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Bangkok Travel Tips

4.0 stars

Insider advice for your Bangkok vacation


AbFab
Bangkok shopping 4 stars
Shopping in Bangkok is a fantastic experience. Prepare yourself to get lost in the malls and markets…clothes are very cheap (depending obviously on how much will-power you have to stop yourself splashing out!) and have really unique designs. My friend and I got a taxi to Pratunam (an area that our Thai friend raved about) and spent the whole day rummaging through stalls of cheap jewellery, designer make-up and shoes/clothes that you can buy for wholesale prices. On Khao San Road I bought some great t-shirts and dresses for a good price, but travelling out of the more touristy areas is a much cheaper and thrilling shopping experience where you can pick up loads of stuff for local prices. Make sure you find Platinum shopping mall – 6 floors of absolute bargains!


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AbFab
Dodgy tuk tuk drivers in Bangkok 1 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Although these three-wheeled vehicles are great at dodging through traffic, from my experience they’re a con. When walking through Khao San Road, I was approached by a tuk tuk driver who said he’d show me around Bangkok’s sights for a ridiculously cheap price. I naively said yes, and we drove to the Temple of the Golden Buddha (which is a must). However, he then took me to his friend’s clothes shop which was an awkward experience as they expected me to buy something. After driving to another temple, he told me I should get out of the tuk tuk and take a photo. Luckily I picked up my bag as I jumped out, and the next minute I looked around as he drove off waving! He was obviously planning on stealing anything I left in the tuk tuk (which was luckily only a bottle of water.) So be aware!


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Marc888
Fine Dining at ISO in the Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel. 5 stars
The Buffet at Bangkok’s ISO international restaurant was a very classy affair, and yet it seems that ISO is not as well known about compared to other similar hotel restaurants. The furniture was very well chosen and the location couldn’t have been better as it was overlooking a tropical garden but yet was right in the heart of the city, very close to Chit Lom BTS station. I felt comfortable in this place right from the start. When it came to the food, the spread left me truly spoilt for choice. On offer were Thai and western delights and a number of cooking stations where beef and seafood could be prepared just the way I wanted. The buffet cost me 950 which is only 20 Euros, and for this I enjoyed a very satisfying dinner. ISO is located in the Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel.

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Marc888
Le Danang 4 stars
Le Danang was the place I chose to have lunch at whilst staying at the Sofitel Central Plaza Hotel in Bangkok. This Vietnamese restaurant was tastefully decked out to a more traditional 1950’s style complete with all of the French aspects that mark the period. Indeed the name of the restaurant reflected this too. I enjoyed a light lunch comprising of traditional Vietnamese fresh spring rolls and some pan fried king prawns. There were some French dishes on offer and also some Chinese and Thai choices available. The Restaurant was quite busy as it is located near to Bangkok’s convention centre, however I didn’t have to wait long for my food. My light lunch was well received and I was able to keep on schedule on what happened to be a busy day!

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Marc888
Polo Loco's, Soi Convent 4 stars
Polo Loco located in Bangkok’s Convent road in the heart of the busy Siam area had on offer an array Italian and Thai food. I ordered a couple of their signature dishes which included a Thai Spicy Shrimp Soup and a very handsomely sized Spaghetti Bolognaise. Polo Loco has a number of restaurants in Bangkok, but this one was in the right place at the right time, and whilst it was busy, service was very quick. The restaurant is not as well decorated as some that I have seen, but it was very clean and comfortable nonetheless. The bill was also a nice surprise, my entire lunch came to only 8 Euros.

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Marc888
Blue Cup 4 stars
Blue Cup is a coffee shop chain that serves very high quality coffee in various outlets in Bangkok. The last one that I visited was at the Siam Paragon building right in the heart of the city. Many of Blue Cups branches are affiliated to the S&P chain of eateries and the combination worked very well. I was able to enjoy some really good coffee, whilst at the same time select some of the best dishes from S&P’s menu. In the place I visited, the décor was definitely different to a standard S&P restaurant reflecting Blue Cups Presence. I had a window seat, and enjoyed a very nice lunch with some truly unforgettable coffee as an accompaniment.

