If you read my previous post where I shared my 2-day itinerary in Chiang Mai, Thailand, then you already know that this is the third city in Thailand that we visited on our 16-day Asia trip that spanned 4 countries and 6 cities! As mentioned, we had started and ended our trip in Singapore because it was the cheapest way to travel to Asia from Canada (Toronto specifically). We had decided to spend 7 days in Thailand in 3 cities, and since it was so jammed packed with activities, I decided to create a post for each city we visited to really highlight everything we did and loved. To get to Bangkok, we flew from Chiang Mai, Thailand via Vietjet Air.
Here is some general information of our time in Bangkok, Thailand:
Transportation from the Airport to our Hotel: We had arrived to Bangkok Airport (BKK) at around 8PM. Since we had picked up our Pocket WIFI device at the airport, we decided to use it and call a Grab to take us to our hotel. The taxi and Grab both ended up costing about 500 TBH ($21 CAD) but we opted to take a Grab for the convenience.
Transportation in and around Bangkok: Since we had access to our WIFI device, we used Grab to get from our hotel to anywhere that might be far. Outside of this, we didn’t need to book any transportation as it was included in our excursions or in walking distance.
WIFI Access: I will leave the same comments as my Singapore post as it is still relevant here. Connection was only available in our hotel room and some public establishments. To get around this, what I have done in the past, and also implemented on this trip, was to load our itinerary on Google maps and download the map for offline navigation. This method works most of the time, however sometimes the GPS gets confused and doesn’t know where you and ends up restarting. You end up having to use the map the old way (aka without a GPS and finding your own directions like a traditional map). However, I do recommend just purchasing an international SIM card that you can use and be connected to at all times (if you need to). Personally, for me, I preferred to be connected the entire time since the offline google maps kept restarting and was unable to locate us. It is also useful if you plan on using Grab while in the city. This was the first time travelling internationally where we had purchased an international SIM to be able to be connect to internet and I must say that now I am a converted. The international SIMs are very affordable and offer a lot of data (we would also turn it off if we were going to be in a given location for an extended amount of time to preserve data and batter power) and we were able to use the same SIM for the remainder of our entire trip in all of the other countries. We did end up using 3 different types of connection, but I recommend the last option so that you can be connected the entire time:
- International SIM (purchased at the airport) – Once we left Singapore and arrived to Phuket Airport, there were lots of boots that were selling international SIMs. We ended up purchasing one of these at a booth called Smile and they connected it for me – it was super easy to use however kind of confusing because I couldn’t understand how much data I had left so we used it sparingly during our visit in Phuket and Chiang Mai. Because we paid in cash, I unfortunately do not recall how much we spent, but it was definitely less than $10 CAD.
- Rented WIFI Device – I had actually rented a device when we were in Singapore for our visit in Bangkok since we were going to be here for 3 days without any excursions. We rented a pocket WIFI which we picked up at the BBK airport via Klook. In total it cost $26 for the 3 days (which at the time we thought was a bargain) – they do have to hold a deposit which is refundable once you return the device, so make sure you have enough cash to avoid the change in exchange rates on your credit card. It was also not clear how much data we had but I think it was unlimited. I didn’t mind the hand held device since we had used one when we visited Tokyo, however I definitely would recommend an international SIM when possible.
- International SIM (purchased online and picked up at airport) – After doing more research while in Bangkok and realizing that the convenience of being connected to data became a growing need, which was already 6 days into our trip, I did more research on Klook. I found SIMs available for 15 countries in South East Asia, which meant that for the remainder of our trip (still 7 days), we could be connected in all of the countries (Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore) and not have to worry about finding WIFI. We found a great deal with the SIM only costing $8.90 for 4GB of data from Klook. This option ended up being the best because not only is it a one-time purchase (no need to return anything like we had for the rented WIFI device), but you can actually download an app that came in English that tracked how much data you had. If you did go over the allotted data, you had to option of adding more data if necessary. I really liked the convenience and visibility of this option the best and felt in full control.
Hotel in Bangkok:
We stayed at the Novotel Bangkok Silom Road. Being a large chain hotel, it was conveniently located and had lots of restaurants and convenience stores near by. The room was quite large and very modern looking. I also liked how much storage we had so that we can hide our luggage away without it being in the way. We didn’t get a chance to check out the pool however we had a view of it from our room, and the view from the pool looks out onto the city. It would have made great photos. They also offered breakfast at the hotel for about $30 CAD per person which we thought was too expensive so we just opted to purchase breakfast at the convenience store and store it in our mini fridge in our room. This hotel is also about a 30-minute walk to Chinatown and about a 12 minute walk to the pier, which you can take a river taxi to visit the temples. I recommend this hotel for the location and the quality.
