The Colours of Bangkok | Thailand - Part One

Hello friends! It's been a while since my last travel blog post.. ANYHOW, lots of trips have happened in this time (which I will be sharing soon too!), including an incredible 3-week adventure in Thailand with one of my best friends. It was literally an adventure of a lifetime and I could ramble on for ages about how incredible wonderful and crazy Thailand is, but I want to keep it short and sweet and share just the highlights and my recommendations! 

✈️ As I said, we travelled for 3 weeks and our itinerary looked something like this: Bangkok - Krabi - Phi Phi - Ko Lanta - Krabi - Ko Phangan - Ko Samui - Bangkok .

To be nice and organised, I'm gonna do three separate blog posts on our time in Thailand. This first one will be all about our experience in Bangkok, the second one will be about the whole of Krabi region (including Phi Phi and Ko Lanta), and the third in the series will be Ko Phangan and Ko Samui. I'll add clickable links here once the next posts are up.

I just want to take a moment and note our travel route - I spent quite a few days planning out the best way to see as much as possible whilst keeping the amount of painful journey time to a minimum. If you look at the map, we ended up doing a nice big triangle across Thailand, and I think we did good - so I do recommend taking a similar route. You could easily add on Phuket if you wanted, as well as Ko Yao on the West side or Ko Tao in the East, though for that I'd probably recommend staying for even longer. Enough about that - here's all my knowledge on Bangkok - crazy, dirty, smelly, amazing Bangkok.

  • Tuk-tuks and taxis - Bangkok is huuuuuge, so you'll end up hiring a lot of taxis and tuktuks. It's definitely part of the experience, and after a day or two you'll learn that these rides are actually much cheaper than you probably paid at first ;) We only had one honest taxi driver on the whole trip who actually responded with "meter" when we asked him "how much?", most of them will just make up a (ludicrous) price and see how you respond. Uber also works in Bangkok, so we would look up a price on there and then know that a taxi should be cheaper than that. Another good rule of thumb is that the actual price is at least half of what they're asking.
  • Trains - on our last day we felt adventurous and thought instead of a taxi we'll go on the skytrain. Cheap, quick, easy! 
  • Markets & streetfood - so many of them and they're everywhere. Make sure to stop by Chinatown - it's so impressive and you can spend hours wandering through the narrow streets, buying everything from gold jewellery to housekeeping products to fake raybans to rubber-fish-shoes (yep), and food, of course. If you wander around Phra Nakhon area, you'll stumble upon a lot of random markets. Here is where you can also find the famous Khao San Road Night Market - come here for the night market, cool to see the craziness but probably a tad overrated. If you're looking for some ladyboys or people in "we don't check ID" t-shirts selling alcohol, then this is THE place.
 the type of streets you'll end up wandering through! surprisingly i didn't feel unsafe at any point, even with my big camera out most of time

the type of streets you'll end up wandering through! surprisingly i didn't feel unsafe at any point, even with my big camera out most of time

 my pretty travel buddy Ance

my pretty travel buddy Ance

 a typical market side street at night

a typical market side street at night

  • Rooftop bars - countless options, pick your favourite and head there for sunset. Drinks will be more expensive than anywhere else but you're paying for the views. We went to Vanilla Sky - very relaxed + decent views.
  • Longtail boat ride from old town - we got talked into this by our tuk-tuk driver but as we had a couple of hours to kill we thought we'd give it a go. It was an hour long ride through the canals of.. well, I'm still not 100% sure where we went, but it was incredible seeing a different side of Bangkok and how the locals live. Very very humbling!
 what a charmer hey

what a charmer hey

 on the way to somewhere, idk where. how did we end up on this boat again? it all happened so fast.

on the way to somewhere, idk where. how did we end up on this boat again? it all happened so fast.

  • The Grand Palace - the one super touristy thing you should do. Don't forget to have your shoulders and knees covered! 
  • Siam - go here to do some fancy shopping or just hide from the heat in the AC. 
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  • Brekkie - we found this gem of a place on our last day in Thailand! Loveliest staff who were happy to modify our orders to fit our weird diets. Smoothie bowls, salads, eggs - everything you'd want for a great non-Thai brunch. Thai is my favourite cuisine but even I cannot do 3 weeks of it.
  • Thipsamai Pad Thai - a place famous for its pad thai! We came to the restaurant about 15 minutes before it opened and there was already about 30 people in front of us, queueing. Even though the restaurant is quite big inside, their kitchen is this little open space patch right on the street and as you're waiting to be seated, you can see all the dishes being freshly prepared. It was really delicious but I would not say it's the best pad thai I've had in my life. It was worth for the experience though.
  • Cafe Bangrak - cute little hidden hole-in-the-wall place. We sat here to take a break from the crazy heat, and the pad thai was amazing. 
  • Mango Vegan & Vegetarian - a little gem right by Khao San Road. Lots of options for both vegans & vegetarians, and they even had a raw zoodle 'pad thai' if you're into that kind of stuff.
  • Veganerie Concept - a decent place with plenty of veggie options, lots of smoothies & smoothie bowls, waffles, pancakes, all that good stuff. I'm not a big fan of a sugar overload for breakfast so be careful and check the ingredients, as they add syrup in lots of their smoothies.
  • Fresh fruit on the street - it might look a bit sketchy eating cut-up pineapple from a little plastic bag, but I promise you it might just be the best pineapple you've ever had. Also get ALLL the fresh coconut water 🙌
 Thipsamai Pad Thai

Thipsamai Pad Thai

 Ance and her baby pineapples

Ance and her baby pineapples

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I found Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand when looking for animal sanctuaries, and as this wasn't too far from Bangkok (2hr drive) we decided to go for a visit. If you'd like to go, you can book a tour (either full day or half) on their website and the proceeds go towards the foundation. On the day, we got a tour and got to take elephants on a walk, followed by an elephant shower :) Lunch was also included and we were actually surprised how delicious it was. You can also become a volunteer if you'd like, or check out more ways you can contribute on their website.

I really wanted to see elephants as I hadn't before in my life, and it was so nice to see them & learn about them in a safe and loving environment. They rescue abused or neglected animals, rehabilitate them and if possible release back into the wild. If not, they provide a safe home and take care of them for the rest of their lives. It was heartbreaking to hear all the stories that animals have to go through, especially when used in the entertainment industry - and it definitely makes you look at these things differently. I would highly recommend doing something like this if you have children as opposed to going to a zoo.

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 here's me giving fruit to this lovely lady elephant. i'd hold the fruit and she wrapped her trunk around my hand - it was an incredible feeling

here's me giving fruit to this lovely lady elephant. i'd hold the fruit and she wrapped her trunk around my hand - it was an incredible feeling

Some of the animals get to roam free in massive enclosures, but some have to be kept in smaller ones until they have adapted and are not a threat to the others. Some of the gibbons (who sound like fire engines when they're talking to each other) even have their own islands where no human has ever set foot. Pretty snazzy huh.

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That is it from me for today - check back soon for more Thailand posts (it's gonna be lottttts of beaches)! x

Kat Lipska