Thailand is surrounded by their rich culture and religion which are evidently influenced by the country’s history. They find balance between the modern and the traditional which makes it the better place to go to for the modern people looking for authenticity. Think of it as the older sister of the Philippines, but is a bit more progressive and cultural. The main reasons we got here are that of the beautiful well-maintained temples showcasing their value of the cultural past, for the practicality as the cost of living is way much affordable than of our native country and especially the balance between opposite worlds. Thai people believe that life is short and you should make your stay worthwhile which explains why they always have buffet meals. It is the better way of putting YOLO into perspective.
This is for a 4-day Bangkok travel itinerary for the not so hardcore travelers.
Day 1: The Introduction to Bangkok
Elephants and temples are the most notable things on Thailand. So we stray away from the usual and become rebels so started off with a river cruise around the city to have a lookie lookie of the must see places. It costs 1000 baht if you want to rent the whole boat all to yourself, which is not advisable as they have the same river cruise for big batch of people for only 20 baht per person. The tour lasts for 1 hour and 30 minutes along the Chaopraya river.
Bangkok Tip no. 0: Have your money changed in Bangkok as the exchange rate is better.
The entrance to Wat Pho is 100 baht and the fee is invested in maintaining the place which is definitely worth all the penny as the place speaks for itself. The structures are amazing and very authentic. The population of Bangkok consists of 80% Buddhist people and they set high priorities in temples.
Bangkok tip no. 1: Go for metered taxis if you are travelling to a destination. The flag down is only at 35 baht.
The tuktuk ride can be totally unnecessary and you may try it just for the experience. The fare rates are higher than that of metered taxis and some of them are scams. Most of them asked us if we can have a side trip and drop us off at some stores for them to get stamps or free liters of water if they have tourists invited into the shop.
By the way, we stayed at Don Diamond Guest House at Juldis Mansion in Pratunam. It is mostly near the popular go-to’s in Bangkok and the Pratunam Market have the cheapest prices. Pratunam is also the fashion district of Bangkok having the Platinum Fashion Mall which will make a woman swoon over the endless lines of clothes to choose from, in other word, every boyfriend’s nightmare.
The rate for the guest house is pretty way beyond cheap at 900 per day. It is a condominium type of place with your own mini kitchen and dining area and it is super comfortable with a lot of space to breathe. You also have a view of the city from the 6 floors up.
Bangkok tip no. 2: The price of clothes can go as low as 100 baht in Pratunam and they sell cheaper for wholesale (minimum of three items) contrary to other shopping places like Khaosan which sells at double the price.
The owner is Don Don, a Filipino based in Thailand and has already been staying there for 15 years. He helped us on booking tours since he knows a lot of travel agencies around town. He also provided some guidance and answered all of our silly queries about Bangkok.
It is our first day so we did not have the best time yet as we are still getting to know the place and how people interact with tourists. But the better part of the day was the dinner buffet cruise which was recommended to us by Don Don and he was also the one who made arrangements.
In the service van, we met this old American guy who I will just call Steve since we didn’t get to exchange names. Americans are really friendly and very vocal on their feelings which we should appreciate more. He said we are good people by always being on time and not causing delays. I think we need more of the straightforwardness in this world.
There are lots of foods to choose from and there was also live music which added some jive into the night river cruise. It was all fun and we felt extra special even just for a few hours. Before the cruise ended, the party started at the viewing deck and people started dancing to the tunes of Gangnam style and some Indian music.
Day 2: The Waters and Elephants – Floating Market
From Pratunam, it would take 1 hour and 30 minutes to Damnoen Saduak Elephant Camp where you can go for an elephant ride.
The fee is 600 baht per person for a 30 minute ride around. It is like riding a really slow moving high horse but there is nothing much to do and see and it is more of like for the experience. After the ride, you may have photos with the elephants up close and you can at least buy them fruits.
Five minutes away is the well-known Floating Market along the river. You will need to rent a boat from the farmers for 100 baht per person and it will show you around the place and bargain with the vendors. They have everything from souvenirs and authentic Thai merchandise, paintings, fruits, and a wide variety of street – or rather river food. You can get discounts of up to 70% off if you know how to nicely haggle.
Anyways, our tour guide is Ms. Bangkok from 30 years ago and she is the best person you can meet in Bangkok. She has a lot of sense of humor and can well converse in English and is genuinely nice because she loves her job. She even gives out complimentary foods like coconut sticky rice, amazing tamarind candies, and lansones fruit. Her name is Prani and she likes Filipino people and even sings songs like Willie Revillame’s Boom Tarat Tarat. She even has a running joke around the song and you should go hear it yourself. Everything aside, she is well knowledgeable about Bangkok and can give you an interactive lecture about Bangkok. Unfortunate we didn’t get a photo with her.
