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Discovering Bangkok: A Comprehensive Guide on What to Do in the Heart of Thailand

I've been to Bangkok three times and it's my favorite destination to start whenever I'm visiting South East Asia. I highly recommend staying for a few days before heading somewhere else.


Bangkok is full of sightseeing activities, delicious street food, and one of the best shopping destinations I've been to.


This comprehensive blog post includes everything a first-time visitor needs


Table of Contents:


Exploring Bangkok's Shopping Districts

As I mentioned above, Bangkok is probably one of the best shopping destinations I've ever been to. A full day can be easily spent by visiting all their malls. Well-known shopping brands are represented and many unknown as well. Wandering through the malls is like being in a casino, you'll get lost of the time.


For a great overview of the shopping malls, I'm going to introduce you to the malls in detail. It is up to you, which one is worthy to visit.


Streets of Bangkok

Get lost in CentralwOrld

CentralwOrld is the biggest mall in Thailand and belongs to one of the biggest in the whole world. It houses around 500 stores on seven floors. Yes, you get lost easily and it takes hours to walk through every floor.


In my opinion, CentralwOrld is best if you'd like to shop for well-known fashion brands, such as H&M, Zara, and Co. since they are all represented in this mall.


In case you need a break from the whole shopping experience, CentralwOrld also has a wide range of restaurants and cafés. Check out the 7th floor for the huge food court, where your food desires will be answered.


Buy Electronic Gadgets at MBK Center

If you're a gadget geek a visit to the MBK Center is a must. Whatever is hyped on the tech market, you can buy a fake version of it here. Always wanted an Apple Watch but it was too expensive. MBK has fake Apple Watches sold for less than $50 (the quality is debatable).


I don't recommend buying imitates because they often function not as smoothly as the original versions. However, what I recommend buying are charging cables, tripods, and lightning.


At the MBK Center, you can also find fake shoes, hoodies, and much more. For those, who might now be asking themselves if that isn't illegal - no, in Thailand selling and buying fake stuff is not. Keep in mind, that importing such things in your home country might be.


A Siam for Every Desire

The Siam Malls are not to be overlooked and are located amidst the shopping jungle. In total, there are three different malls with the name Siam: Siam Discovery, Siam Paragon, and Siam Center. Each of the malls represents another vibe.


Siam Discovery

The Siam Discovery is well-known for being the lifestyle and fashion shopping mall. It offers a unique and modern shopping experience with an innovative and stylish interior design. Here you find a great mix of international and local brands.


It's the mall where you'll find trendy and unconventional products.


Siam Paragon

High-end and international designer stores and luxury brands are calling Siam Paragon their home. Additionally, Siam Paragon is home to an aquarium, the Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World.


Siam Center

Siam Center is known for being a trendy and youthful shopping mall. The mall supports local designers and hosts events and activities related to fashion and lifestyle.



Discover Bangkok's Local Markets

One of my favorite things to do whenever in Bangkok is walking through Bangkok's local markets. And there are endless options. In this blog post, I'm going to share my 3 favorite markets that must be visited while in Bangkok.


Chatuchak Weekend Market

This is the most popular market in Thailand and belongs to the biggest local markets in Asia. Here you find everything you can ever imagine and more. Shoes, clothes, furniture, and even animals are sold here.


🙏🏽 Please do not visit the animal section and support the vendors by selling animals under such circumstances.


Although it is called a weekend market, the Chatuchak Market is open on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 8 am to 4 pm, and on Friday from 6 pm to 12 am.


Pratunam Night Market

There's a local night market located in the Siam shopping district, where you recharge your batteries with freshly made traditional Thai food. I had one of the spiciest papaya salads ever here!


It's a small but well-made market, where you can buy typical market stuff.



Ratchada Train Market

Updated: January 2024

This was my favorite market to visit. Unfortunately, since Covid hit I don't recommend visiting the market anymore. Many stalls were empty, and the food options were limited too.



