts packed with tourists and Go Go bars. It may be chaotic and not so morally uplifting, but this is Bangkok as well.
One of the most popular attractions of Bangkok are its markets: colourful, crowded, open 24 hours a day and endless. You can walk for hours among stalls selling fruit, clothes, home and kitchen accessories. Pak Khlong Talat flower market is one of the most spectacular ones, it features jasmines woven into votive garlands, and Lotus buds folded like origami. It never closes.
Compared to European cities, luxury in Bangkok is incredibly high and absolutely affordable – a perfect combination. The hotels give you unforgettable experiences from an architectural point of view and warm and friendly service. Brand new and absolutely to be discovered is the recently opened 5-star Park Hyatt. Its key feature? A rooftop bar with a city view and an infinity pool for guests. For shopaholics, you’ve got direct access to Central Embassy department store.