Bangkok for the Solo Traveler

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I'm back in Seoul now, and missing Thailand something serious!

Before coming to Bangkok, I have always heard others advise not to spend more than 2 or 3 days there. I'm thinking how can such a massive city only have two days of activities to offer?

I now know that this notion is likely based on preference for another Thai city/region, limited time available, and/or lack of research. I LOVED me some Bangkok, and I found myself trying to squeeze things into my short time there. Per usual, I traveled solo dolo!

Lodging: I chose the Sukhumvit area since it's bustling, has access to public transport and is close to activities. I stayed at the Modena by Fraser, a brand new hotel near Khlong Toei. It's just across the street from Queen Sirikit subway station, perfect.

Transport: Uber is available in Bangkok but I got around best by subway or taxi. Yes, the metered taxis via my hotel. Uber is there but it's expensive; it's also a bit unreliable. Both times I used Uber, once for the airport and again to get to a rooftop bar, both drivers asked me how to get to my destination. Huh?? Don't you have a gps map? And I certainly don't know. I also found Uber to be much more expensive than a cab, three times the price in my case. The exception is leaving touristy sites like the temples and Khao San Road. You will need to negotiate a taxi fare before getting in, they don't use the meters over there due to high demand, and well foreigners. Still cheaper than Uber. In general, tuk tuks are a rip off, avoid them.
Waiting for their prey in Khao San

Food: Good gawd almighty-THE FOOD! I could visit Thailand just to eat and nothing else. I'm a fan of street food, so any neighborhood alley with seemingly clean stalls will do for me.

God Bless whoever had the idea to put sticky rice and mango together!
Optional coconut on the side, this one also had a super clutch rice krispy type topping
I'm gonna replicate tf outta this one

Variations of Thai fried rice-$1.50 each

Grilled sticky rice, sans the mango
It's placed in a banana leaf and isn't very sweet
It IS super sticky, though

Coconut ice-cream

Of course the basic yummies like pad thai (choose your meat), fresh or fried spring rolls, coconut everything, a plethora of soups, and several other noodle and curry based dishes-masaman and green curry are SUPER clutch. One thing I did not get to try is Papaya Salad and I don't know how the hell that is. I'm getting hungry just typing this. I stuck to street food and I was just fine. The ONE time my stomach grumbled was after I ate at a restaurant. A restaurant! That said, charcoal pills, don't leave home without them. And if you do, you can get them at a pharmacy.


The obligatory temples and Grand Palace visit-

If you do them all in a day, you will be BEAT, but it can be done. You can split them up if you have the time. Wat Arun was the most crowded the day that I went; I also stayed there the longest.

Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn

As close as I got to an elephant.
No animal exploitation here.

Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn
You must dress moderately to gain access to all the temples
That means chest, shoulders and knees covered

Stair access was closed for construction :(

"And if ya don't know, now ya know"
Wat Pho, a MARVELOUS site!

Wat Pho-so, so marvelous!

Temple of the Reclining Buddha-MAJESTIC!

Admiring the Grand Palace from outside
Thailand is still mourning King Rama IX's passing
This wasn't a good day to visit

Day Trip to Ayutthaya-

Oh hey random, preserved Buddha head

Ayutthaya was completely destroyed during the war with Burma
Many of the statues are headless

Reclining Buddha at Ayutthaya

The Royal Summer Palace in Ayutthaya

An interesting Buddha on the river cruise home from Ayutthaya
It's surrounded by dragons

A Floating Market tour-

I chose Damnoen, the largest and most known market; more on that experience here 

Turn Up-

While not my thing anymore (old) there's turn up aplenty in Thailand's capital city.

Khao San Road-

Not as sleezy as Soi Cowboy but it still gets pretty wild; think Bourbon Street in NOLA, on steroids.
Go during the late afternoon for good food, bargains, drink specials, massage and people watching. Hightail it at dusk to avoid the impending, sweaty, stupid crowded, drunken ratchetness and the ungodly taxi and tuk tuk fares outta there.

Boom. Your day/evening on Khao San already planned for you
Yes, that's happening 

Many people flock to Thailand for deals on custom made pieces

Khao San in the afternoon
The night time is the right time here, it goes down at dusk

Rooftop bars-
Pick a club, any club of course. But most grown folk will do one of many a rooftop bar. Get optimal views of Bangkok and (albeit high) drinks some 30 feet in the sky. Smart dress required for most.