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Marc888
A Garden Café 4 stars
It was simply called “A Garden Café” but there was nothing simple about the place, and it wasn’t only just a café. Located in Bangkok's Sukhumvit area, it was a very nicely designed restaurant and I was able to take lunch there recently. With water flowing across all of the windows and with a very green garden setting outside, this restaurant did live up to its namesake. I ordered one of their signature salads and also some Thai dishes which were very nicely presented and tasted great. Fortunately the selection of wines on offer was extensive and I was able to chose a wine to compliment my meal. The price for the entire bash was little over 1100 baht which was very reasonable indeed.

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Marc888
The Platinum Centre 4 stars
The Platinum Centre is located in Bangkok’s Pratunam area, and although was designed to be a new indoor fashion centre it doesn’t really feel that new. That’s not to say the building is already showing its age, just that the layout has pretty much copied the layout of the older Patunam market instead of taking on the airy feel of most new malls. Rows upon rows of tightly packed cubicle shops were all that was there to greet me as I wandered round to look the clothes on offer. Safe to say this is more of a place for women to shop, but for me the place felt quite claustrophobic and so I ended up in the coffee shop outside! That said it is a place where some bargains can be found, and it was very busy suggesting exactly that.

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Marc888
Jusiomania 4 stars
Jusiomania was nestled in between several small eateries in Bangkok’s Crystal mall, and I would have missed it but for the large green sign that caught my eye. As I went over to take a look I couldn’t help but notice the queue there. It seemed that this place was indeed popular. A range of very interesting fresh fruit juices was the main reason for the commotion, and I was able to order a mango and strawberry crush which tasted great and which was well worth the wait. Also on offer were layered fruit cocktails as well as an enticing range of shakes and sorbets.

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Marc888
Pat Pong Market 4 stars
Whilst it is not a permanent market, Pat Pong market does come to life in the late afternoon and is now one of the largest and most popular night markets in the city. I spent an evening wandering the place and was able to muse over such offerings as watches, jeans, belts, huge ranges of hand bags and other clothes as well as costume jewelry, electronics and ornaments of all shapes and sizes. At 2am every night the place is completely torn down and if you happen to wander into Soi Pat Pong in the morning or just after lunch the street is so clear it almost looks like a totally different place! Pat Pong can be reached by taking a BTS train to Sala Daeng Station.

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Marc888
Nooddie 4 stars
It had trendy décor and was very nearly full of customers. However, I was able to get a table on the ground floor of Nooddie, a compact but groovy noodle restaurant in the heart of Bangkok’s Silom area. I was hungry and this place suited my moment perfectly. The menu provided a range of about 60 different noodle dishes including Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and Hong Kong styles. In addition a Tepanyaki chicken dish and some spring roll options were also offered. I was able to sample Pad Thai and Hong Kong noodles plus Thai spring rolls and everything arrived very quickly even in spite of the restaurant being so busy. The price was right also with 2 dishes and a soft drink coming in at under 3 Euros! Noodie can be found right underneath the Sala Daeng BTS Skytrain station in Bangkok’s Silom district.

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Marc888
Happy New Year! 5 stars
It was at this time that I saw the fireworks barge draw up. There were actually two barges for this display, one near to the Shangri-La where we were first located, and another that was managed by the Sheraton. The Sheraton barged pulled up very close to us and at the stroke of midnight we were able to enjoy possibly the best seats in the house without having to pay any silly prices. The fireworks display was truly stunning made more so by the fact that we were about as close as we possibly could get to the ignition point! This made for an evening was very memorable. The view from the bridge would also have been spectacular but we were able to have the best of both worlds, namely a pleasant place to stand with great facilities, and yet a perfect view of the display!

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_Gleam_
Don't hesitate in Chatuchak! 4 stars
Having heard so much about it, I printed out a map of Chatuchak weekend market from the Internet to help me navigate around the place but it didn’t help much once I got to Thailand’s largest market. My biggest mistake was holding off purchases because I wanted to compare prices. There wasn’t much price difference within the market and I couldn’t count on being able to return to a particular stall! I was later told that bargaining is usually more successful for female customers but I guess I was too oblivious to notice.

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Marc888
The Sheraton 5 stars
The Sheraton had a coffee shop also in the side of it, which fronted the other side of an open area that effectively completed an open Square. The Thai restaurant was called Sala Thai, and although we weren’t hungry it looked like a great place to sit to watch the fireworks. It had a terrace very similar to the five star hotels. There was alas, a queue to get into the Sala Thai restaurant, and some stress as a number of people were turned away. It appeared that this was a fully booked restaurant, but I couldn’t help but see some people finishing their meals early and so had quiet word with the manageress who told me that there might well be a table available later and that she would see if she could arrange something.