Get A Hangover in Bangkok

A popular movie named Hangover was filmed in Bangkok, to be precise the second part of the trilogy. And it is true, partying is possible every single night. Here are two spots that might make your night unforgettable.


Khao San Road

The Khao San Road is among backpackers one of the most-visited streets and can't be missed on a Thailand backpacker itinerary. You can party whenever you want as long as you want.


One bar after another is advertising for your visit and it can get a bit overwhelming at the beginning.


💡 The music is very loud, and the quality of the music boxes is poor. Bring some earplugs with you when visiting Khao San Road.


Sukhumvit Soi 11

No matter whether it is day or night, Sukhumvit Soi 11 has everything you need. It is a very popular street for parties and tourists, ex-pats, and locals visiting for an unforgettable night.


In Sukhumvit Soi 11 you find unique bars to enjoy creative and innovative cocktails and also bars with cheap drinks and food.


🤫 Visit one of the beautiful rooftop bars.


Must-See Tourist Hotspots in Bangkok

Every day can be filled with great places to visit, especially in terms of temples and other sightseeing spots. With days limited it sometimes seems impossible to visit everything, but no worries, to help you choose, I introduce you to my (x) must-visited places in Bangkok (markets and shopping malls not included!)


Chinatown

I figured, that every big city has a Chinatown. Some are special and some are not. Bangkok's Chinatown belongs to the ones that need to be visited. Here, you can taste Chinese delicacies and get mesmerized by the flashing lights.


Especially during dinner time, it gets quite busy, but rightly so. Nowhere in Bangkok, you get such an authentic dinner experience, sitting on small chairs while your food is prepared quickly. Plus, lots of Michelin-honored places are located here (read this article to find out which ones).


🤤 My favorite thing to eat here is the steamed stuffed buns filled with mustard cream.


Chinatown

See the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho

If you have to choose which Buddhist temple needs to be visited, I would say Wat Pho is one of them.


A beautiful temple that accommodates a huge reclining Buddha and showcases over one thousand images of the Buddha. The entry fee (updated: January 2024) is 300 Bath.


Wat Arun - The Temple of the Dawn

One of the most beautiful temples in Bangkok is Wat Arun - a notable landmark of Thailand that is on the backside of every 10-bath coin. The temple is located on the banks of the Chao-Phraya River, where you can rent a boat to marvel at Wat Arun from far away.


In comparison to other temples, the architecture is quite similar to the architecture of the Khmer Empire. Beautiful and small details decorate the buildings, making it worth visiting too.



Dine-In Options for Vegetarians in Bangkok

Bangkok is quite vegetarian-friendly, and you'll always find something to eat as a vegetarian. At the local markets, there's always a Pad Thai to enjoy. You can't do anything wrong by ordering fried rice or some Morning Glory (a leafy plant cooked in a fish-oyster sauce) with some rice.


🤫 Although not displayed, you can always ask for a vegetarian version of the dish. I never got the answer that it wasn't possible.


However, if you look forward to sitting down in a more comfortable environment, here's a list of (x) fully vegetarian restaurants:

  • So Vegan is located in a small mall close to Chinatown. They offered all Thai dishes but vegan. I tried the Pad Kra Pao, which was rich in flavor and very delicious.

  • A fast food venue that offers vegetarian and vegan dishes was Talalaks in Siam Paragon's food court.

  • Also, not too far from Chinatown, I went to Ruyi Vegetarian, an affordable vegetarian place with endless options.


Where to Stay in Bangkok

A comprehensive guide would not be complete without accommodation recommendations. Since I only recommend, where I also stayed in, I'm only able to share three different accommodations, all very budget-friendly:

  • Not too far from Chinatown and approximately 200 meters away from the metro is W22. A clean and affordable hotel that is perfect for your city trip.

  • If you want to socialize with others, I can recommend the Luk Hostel. A stylish and clean hostel with a nice rooftop bar.

  • I had a great stay as well at Happy Station. A hotel/hostel not too far away from Bangkok's main station.


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