5 Days in Bangkok
Are 5 days enough to discover Bangkok? Of course not, but sufficient to visit the main attractions and feel the pulse of the city. This is the time that one of my friends had to visit Bangkok and I spent those 5 days accompanying him and his wife. It was the first time they came to Bangkok and I took them to the places they wished to visit and some more.
They chose to stay at the Sukhumvit 12 Avenue Hotels and after settling down were ready for their first steps in the city, we walked to Terminal 21 where my friend bought a SIM card for his mobile phone. We went around the mall, had a drink and decided to go to the Lumpinee stadium to see Muay Thai. To avoid heavy Saturday traffic we took the MRT to Chatuchak station and from there a taxi (the driver must turn on his meter). It took forty minutes to get there (165 baht) and of course, as soon as we got out of the taxi, the ticket seller rushed at us. The price battle for foreigners is always frustrating, I know that a ticket for a local is 300 baht/person, the counter for tickets at 1000 baht was closed and only remained those at 1500 in the tribune, and 2000 baht around the ring. In the end, we got ringside for 1600 baht each and missed one bout out of the 15 scheduled. Many seats were empty, and we could move everywhere except in the betting stand. The show is not only on the ring and around, but on this stand where those with the mobile phone are informing the punters all around the country of the evolution of bets, and screams, fingers, and arms are waved in every corner. Neither my friend nor I am amateurs, but we knew from the “quality” of the boxers and the excitement of the crowd that fight number seven was the evening fight, also after this one a lot of Thai people left. The last four were fights between foreigners, we left after the twelfth, I remember that this evening, the red shorts won eight of the fights. From time to time I watch some on TV (every Sunday on public TV), but it’s much better in real life and even if you don’t like boxing, Lumpinee is the temple of Thai boxing and a unique opportunity for you to live the experience.
The stadium is at this address
No. 6 Ramintra Road, near Don Muang Domestic Airport.
The next day, Sunday at 10.30 we went to the Chatuchak market by the MRT. Not too hot at this time of year, and to my surprise, not too crowded and I’ve noticed that since I last came here two months ago things have improved, new shops and clean new toilets, but I was furious about our lunch where I think we got a little scammed on the prices. (the place is across from the banks and near the motorcycle parking lot) I had never eaten there and would never again. We walked a lot, my friend’s wife did her shopping and he negotiated the prices, I like this market. We arrived at 10:30 am and left around 6:00 pm by the BTS to Siam station, where we visited two shopping centers and Siam square then via the footbridge been to the central world mall for a while. After that, we went down to the Erawan sanctuary from the Amarin Plaza. We had dinner at the Eathai restaurant in the Central Embassy shopping center where we paid half the price of Chatuchak for much better food.
Temples Day and Panorama Bar on the 48th Floor
On Monday, temples day, we used the MRT to Silom station and then the BTS to Taksin bridge station, from there we took the orange express boat to the Grand Palace (Tha Chang Pier). Many people and my friend and his wife spent almost three hours to visit and after that, we had a light lunch on our way to Wat Po where there were fewer tourists than at the Grand Palace. Around 4:30 pm from the Tha Tien dock we crossed the Chao Phraya by the small ferry to Wat Arun (3 baht), much quieter there, no problem to take pictures with people posing and passing in front of you just as you press the button, it is pity that the stairs to go to the top for the view are closed, too bad. We returned by the small ferry to the Tha Tien pier and walked past the Wat Po to take a tuk-tuk to Wat Saket for the sunset, nice. On the way back, we used the long tail boat on the Saeng Saeb Klong to the Pratunam pier and walked to the BTS Chidlom station to get to Thong Lor station. We had dinner before going up to the Octave rooftop bar of the Marriott hotel to have a few drinks and enjoy a superb view of Bangkok at night.
Golden Buddha, Talad Noi Chinatown, Long Tail Boat Tour and Secret Bars
Tuesday at 10 am, MRT to Hua Lampong station and then walk to Wat Trimitr, where the giant golden Buddha is located. From there, my usual and favorite stroll, Talad Noi where we had a drink at Sol Heng Tai Mansion, the old and new market on Yaowarat road, Sampeng and Pahurat the little India market for lunch to the Emporium mall, at 2.20pm. Then my friend wanted absolutely to take a boat trip on the Klong, so we took a tuk-tuk to the pier seven(Tha Rajinee) and thereafter smooth negotiations led by my friend, he got 1000 baht/three people (starting price was 800 baht/person) for one-hour ride is a very reasonable price. After the tour, we took a tuk-tuk back to the Klong Saeng Saeb and the boat to Pratunam and the BTS from Chidlom to Asok. Few days before I made a booking at a secret cocktail bar, the Q&A on Asok road. A small comfortable and friendly bar, pricey but delicious cocktails. To get there down at the MRT Phetchaburi station, exit 2, off of the station turn right and walk about 100 meters to the seven eleven, enter the alley on the right, the bar is only 30 meters on the right, you will have to raise your head a little to see the sign at the entrance. Afterward, we were a little hungry and we had dinner to Soi 18 on Sukhumvit, it was nearly 10 pm and only a few restaurants were open. After dinner, my friend told me that he had heard about a secret bar (again) in the soi 11 Sukhumvit. I knew the name but I had never been there. It is called the score bar, the Ground Floor is a restaurant with a terrace and upstairs is a bar with a pool table, a Foosball, and football matches on television. But the place to find is the secret bar in the back. To access it, you will need to find the photo booth at the far end of the bar, touch the screen and enter…… the bar is old style, but the cocktails on the menu, not OK for me, especially after the Q&A. You can ask the bartenders who can make a cocktail tailored to your tastes.
Khon Masked Dance
On the fifth day, I had booked tickets for the show Khon masked dance at the Thai Cultural Center for the morning performance, that day was the birthday of the deceased king Bhumibol Adulyadej which is a public holiday, but also the last day of the spectacle and the theater was full. The show lasts three hours with a fifteen-minute break, beautiful costumes, and skilled dancers. Khon dance has been inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. You can have the chance (different troupe) to see it at the Royal Sala Chalermkrung Theater. After that, we had lunch in a small market near the MRT Phetchaburi station and my friend’s wife had Japanese products to buy so we went to the Gateway Ekhamai shopping mall before going through the MRT to Hua Lampong railway station where they traveled by the night train to Chiang Mai.
How to get to the Cultural Center of Thailand
MRT Thailand Cultural Center exit 1, off of the station turn right and take the pedestrian bridge to cross the road, down from the bridge straight on and the center is few steps away.
Hot and Physically challenging City
For their first visit to Bangkok, my friend told me that they wouldn’t have made all these visits alone in such a short time and I think that’s true. Also, this is an idea of what can be done in Bangkok in 5 days, of course, you can manage them at your own pace and according to your preferences. Bangkok is a city where the temperature rarely drops below 30º and is physically challenging, it is better to take your time and drink plenty of water.
Numbers to remember in Thailand
- Tourist Police 1155
- Police (General Emergency Call) 191
- Ambulance & Rescue 1554
- Medical Emergency Call 1669
- Fire Emergency 199
- National Disaster Warning Centre 1860
- Taxi (With GPS) 1681, 1661
If you have any questions, I will be more than happy to help you out