Budget: We had budgeted $70 CAD cash per day, which was meant to be used for food, transportation and shopping. We knew credit card wouldn’t be readily available in most establishments so we carried more cash than Singapore, but less than the other countries we visited. Again, I also used Budget your Trip to gauge how much expenses to expect per day. See below for the breakdown of our actual expenses (keep in mind this is for 2 people):
- Airfare from Chiang Mai to Bangkok for 2 people: $146
- Hotel: $270 (for 3 nights)
- Cash (mostly for meals): $214 CAD
- Shopping and other expenses (on credit card, which includes our excursion): $177
- Transportation (credit card): $48 (Grab)
- Total cost of trip for 2 days: $856
Excluding airfare, we actually spent $236 per day, or $118 a person. If we exclude the cost of the excursion, we actually only spent $107 per day per person, which is closet to the $92 per day approximation found on Budget your Trip, however we did splurge on the shopping and the Grabs, so I still highly recommend this website as a great resource in budget planning.
See below for the full details. Don’t forget to also check out some highlights from our trip (video above).
For the itineraries from the other areas we visited, see below:
Singapore in 5 Days
Phuket, Thailand in 2 Days
Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2 Days
Now set forth and be savvy!
Since we had arrived the previous night pretty late, this was our first official full day of our visit to Bangkok. Of course, I wanted to hit up all of the sight seeing on the 1st day just in case we missed anything, we could revisit again on our last day. From our hotel, we walked over to Sathorn Taksin Pier which was about a 12-minute walk. Once we reached the pier, we took a ferry to no. 9 Tha Chang and walked over to the Grand Palace to start our walking tour. I recommend taking the ferry since this is an attraction and activity in itself. I did read online that there were different types of taxis that you can take that would be cheaper, however we weren’t able to find it on our way to Tha Chang, though we did find it on our way back.
The Grand Palace really is grand. We wanted to come here first because we knew it would get busy and to beat the lines and crowds. You do have to pay 500 BHT per person (about $21 CAD), but it does come with a water bottle and bathroom use (note that a lot of bathrooms in Asia require you to pay to use them). We spent about 2 hours here, not because we were walking around sight seeing but because it had rained and we took shelter for about 45 minutes. However, because of the rain, the crowds did disperse and we were able to walk around and take lots of lovely photos. All of the architecture is really quite amazing – definitely worth taking photos and selfies here. Since it is a temple, do dress modestly and bring a kimono. The staff also seemed to be preparing for a festival so unfortunately there were lots of areas that were closed off to the public, however since this place is quite large, there was more than enough space to explore.
After visiting the Grand Palace, it was already lunch time. There are many exits to the Grand Palace, and the exit that we took led us to the restaurant Baan Tha Tien. Upon entering the restaurant, we did notice many other tourists in here. The décor was also very trendy and had large windows to let in the sun. The food was pretty affordable – we ordered green curry and shrimp. It was the perfect portion size and gave us energy for the rest of the day.
After lunch, we headed over to the Reclining Buddha. It is hard to describe just how large this Buddha is. It’s so large that it’s almost impossible to take a photo of it from end to end. Of course, there were lots of other tourists here visiting, but it wasn’t too crowded. It being a temple, there were also people praying so do be mindful and respectful.
After visiting the Reclining Buddha, we took the ferry across to visit Wat Arun. This side of the pier had less tourists, but everything seemed to be spaced out a lot more, giving you more room to walk around. There is no entry fee here, and you are free to roam around. It was almost set up like a garden with paths for you to walk on through the temples. It was quite nice to have the breeze from the river while taking in all of the beauty of the sights. I absolutely loved all of the tiling and colors on the temples.
After visiting Wat Arun, we found the cheap river taxi and took it back over towards the Reclining Buddha. This river taxi only cost us about $1 CAD each. We had intended to visit Khaosan Road, but underestimated all of the walking we had done in the heat. Unfortunately, we did not get the opportunity to visit it on this trip but do hope to do so when we visit again.
