So I’ve been lucky enough to visit Bangkok a couple of times over the last few months – once for work, once for a wedding. Fun fact – my partner, Nick actually grew up here – so not only does he have heaps of friends in bKK aka knows all the best places to chill/eat, he is pretty fluent in Thai too – which definitely helps when getting around this crazy city. This also means he sorted out the best mango sticky rice situation long before I visited Bangkok for the first time, so I didn’t have to waste my time trying every mango sticky rice in town (not that that would necessarily have been a bad thing…)
ANYWAYS – without further ado – here is my personal hit list/city guide of all the best things to do/eat/see etcetera in BANGKOK, THAILAND (and a bit of HUAHIN too… but mainly BKK)
CAFE – COFFEE/CAKE
– The Somchai – by far & away my favourite cafe in BKK – it has everything – interior/food/coffee and a real vibe. A must must visit. I love it so much, I even did a little blog post on it here
– Sarnies – Great place to spend the afternoon chilling – I worked from this cafe quite a bit too. Amazing food/coffee and a super popular place amongst westerners
– Sundance lounge, Seenspace Thonglor – Huge cafe with cool little shop attached. I loved this place so much and would definitely recommend trying their caramel macchiato. The pastries/sweets selection looked pretty tempting too.
– Heijii Cafe – Authentic Chinese cafe, this place is so quaint and it took us FOREVER to find but when we did it was totally worth it (and also totally packed!) It is this super cute place that has an amazing selection of sweets and their iced-mocha is a must try!
– Sretsis Parlous, Central Embassy – the cutest, pinkest tea house I have literally ever seen. The perfect place to go with your girlfriends/mum/sister etc. – it is so sweet, everything is pink and everything is a vibe
– Eden’s – amazing coffee and sweet selection – reminds me of a Melbourne cafe
– Laff Cafe – This place is really cool – it has amazing green interiors, marble tables and is inspired by ‘Australian-cafes’ aka there are no caramel frappacinos etc. on the menu – only good quality Melbourne-inspired coffee. Do note though, that every single person here is an ‘instagrammer’ so you’ll probably end up in the background of someones insta-pic
– Makai Acai – Best Acai bowl place in town
– Sri Trat – I came here a few times as the food was absolutely amazing. I really cannot recommend this place enough – super authentic Thai food and the decor is super traditional. I’ve tried so many things on the menu and everything is great, so whatever you order you won’t be disappointed
– Supanniga Eating Room – There are a few of these in the city and I’ve been to two of them, both were amazing. I loved the Massaman Curry and Crab Pad Thai
– TAAN – I came here when this restaurant had only just opened for a degustation menu and it was absolutely amazing. I want to go back for their a la carte menu, but didn’t make it this time!
– Fat Boy Sushi – By far and away the best Japanese food I have ever eaten and that is saying a lot as Melbourne has amazing Japanese food and I’ve been to so many Japanese restaurants in Melbourne. This place is super small (so you may want to book ahead) and isn’t fancy or anything but the food is deeeeelicious. Super fresh and they have such interesting sushi combinations and flavours.
– At- Ta- Rote – delicious, authentic Thai food. We pretty much tried one of everything and everything was delicious, but my favourite dish was the red duck curry
– Gaggan – Granted you have money to blow, this is 100% one of the best dining experiences you will ever have in your entire life. It won Asia’s best restaurant and is currently ranked 7th in the world – the food, theatre, service and overall experience definitely lives up to the hype and I couldn’t recommend it more. We were lucky enough to dine at the chefs table because we had a big group, so could watch every single dish being made. This was an amazing experience, but also somewhat took away from the excitement of what is coming next!
– Gaa – Next door to Gaggan and also co-owned by Gaggan. This restaurant has 1 Michelin star and is a 14 course degustation. I actually preferred this experience over Gaggan in that for me personally, it was a more manageable amount of food to consume in one setting… Also, the vibe is a bit more relaxed and chill and less fancy, which I like. But they are two very different experiences, so granted you have the money/love food enough to want to try both – you should!
– AFTER YOU Dessert – Last but CERTAINLY not least – the dessert place that everyone in BKK raves about constantly… After You. Really do not have anything like this place in Aust, so you just have to go and experience yourself but it is pretty much a delicious selection of amazing interesting desserts.
– Wallflowers – really, really reaaaaaly cool bar. Spans over multiple levels, feels like you’re in some kind of trippy treehouse and a must visit for anyone visiting BKK
– Vertigo & Moon Bar – located on the 61st floor of Banyan Tree Bangkok, this bar is actually quite likely to give you Vertigo… The first time I went I felt super dizzy and scared of being so high up (you are literally looking over all the high risers in BKK) but the second time I was more prepared for the insane views and really loved it. A must visit.
