Welcome back to the destination of the week, each week we will highlight a popular destination and give you all the information and first-hand recommendations you need to have an amazing holiday there.
This week you told us that the next destination should be Bangkok, Thailand. Don't forget to join in on our Instagram polls @tysontrails to let us know which places you would like to see next!
Bangkok is somewhere we have spent a lot of time; we visited 3 times and we actually lived here for a month back in 2016 before we had Roman and we revisited twice as a family. It is such a vibrant and amazing city with so much to do you could have a new experience every time you return. I also see Bangkok as the gateway to SE Asia, flying from London is very cheap and efficient and once you are here you can catch a cheap flight pretty much anywhere. We are actually in the middle of plans to return hopefully this year if things open up!
Currency: Thai Bhat (THB)
Time difference: +7 hours of UK
Flight time: London to Bangkok is around 12 hours direct, indirect takes around 14 hours plus dependant on stopover
British Embassy: (+66 2 305 8333; https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-bangkok), AIA Sathorn Tower, Floor 12 A 11/1 S Sathorn Rd.
Emergency services: Tourist Police - 1155, Police (General Emergency Call) - 191, Ambulance - 1554, Fire - 199
Important local laws in Bangkok
Visiting Bangkok as a tourist is extremely safe, the rate of crime is low and violence is very low especially towards tourists. Thai nationals have always felt very welcoming and friendly every time we have visited. The most common thing to keep an eye out for just like any big city with a huge population is petty theft and pickpocketing. There are a couple of local laws to be aware of (some are quite extreme, but it is worth noting)
Drug laws in Thailand are strict and can result in the death penalty so never buy, use or transport drugs during your stay.
Disrespecting the royal family - Any kind of offence to defame, insult, threaten or defile any image including stepping on or defacing the Thai Bhat can result in imprisonment.
Drinking alcohol is very relaxed in Bangkok but it is illegal in the following places - Temples or places of worship, Petrol stations, Public parks.
Under Thai law, it is illegal to drive whilst not wearing a t-shirt/shirt.
Best time to visit Bangkok
Bangkok has a year-round tropical climate that is warm and prone to rain. The best months to visit Bangkok is between November and February which is the cool season. Average temperatures are 28⁰C, and these are the driest months to visit making sightseeing a lot more comfortable. Visiting during March to June can see temperatures average highs of 34⁰C and the heat combined with the intense humidity can be quite a lot to handle.
There is no fixed dress code when visiting Bangkok but the most useful packing tip is to pack light and airy clothing, dress as you would in any city with hot weather. Flip flops and sandals are the most common footwear due to the shoe-off culture. If you are looking to visit any temples you will need to cover shoulders and knees to be allowed entry, some places will offer robes and scarfs to borrow but it is advisable to bring your own just in case they aren't available.
Things to see and do
Temple of the Emerald Buddha
Regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. It is believed to sit and watch over the Thai nation. The complex consists of a number of buildings within the grounds of the Grand Palace, open to tourists when it is not being used for sacred ceremonies.
Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
Located just behind the temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Pho is a must-visit for any travellers to Bangkok. The Reclining Buddha is the main attraction standing (Or laying to be correct) at fifteen metres tall and forty-six metres long the whole statue is covered in gold leaf. As you enter, you will find 108 bowls that represent the 108 positive actions the Buddha completed on his way to becoming perfect, you can buy coins for the bowls.
The Grand Palace is a multitude of spectacular buildings in the heart of Bangkok. It is probably the most famous tourist destination as it was once the official residence of the Kings of Siam. A visit to the palace can take hours because there is just so much to see. Be aware of potential scams when outside the palace and only pay the entrance fee when you are actually going in.
If you want an authentic market experience then look no further. Inside the Chatuchak market, you will find over 8000 stalls covering 27 acres of space this is one of the largest markets in the world. Open only on Saturday's and Sunday's it attracts nearly 200,000 visitors a day. You will find everything you can think of for sale here and mostly at local prices, it is certainly worth picking up a map before you go to avoid you being lost in the market for hours.
