Things to do in BANGKOK
BY NATASCHA SHAH
Bangkok is my go-to destination, whenever i am in the need of a break. With Visa on arrival, short flights, plenty of stay options, affordable shopping and so much for a solo woman traveler, there is no reason to not love it!
The Elephant Village
If you are an animal lover, this might find a place right at the top of your list of the most awesome experiences! We all have enjoyed rides on the backs of elephants but how many of us have bathed them? You can do just that, along with playing with them in the water and feeding them at the River Kwai Elephant Village, located only 45 minutes away from Kanchanaburi City. This is a day trip from Bangkok and usually takes five to six hours in total. I usually feel bad for animals in such institutions, but here, they are kept well and they actually enjoy a lot in the water. I spent an entire morning chilling with a baby elephant called Maya and it was a lot of fun!
Stop at the Damnoen Saduak floating market on the way for a fun shopping experience and a peep into the lives of the locals. You can take a boat ride while shopping from other boats and tiny shops at either side of the canal. These are mostly local tropical fruits and vegetables, Thai handicrafts and souvenirs and are expensive as compared to street shopping. The experience however is great!
Fee: INR 1200 per person approx
A cab will take anything from INR 5000-INR 7000 (if you are a group of six to seven, it is cheaper to rent a private cab) It is a two-and-a-half hour drive from Bangkok.
Solo travellers can opt for a package, which will mean travelling in an assorted group.
Carry your swimsuit, fresh clothes, soap and shampoo- there are showers inside the toilet (just a hand shower).
Khao San Road
This vibrant, mysterious and entertaining road is full of shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, cocktail vans, travel agents, tattoo shops, spas and hostels and BnBs. Travellers are seen roaming around from day to night, some shopping, some drinking concoctions out of a bucket, some laughing with colourful balloons in their hand, some getting their hair braided, some dancing and some getting a massage. This is also where you can get your hair length extended right up to your waist for just INR 6000 for full head (glue extensions). These are 100 percent human hair and last three to four months (This costs anywhere between INR15000 to INR 25000 in India). There are stalls selling fried scorpions, frogs and other insects and bugs, although not many eat it but you sure can get a picture clicked for INR 200! Colourful bikinis (INR 500), dresses (INR 200), bags (INR 300-400), shoes (INR 300), jewellery and lots more! At night the entire street converts into one big party and the spas, roll out their chairs for those tired of dancing. This Backpacker’s Mecca makes for a wonderful experience!
Shopping at the night markets
The night markets are the best places to shop in Bangkok. They usually start at 5pm and go on until midnight. You can find all sorts of things here- passport covers, clothes, sunglasses, bags, customised diaries, Thai crafts and souvenirs, lights, home decor, nail extensions . Nail extensions are a lot cheaper here as compared to India, a set of acrylic nails will cost INR 600 only, as compared to INR 1200 to INR 2500 in India. Some of my favourite night markets are - Indra Market, the market behind MBK Mall, Chatuchak and JJ Green (awesome vintage stuff). Most of them are open all days, while some are just weekend markets. It is better to check online and go.
Thai street food is my most favourite amongst everything I have ever tasted all across the globe—a potpourri of incredible flavours like ginger, lime, star anise, lemongrass, galangal, fish sauce, kaffir, sugar, chillie, soy that beautifully complement each other and play with the senses offering both aroma and a sweet-spicy taste. Some of my favourite dishes are the Raw Papaya Salad (Som Tam), Prawn Soup (Tom Yum Goong) and Grilled fish in lemon sauce. Chicken skewers and Pad thai noodles available on the streets are also absolutely delicious!
Happy Beer Garden, 50 Surawong Road, See Phraya Subdistrict, Bang Rak District, Bangkok
Open: 5 pm to 2 am
My Darling, 323 Thanon Rambuttri - Khaosan rd, Bangkok
Open: 12 noon to 1 am
Thailand has a rich cultural heritage and history. A beautiful blend of hinduism and Buddhism, which reflects in its customs, temples and architecture. The Thai greeting or Wai, is similar to the Indian Namaste in terms of manner. Thailand is full of Buddhist temples (Wats). During the 10th century, Thai Theravada Buddhism and Hindu cultures merged, and Hindu elements were introduced into Thai iconography. Popular figures include the four-armed figure of Vishnu; the garuda (half man, half bird); the eight-armed Shiva; elephant-headed Ganesh; the nāga, which appears as a snake, dragon or cobra; and the ghost-banishing giant Yaksha. Some temples to visit are Wat Arun in Bangkok, Temple Naga and Wat Rong Khun or the White Temple in Chiang Mai and The Khao Sok Monkey Temple