Originally from the southern USA, Erin moved to Bangkok almost two years ago to work as a photographer and designer at a school. Read below for her local tips on what to eat, see and do in this fast-paced city along with her gorgeous photos from a recent shoot at Wat Arun with fellow Flytographers Bayu and Ivony from Bali.
Best Restaurants in Bangkok
1. Street food. No, seriously, eat it! My go-to street food favourites are: Fried Rice with Chicken (“Cow-pad-gai”); Pad Thai with Chicken (“Pad Thai gai”); Steamed Chicken with rice with a yummy sweet and spicy sauce (“Cow-man-gai”); minced pork salad (“Lap moo”); papaya salad (“Som tum”); and green curry with chicken (“Gang-kia-wan-gai”). Be sure to them to make it not spicy (“Mai pet”), unless you want your mouth to be on fire!
2. Roti – another street food. It’s Thai fried dough covered with sweet condensed milk and toppings like bananas, Nutella or peanut butter. Incredible!
3. Not to be missed is the famous and delicious dessert, Mango Sticky Rice (“Khao Neow Ma Muang”). Glutinous rice is soaked in sweet coconut milk and topped with fresh, juicy mangoes. Grab a spoon and enjoy every bite – it will be one of the things you crave when you return home!
Must See Attractions in Bangkok
1. There are over 400 temples (“wats”) in Bangkok. The favourites include Wat Pho, Wat Arun and Wat Phra Kaew.
2. The Grand Palace is crowded, but it’s magnificent! Keep in mind that the dress code is very modest for both men and women.
3. Khaosan Road is an eclectic mix of shops and food stalls catering mostly to the backpacking tourist. Bayu & Ivony wrote: “Our favourite place to stay and hang out in Bangkok is definitely Khaosan road. If you love street food and want to experience night life and parties in Bangkok, then staying in Khaosan would be highly recommended. (It might not suitable for a family trip though!) All food is very cheap and so delicious. You can try anything and they are all so good!”
4. Visit Jim Thompson’s former home. It’s a beautiful Thai-style teak house of the mysterious Jim Thompson, an American architect who revitalized the Thai silk industry. Eat lunch at the restaurant and browse through the gift shop for some amazing Thai silks!
5. For a day trip, take the train to Ayutthaya, a beautiful old city that is easy to get to. I love to rent bicycles and ride around the old ruins!
Things To Do in Bangkok
1. Shopping around Siam Square is a must! The malls are extravagant and there is so much just to see by walking around.
2. Hire a long-tail boat to travel along the Chao Phraya and explore all the hidden canals. Seeing the city by river is an unforgettable experience!
3. Chatuchak Weekend Market. If you are in Bangkok during a weekend and you don’t go to JJ Green, then you have missed out. This market is huge and this is where you want to go to buy everything from dishes to Thai tourist knick-knacks and vintage clothing. You can find everything here! If you want a real experience, wander into the pet section to see monkeys, sugar gliders, owls and other exotic animals. (Although if you are a true animal lover, this may not be the best thing for you to do.)
4. Get a real Thai massage. Your muscles will be stretched and rocked, compressed and pulled, and you may even have the practitioner walking on you to get really deep, but you will feel amazing afterwards (promise!).
5. Cooking with Poo. This isn’t what it sounds like! It’s an amazing Thai cooking class in the heart of the slums and a great way to see Thai life beyond the high-rise city. The organization gives back to the community and is making a positive change in the poorest districts.
6. For a fun way to spend the day, I recommend visiting one of the floating markets. Hiring a driver for half a day isn’t expensive and it’s so great to shop while on a boat. Damnoen Saduak is my favourite, but go early before the crowds!
7. Lastly, be sure to take a tuk-tuk. Granted, it’s not the best way to get around, but it’s a fun thing to do (if perhaps a little scary!). If your destination is close, you can get a deal on a ride, but be sure to agree on a price before you get in.
Flytographer: Erin in Bangkok