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Marc888
Other places to check out 4 stars
Day quickly turned into night, and it was time to decide whether to stay in this place for the night or to move on with our, albeit, delayed plans of checking out some of the other places. Actually there was one thing that we found about our stay in the lobby bar, and that was that the lack of variety was beginning to bite. I think that if we had booked the buffet, we would not be that keen to spend such a long time in one place anyway. We went to the hotel reception and asked if there were any normal bars just in the streets around the area. Patpong is quite close, but is not near the river front, and would be very busy.

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Marc888
The late plan for New Year's Eve in Bangkok 4 stars
The bridge is very close to the BTS Station of the same name, and can provide as good a view, or even better, than the views from the hi society terraces and patio gardens of the major hotels that front the river. As for our night out, we were quite keen to eat somewhere and considered the possibility of making a late booking at one of the riverside hotels for the buffer meal, or even just an al a carte meal there. If our search was fruitless we would join the crowds on the bridge, but with no facilities at all there, this would not be much fun, made less so by the fact that we would have to arrive several hours early just to be assured of a place.

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Marc888
Saphan Taksin Bridge 5 stars
Now, whilst revelers in most cities such as London, New York and Paris, can turn up and enjoy the main new year festivities for free, in Bangkok, this is not so easily the case. Unfortunately, much of the river front real-estate in the area that hosts the fireworks display has been, long ago, bought up by hotel chains. Whilst these five star establishments nestled on the banks of the river provide a great choice of waterfront dining for anyone coming to Bangkok all year round, they do become a bit of an inconvenience for the New Year’s Eve celebrations, as there is very little access to the waterfront. Predictably the hotels charge high prices for entry. The one place that is open to the public, however, is the Saphan Taksin Bridge which crosses the river and which gets packed full of people.

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Marc888
Bangkok’s BTS 4 stars
Bangkok’s BTS is a modern sky train which employs ticket barriers that are similar to those in Europe or the U.S. but with one difference. There are slightly faster and do not appear to have sensors which check if someone is in the process of moving through the barrier! I have had the unfortunate experience to place my ticket in the slot and then have the jaws of the barrier close on me whilst moving through them. Indeed Bangkok’s underground MRT barriers are even less forgiving as the jaws of these barriers close even faster.

It is not surprising, then, to see most people native to Bangkok place their ticket in the slot and run through the offending piece of machinery at high speed! I have now worked out that holding my bag high above the barrier as opposed to in front of, or behind me, as I pass through is a good bet. Not only does it give a little more time for me to pass, but will protect anything in the bag such as my laptop from getting damaged by these hungry beasts!


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Marc888
New Year’s Eve in Bangkok 4 stars
It was that time again, and whilst planning for New Year’s Eve in Bangkok well in advance might be the sensible thing to do, it is often the last minute experience that becomes the most interesting. So it wasn’t until the afternoon of the last day of December that myself and my friend started to make some decisions about where we were going to go. Bangkok has a lot to offer, but predictably, the major hotels had upped their prices for both short stays and for their buffet dinners. As someone who had enjoyed many hotel buffets in Bangkok, I certainly know that most of the hotels in the city ordinarily offer very good food for modest amounts of money. Even if they doubled or tripled their prices for New Year’s Eve it would still be a reasonable deal. However, things were not that easy for this year.

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Marc888
Au Bon Pain, Chong Nonsi 4 stars
Au Bon Pain located in the ground floor of the Standard and Chartered Bank Building in Bangkok’s Chong Nonsi area is just one of many branches of this famous and quite classy coffee shop and delicatessen. This particular branch offers a very bright and airy seating area since the 12 foot high windows allow natural light to enter from all directions. I took advantage of one of their breakfast specials which was a bacon, egg and cheese bagel complete with a cup of their freshly brewed hot coffee. I was able to choose my bagel from a selection of either plain, poppy seed, cheese or sesame seed varieties, and then watched as it was lightly toasted and filled. This combination cost just 90 baht all in, which is less than 2 Euros and made a great start to my morning.

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