Chao Phraya River River Cruise
The Chao Phraya River flows through Bangkok and out to the Gulf of Thailand with lots of little canals that feed off of it. Taking a boat trip down the river is a great experience for everyone, you will get to see all the different views of Bangkok from its high rise apartments and hotels to the wooden shacks and children playing in the water. There are lots of options for boat trips from the ferry that stops allowing you to hop on and off to private boats.
Jump in a Tuk Tuk
I highly recommend you grab a Tuk Tuk in Bangkok, just hold on tight! Bangkok has the traditional Tuk Tuk's that you have probably seen in movies and photos, In my experience everywhere else we travelled to in Thailand they all seem to be more like trucks with open backs so this is the place to make sure you go on one!
BTS Sky Train
If you want a cheap fun activity for kids just ride the BTS Skytrain. It is one of the most popular ways to get around Bangkok, nice cold air-conditioned carriages that feel like your flying around downtown Bangkok on its elevated tracks, Roman absolutely loved watching out the window.
Where to eat
This is my favourite section; Thai food is one of my favourite cuisines and yes there are hundreds of restaurants I could talk about here but firstly street food must take centre stage. At first, it can seem a little intimidating, you need to be prepared to try most things until you find your favourite bites. Street food in Bangkok provides convenient, delicious and cheap meals and it’s one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the local culture, the most popular places for street food is in Sukhumvit Soi 38 and Chinatown. Some of the most popular choices include -
Som tam (ส้มตำ) – Papaya salad
Khao pad (ข้าวผัด) – Fried Rice
Pad thai kung (ผัดไทยกุ้ง) – Noodles with shrimp
Khao mun gai (ข้าวมันไก่) - Steamed chicken on rice
Gai/Moo bing (ไก่/หมูปิ้ง) - Grilled chicken/pork skewers
Pad krapao moo (ผัดกระเพราหมู) - Stir-fried pork with basil
Pla pao (ปลาเผา) - Fish barbecued in salt
Bangkok also has some amazing restaurants if you are looking for a more sit down table service. Some of our favourites are -
Jacks Bar - A rustic looking restaurant/bar right on the river, the atmosphere is relaxed and fun and the food is amazing! this is great for any little ones in tow, Roman spent ages just watching all the boats go past.
Paste - A Michelin-starred Thai Restaurant, it is considered to be one of Bangkok’s best restaurants. A fusion of age-old customs and contemporary
How to get around
There are lots of options for travelling around Bangkok, including the BTS train connection that goes straight into the city or the most popular way is by taxi. There is a designated taxi area, give the receptionist your destination and they will get you a metered taxi. A taxi to the city should cost between 250-400 Baht plus you will need to pay 50 Baht for the meter fare and then any tolls you drive through (depending on how far into the city you are going) just make sure you have some cash before getting into the Taxi.
Bangkok also widely uses Uber or Grab and you can pick one up pretty much everywhere, they are cheap, reliable and you don't have to make sure you have cash as its linked to your bank account.
Where to stay
Budget/Mid-range - Novotel Silom Road
We have stayed in a few different hotels in different parts of the city and on our last trip, we chose to stay at Novotel Silom Road. It is located right in the heart of the city and put us within walking distance of lots of places to visit, It is also within walking distance to two BTS stations. The hotel itself was super comfortable for all of us, they have lots of amenities for children like a rooftop pool with a children's shallow end and a play area inside the hotel bar (winner for mum and dad)
Luxury - Anantara Siam
Offering its guests a prestigious retreat from the crazy city whilst being close to all the main attractions and minutes from the local BTS station, Anantara is a great base for exploring Bangkok. Children can enjoy the kids club, large pool, outside play equipment and even look forward to a range of children’s toiletries and bedtime milk and cookies. Family rooms are available as well as joining rooms for larger families.