Enjoy Downtown Bangkok
Places to Visit
Wat Pho: Reclining Buddha
For travellers who love to shop and experience something exotic, Bangkok, Thailand should be on your list. Bangkok is a combination of traditional and western sights and sounds. You'll find people doing their religious rituals in plain sight and amidst the shopping frenziness. The vibe is very alive and friendly.
If there is one place I will recommend for those who do not have much time for sightseeing, I highly suggest Wat Pho. It is a big complex of temples. The tile work is something to marvel at. This is where you will find the reclining buddha. Just like any tourist spot, be very selective of what you buy as souvenir. Being a religious place, it is good to bring a big scarf to cover yourself if you are in shorts and slinky top. For me, since I do not want any surprises on the dos and don'ts in religious tourist spots, I normally just wear a summer dress with sleeves. In this way, I can enter any place. Remember also to bring extra bag, in case, you are asked to take off your shoes.
Siam Paragon, Center and Discovery Plus MBK Center
The shops in Bangkok offer everything from high end to bargain prices. Just choose the mall for your shopping needs. Siam Paragon is right beside Siam Discovery and Siam Center--all shopping venues. Siam Paragon houses well known high end brands. Siam Center is a place to try out local designer stuff. Siam Discovery offers a 'yuppie' kind of shopping choices. MBK Shopping Center caters to real bargain hunters like me!!
A food trip to the food hall of the MBK Shopping Center is a must for the budget conscious traveller. Meals and desserts are at very affordable prices and variety. You can easily spend a whole day here tasting the local food! I suggest that before you buy any food, it would be good to make a quick 'tour' of the stalls and check out the dishes they offer. Being a curry lover, I chose Chicken Curry as my first local meal in Bangkok. For dessert, I chose a serving of sticky rice with mango slices. Yummm!
Bangkok is also a very good place to try out exotic fruits like rambutan (red hairy fruit), durian (the fruit that smells like hell but tastes like heaven!), mangoes, jackfruit,tamarind, guava and lanzones. For the duration of my stay, I bought a bag fruits to munch on during the day and for some midnight snacks at the hotel.
Bangkok is generally warm, so it is best to dress up for warm weather. I usually walk around during my trips to familiarize myself with the streets and really witness street life in any place, therefore, I wear my sneakers for comfort. I advise using sunscreen for if you are the type who does not use umbrella--YES-- a majority of asians use the umbrella to hide from the sun.
I also had to buy water because the sun was really out and I was thirsty most of the time. For budget travellers, it would be good to bring reusable bottles. The malls in Bangkok have places where you can refill your bottles.
Where to Stay
I chose to stay at Hotel Ibis Bangkok because it was right beside the Skytrain station. This is very convenient for me because I was able to go to a number of neighboring places just riding the train.
The hotel was also walking distance to a number of shopping centers, so I did not have to go far to indulge in some shopping!
The hotel was also surrounded by all types of restaurants for every traveller's budget. My hotel booking did not include breakfast but I had no difficulty at all in finding nice breakfast places around the hotel. The hotel also has a 7-Eleven store by the entrance which was very convenient for buying quick snacks and drinks.
Though the room was quite tight, I did not mind because I just slept there. I was out exploring the whole day.
Art and Culture
A bonus for me was the proximity too of the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. I spent a half day here just enjoying the place (and the air con!). I highly recommend this place. It will give you a glimpse of the culture and talent of the locals. It is worth your time!