– Iron Fairies – really cool bar experience. Again you kind of feel like you’re lost in some magical place/tree-house vibe – sort of hard to explain you kind of just need to go there and experience it for yourself. The drinks are kind of expensive, but super experimental and different, so totally worth it for the experience.
– Wet – Gaggan is also a part owner of this Bar and it is located in the same area. It is a speakeasy style bar, so you think you are walking into a grungy bathroom but you are actually entering the bar. Super cool concept, I only had wine but the food looked amaze too.
MANGO STICKY RICE
(because this needs it own category lets be honest…)
Look, it is pretty much amazing everywhere in BKK, and I really don’t discriminate when it comes to MSR (I’ve made an acronym for it, I discuss/eat it so much). But the two absolute best MSR’s in Thailand are
1. THONGLOR – 1 Soi Sukhumvit 55, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110
2. HUAHIN– 118/1- 3 Naresdamri Road Tambon Hua Hin, Chang Wat Prachuap Khiri Khan 77110
(I’ve given you the exact address for each as they are small hole-in-the-wall type places that may not be super easy to find without a specific address)
I have only stayed at two hotels in BKK – so can only really recommend these two
- Siam@Siam Design Hotel – for a boutique/hotel type experience – similar to Art Series Hotels in Aus. The location of this hotel is really amazing and perfect for getting around the city super easily. It is next door to National Stadium skytrain too, which is ideal.
- The Peninsula – for a five-star hotel experience. Such a beaaaautiful hotel. I fell deeply in love with the bathrooms due to the luxe wall to ceiling marble and huge bathtub. The hotel has such a late 80s/early 90s romcom vibe about it but in a super clean, still modern way. The location is perhaps a bit less convenient if you are hoping to dart in and out of the city area, but being on the river it is beautiful and has a really quiet, luxurious feel to it.
I feel like a quick google search could probably provide a better list of things to do in BKK than I can provide, given my fave things to do are mainly eat and shop (haha..) but here is all the things I would really recommend doing anyways…
– Chatuchak Weekend Market – by far and away one of my favourite experiences in BKK. This market has absolutely everything from souvenirs, to art, to animals (yes animals…) to food, to MSR (hehe), but the best best thing here is the VINTAGE LEVIS selection – there are stalls upon stalls of vintage levis – jeans/shorts/jackets – literally whatever you want, in every size possible and so incredibly cheap. I bought a few pairs of shorts, 2 skirts, a shirt and a pair of jeans for under $50 AUD. This is NOT a drill people.
– Visit the temples – there are so many and they are all amazing. My favourite temple is Wat Traimit, as it has the Golden Buddha, which is definitely something you have to see IRL. But they really are all amazing in their own right. Probably something you can knock out in a day (which is what we did), given you are seeing them as a tourist, but if you wanted to spend more time at each one – it may take a bit longer.
– The Commons – really cool place to hang – sort of like a market vibe with heaps of different international restaurants and pop-up style places to try.
– Jim Thompsons House Museum – incredibly scenic, tranquil place to visit. We ate at the restaurant a couple of times too, which was great (just make sure you request a table outside and sitting along the water). The food was good, but nothing special compared to the restaurants I listed above.
– China Town – there is one of these in almost every city but BKK’s China Town is really something to see. You can just walk down the main street and try different things along the way from each restaurant. The street is pretty filthy and it is so hot from all the food and cooking but honestly this just adds to the whole experience. Just wear comfy shoes, shorts & a tee and get trying!
– Get a massage – there are super cheap places to get massages all over town… and by super cheap I mean like upwards of $4 AUD for a foot massage – mad, I know. But if you are wanting a nicer experience, I visited two day spas whilst in Thailand that were both amazing.
1. Destinare Thailand – amazing day spa, surrounded by greenery and in a glasshouse style house. A totally exquisite experience, you really do feel spoilt from start to end. On the pricier side, but definitely worth it if this is what you are after
2. The Barai Spa, Hyatt HuaHin – INSANE day spa experience. I had the ‘blend massage’, which mixed both Western and Thai style massage together to create the most beautiful 2 hour experience. The location is also really amazing, you feel like you’ve been transported into a different world and every detail is perfect and designed to help you embrace your absolute most ZEN self.
ANYWAYS – that is all for now. I haven’t included photos as there are honestly way too many to include them all, but images of every single one of these things can be found on my INSTAGRAM in BANGKOK (1&1) highlights, and I won’t delete them so you can refer back to them whenever you like! I also added every single dish from Gaggan & Gaa to the highlights too, in case you are considering booking one of those restaurants on your trip!
I hope this little city guide was helpful!