We ended up heading towards Chinatown and the Flower Market which we also didn’t get to visit on this trip but will definitely add it to the list for next time). We decided to take a grab from the Reclining Buddha to Chinatown. We arrived around 5PM and the sun was starting to set. Most vendors were just starting to set up and we could already feel the energy of the city start to open up. We were lucky to arrive at 5PM because we were able to grab some street food which there were still tables available. This was probably my favourite part of Bangkok – Chinatown ended up being a haven for street food at such cheap prices. Most dishes cost under $3 CAD and were as delicious as eating in a Thai restaurant in Canada. Since a lot of people practice Buddhism in Thailand, there were lots of Buddhist friendly food stalls, which meant that they were also vegan friendly. We had pad Thai, dumplings and noodle soup. We honestly could have spent more money here if our stomachs were larger. There also seemed to be some kind of Chinese holiday going on and there were lots of activities in the streets which really added to the experience. After our visit in Chinatown, we walked back to our hotel which was about a 30-minute walk and called it a night.
Access the walking tour map here:
When in Bangkok, visiting a floating market is a must. Most of the floating markets are quite far from the city center, so you do have to either find your way over through the public transportation, Grab or tours. We ended booking a tour for convenience and the price was quite affordable. The tour we booked was through GetYourGuide.com called Damnoen Saduak Floating Market 6-Hour Tour and only cost $65 CAD for the both of us. What I liked about this was that the shuttle from and to our hotel was include as well as the boat ride inside the market itself.
After being picked up from the shuttle, our tour guide brought us to a Coconut Sugar Farm for a quick history lesson on coconut sugar, some shopping for souvenirs and a bathroom break. This visit was quite short, maybe only 30 minutes, but we got to see how they boil down the coconut to make sugar. They also had various sizes of coconut sugar blocks that you can purchase to bring home.
After the visit, we arrived to Maeklong Station which is a famous market where the train drives right through it. We were able to see how the vendors quickly cleared the path for the oncoming train. From what I experienced, this seemed like an attraction in itself. After watching the train pass by the market, we headed for Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.
This market has both a land and water market. Upon arriving, we wasted no time and was immediately put onto boats to start our tour. The boat ride to the market in itself was quite lovely and it was nice to see all of the homes that are still occupied along the river. Once we got into the actual market, there were lots of opportunities to try food, drinks and even buy souvenirs. I was surprised to see a lot of the souvenir places took credit card as payment. There was so much to see and to eat on the river as well as on land. After our boat ride ended, we were given some time to explore the land markets as well. There is lots of opportunities here to try food as well. We got to try noodle soups, coconut crepes and mango sticky rice. Everything was delicious and very cheap – you could also bargain with the vendors.
After returning to our shuttle, our guide actually gave us a few options of where we wanted to get dropped off based on where the other people in the tour group were being dropped off. This was great for us because we didn’t have to travel back to our hotel. We got dropped off at a subway station and headed towards the Chatuchak Weekend Market. This market is huge and you can definitely spend hours here exploring, eating food and getting a massage. The shops are also very trendy – I would almost consider this like a mall but in a market setting. When we first arrived here, we did get a well-deserved foot massage, which was the first massage we received on our entire Asia trip. After the massage, we walked up and down all of the aisles taking in all that the market had to offer. They do have the aisles numbered which helped with navigating around. We took our time here, stopping at a café to have some iced coffee and Thai milk tea and shopped around for some souvenirs. I was happy to have found this shop that sold all kinds of wooden household products like trays, cutting boards and spoons. I did purchase a few things from here but because of the lack of luggage space that we had, I was limited to what I could buy. We also had dinner here, trying out lots of different foods from the various booths. It was a great way to end our second day in Bangkok.
This was our last day in Bangkok. We had our flight at 7:30 PM to Malaysia, and since it was an international flight, we had to be at the airport for 3:30PM, which meant we only had about half a day in Bangkok. We had originally wanted to hang out by the pool and visit Lumpini Park but we were so exhausted at this point in the trip that we just took it easy and decided to visit Chinatown again because of all of the food.
We started our day and had breakfast at Jok Prince for some cheap and comforting congee. This place was packed when we entered but the staff was really nice and found 2 seats for us to sit at. They didn’t speak English but they did have English menus with lots of choices. I ordered a plain congee while Sean ordered a chicken congee. I did find that mine had a bit of a burnt taste however it was very affordable and nothing really to complain about.
After breakfast, we started walking towards Chinatown but really took our time. We ended up stopping at a little coffee shop called Alice Café where we shared an iced coffee and a piece of Thai Milk tea cake. It was delicious and a great mid-morning break.
We continued our way over to Chinatown where luckily there were lots of food stalls open. We took our time looking at all of the stalls and ate as much as we could before having to head over to the airport for the next adventure! I am glad we made a second trip to Chinatown because we were really able to savour and indulge in all of the street food.