Millennium Hilton in Bangkok
The disk at the top is the rooftop bar, open to the public
Not as jazzy as Lebua but comparable
Opens at 5:30p, drink prices are high for Bangkok, but those 360 views

Things I Didn't Get To Do!
  • Bangkok Food Tours of Bang Rak, for sure next time!
  • Thonburi Canal Tour
  • Dinner Cruise on the Chao Phraya, see Wat Arun illuminated at night
  • Sky Bar at Lebua, might be ambitious
  • Asiatique and the Grand Cabaret Show
  • The Grand Palace*
  • Tuk Tuk Night Tour [it's organized and paid for upfront, so no scamming]
  • Soi Cowboy, probably not my thing but I'm still nosy
  • EmQuartier
  • Dine at Soul Food Mahanakorn and the Speakeasy, but street food
That's at least another two or three days worth of activities right there! So I will absolutely be back.

*-properly. The Thai were mourning their recently departed King at the Grand Palace, so I did not enter out of respect. There were literally thousands of mourners.

Safety: In general, the city is very safe, if you follow the precautions in place. I cannot stress avoiding the tuk tuks as a mode of transport enough, the only caveat would be if you were doing a tour in one. There are also signs all over the city advising folks to be wary of pick pockets at the temples and bag snatchers on the streets. These are very petty crimes but could cause a traveler turmoil. No one wants to replace a stolen passport or be SOL with no money or credit cards. I took a backpack instead of my usual tote bag or purse. The snatchers come for you from behind on their motorbikes. The person riding shotgun will cut the purse or bag from your shoulder, snatch it and keep it moving. You will not outrun a motorbike. 

  1. Do not walk around with a purse, satchel or tote. Take a cross body bag or small backpack with thick straps.
  2. Do not walk around with your purse facing the street side, place it on your opposite side.
  3. Do not walk around HOLDING whatever type of knapsack you brought nor your phone. Put it on your person.
  4. Do not keep things in your pockets, see above.
  5. If you do find yourself in a tuk tuk, don't wear your backpack on your back, put it in front of you. Same at the temples and other touristy, crowded areas. 
Basically, use common sense and mind your items as if you were in a place like say, NYC [sorry, NYC]. You can do a Google search about other common scams to beware of while in Bangkok. There are literally signs everywhere advising you of what to be aware of based on the area you're in, so pay attention.


That's right. No elephant treks or self-proclaimed sanctuaries, and for damn sure no tiger temple poses with drugged up/half dead animals. It can be done, folks!

When we know better, we do better. Besides, there's tons of other things to do!

I'm eagerly awaiting my return to Bangkok! There's so much that I didn't get to do, and I can't believe that there are people who advise to only spend 2 or 3 days here. It is a vibrant and bustling city, I can't wait to get back!

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  1. OMG, this is gorgeous! You are so fortunate to be able to travel to such beautiful places. I love your lodging taste, it's perfect. And, your pictures are so gorgeous and dreamy looking. Thanks for sharing!

  2. 1. I think I am in love with Thailand
    2. Bouta get my hair braided on the street by ol' boy!! Hahaha
    3. Beautiful temples and statues
    4. Thank you for not participating in the exploitation of animals :)

    1. Hahaha faux locs for low on Khao San, smh!

  3. Love the pictures! And I also love and amazed at the fact that you are traveling solo...I would never have the nerve to do something like this! You will cherish this trip forever!

    1. Yes, solo travel has become a preference of mine. Thanks for reading!

  4. What a beautiful and interesting place to visit. I know you enjoyed that food!

  5. I never thought about visiting Bangkok, but now it's on my list. I looks so beautiful and there's a lot to do and see.

  6. The pictures are wonderful! I have to add that to my list now. That food looks right... and cheap! Good for you for skipping the animal exploitation. Great to know you can skip the wild side and still have a great time.

  7. Simply beautiful, all of that gold. I'm an eater, like you I'm not afraid of street food either. I need to experience this sticky rice.

  8. I learned a lot in this post. What an amazing trip and your pics are awesome!!

  9. I LOVED Thailand and agree with 2-3 days in Bangkok. While there are TONS of things to do, I'm already a city girl and it was TOO city for me. I wasn't down for some street food either. I'm usually adventerous, but my stomach... I want to go back and enjoy Phuket and Chiang Mai more

  10. Thanks Keish! We're headed to Thailand this year and this was very helpful. I can't wait to go!!!

  11. Thank you! For this blog! My girlfriend and I are thinking about Thailand this year so this is so helpful. I heard how cheap it was. Love the pics. I may have to book mark your blog 😁

  12. This is beautiful! WOW! Your pictures are breathtaking.

  13. Wonderful pictures. I've heard the food in Bangkok is fabulous and your pictures proved it. You toured a lot in your short visit. The hotel looks gorgeous.

  14. Beautiful photos! This looks so regal and fun!

  15. I've only visited Phuket. I definitely want to get to Bangkok! Great tips!👍