Wandering around Bangkok

11/07/2019 16:00

Bangkok is a city of movement, colors and sounds. Spend an afternoon exploring this fun, vibrant city


Kick off your afternoon tour with a trip to the Siam BTS Station, right next to which lies the Bangkok Museum of Contemporary Art. This museum has modern and quite unique architecture with a spiral staircase leading from the first to the highest floor. Contemporary and theme-based exhibitions are held regularly. You may not need to research what's on in advance, but simply enjoy the surprise.

A few years ago, I visited this museum just in time to catch an exhibition of Buddhist performance and installation arts. The main religion in Thailand, Buddhism plays an important role in people's religious life and has shaped the cultural, architectural, and artistic features of Bangkok. Along with Singapore, Bangkok is considered a regional arts center, where artists have many opportunities to showcase their works. On the ground floor of the museum lie some great cafes, including one that serves drip-style coffee - not using the Vietnamese phin coffee filter, but rather boiling water poured slowly through coffee on a very smooth membrane.

River boats

From Siam station, buy tickets to Saphan Taksin station, then descend to the dock at the foot of the subway station. The boat trip takes about 30-40 minutes, carrying you along the Chao Praya River. On both sides of the river, skyscrapers and hotels alternate with old markets and houses. It is relatively hot in Bangkok, so sitting on a boat and cruising along the river will cool you down. You will feel much more relaxed enjoying the sounds of life, the splashing river water, and the sounds of the moving boat. When the journey is almost finished, you will see the royal palace and the temple of Wat Arun. Considered the symbol of Bangkok, Wat Arun Temple is featured on most postcards sent from Bangkok. You can visit the temple from here. The temple's peak is quite high and the path to its top is very steep. Standing at the top gives you a panoramic view of Bangkok, including the nearby royal palace and its gleaming golden roofs.


In the alley opposite the pier of Wat Arun you will find some interesting cafés. From the floors of cafés facing Wat Arun, you can watch the sun set over Bangkok. The sun slides behind the top of the temple, its bright red glow sinking away. You might not be lucky enough to get the best seats in these cafes because tourists often book in advance. If you cannot get a seat, go down the alley, find a roadside restaurant, and order a Chang or Singha beer or fruit juice. Like Saigon beer and Ha Noi beer, Chang and Singha are well-known beer brands in Thailand. Personally, I prefer Chang but my friends often choose Singha. 


When the sun is gone and you are a bit tipsy, try taking a tuk-tuk to China Town. As well as being quick and maneuverable, tuk-tuks are decorated with flashy colored lights. As in Vietnam, the best place to eat good "traditional" food is at a roadside stall. China Town has a wide range of shops selling delicious foods at reasonable prices. Thai food is relatively diverse and suits Vietnamese people’s tastes, although it can be a bit spicy. Popular dishes include Pad Thai, a dish of dry mixed noodles; spicy and sour Tom Yum soup; crab soup; crab omelets; fried chicken with honey; and sticky rice, etc.


Finally, when it's dark but you don't feel like going home yet, you can drop by the Havana Social bar located down the alley of Soi 11. This bar plays Latin music and has a cigar room. This is a "secret" bar popular with longtime expats. Most tourists do not know about it. The music is good, the drinks are reasonably priced, and there are many types of cigars, providing a great conclusion to an afternoon of wandering around Bangkok.

Mai Chung

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