Next on our list is the “James Bond boat ride” as they call the speedboat that James Bond once rode in a movie. It is like more of a tour around the river only in a faster pace. They sure love cruising around the rivers.
The elephant show is more of Thailand’s rich history and how the elephants played a major part in it especially during the war. Aside from that, the elephants also performed some nifty tricks and played football.
We availed of the whole tour package for only 1,200 baht inclusive of transportation, entrance fees, and buffet lunch. Exclusive of the package are the elephant ride and floating market boat rental, but we got the boat rental for free thanks to Don Don who seems to have some discount powers.
Day 3: Dream World Bangkok
Dream World is like Thailand’s very own Disney Land. It offers a lot of attraction for tourists of all age. It is an hour away from Pratunam and we availed the tour package for 1,200 baht. The entrance fee is 1000 baht for the regular package and is already included in the tour. So they really like buffets and the package includes a lunch buffet and you can say your money is well spent.
Snow Town is one of our favorites because well the weather in Bangkok is hot and all of a sudden, there are snow slides available. You will be required to leave your shoes behind and wear boots and a thermal jacket while inside.
The Animal Farm is as the title goes; you are in a farm with the animals. You get to interact with different animals like sheep and birds for an additional fee of 60 baht per person. You may also purchase animal food (20 baht) to feed them and be surrounded by birds for a nicer photo. There is an optional Dog House where you can go and play with different cute and cuddly dogs for 100 baht per person.
There are the usual rides like the Tornado, roller coasters, and the Grand Canyon if you want to be soaking wet. One of the main attractions is the Hollywood Action, where they will re-enact some action sequences that is shown in the movies. It is like watching Counter Strike in live action.
Day 4: City Tour – BMK, Siam Paragon, Jim Thompson House, and Khaosan Road
We sure love interesting stories of people and places and the Jim Thompson house is just what we are looking for to satisfy our deep curiosity.
Jim was an architect born in Delaware in 1906 and he served the U.S. Army during the World War II. He then decided to live permanently in Thailand after the war was over and he started the silk industry which his name is one of the most prominent.
The tour is for 150 baht and offers guide who can speak different languages like Chinese, English, and French. The construction of the house followed all the traditional rituals of Thailand and was opened to the public in his goal to preserve of the rich cultural heritage of Thailand. Tourists are not allowed to take photos or videos inside the house so you can’t go Welcome to my crib! in there.
Jim Thompson disappeared in Malaysia on March 26th 1967. No one knows up until today what happened to him as no remains has been found. Speculations have surrounded his disappearance, like that he was a CIA spy or that he was eaten by a lion. His house is still open to the people and serves as a reminder of his love for Thailand.
MBK and Siam Paragon are the giant malls in Bangkok. The design and architecture of the whole place is just wonderful. Most of the shops available inside the mall cater to the upper class.
Should you want to visit Sea Life – the largest aquarium in South East Asia, it is located here with the entrance fee on 990 per person. Madame Tussauds is also nearby for all the wax figures of the famous people around the world.
Bangkok Tip no. 5: Buy milk. Most of their usual foods are spicy (even the chicken burger from KFC). If you have low tolerance on spicy foods, better watch out as some are extremely spicy. No we are not speaking from experience. No we did not buy grilled squid and poured the spicy sauce all over it. No we did not want to cut our tongues off. No no no.
Lumpini Park is a place for those looking for peace and quiet. People often go here to go jogging or biking and you will some people casually sleeping in the grass under the trees. It is located in the heart of the city and is a quick break from the urban world.
And our last location for this whole tour is the Khaosan Road which is the home of the backpacking community in Bangkok.
The place is also known for the exotic delicacies available on the streets. But as we mentioned on the start of this post, this is not for hardcore travelers so you kind of get the idea. The prices on the market in Khaosan are overly pricey compared to Pratunam, maybe due to the place’s popularity to tourists that the vendors adjusted their prices accordingly. Also, beware of tuktuks and taxis in Khaosan as most of them are scams. They will charge for a lot more for the transportation and some taxis do not have meters.
Bangkok tip no. 6: You may try the Klook app if you prefer to manually arrange your own trips and not avail tour packages. The app will give you discounts on certain destinations. It’s great!
For a quick rundown of all the places we went in Bangkok, please see video below.