Highlights of Bangkok 🍜

After three airplanes, my first airport shower experience (shout out to Tokyo International Airport), and not much sleep, I arrived in Thailand in April of 2023 to meet a friend I’d met while teaching English in Spain. We embarked on a two week adventure around the country, starting in the heart of it all, Bangkok.

Upon Arrival — Rejuvenate with a Thai Massage

If there’s one thing I highly recommend to anyone who just took a long flight (or multiple long flights!) to get to Thailand, it’s getting a massage at one of the many spas and massage parlors around Bangkok. We went to two different locations, both were excellent. Thai Lanta was near Dewan Hotel and Botanika was in Silom, closer to the Marriott.

If you don’t enjoy the Thai style of massage, which can be a bit rough to some people, there are other types you can choose from like sports massage or a more relaxing oil massage, at most spas. It’s so affordable, ranging from $10-15 for a whole hour.

Places to Stay in Bangkok

Dewan Bangkok

For a simple-yet-nice accommodation in Bangkok, check out the Dewan Hotel. It’s near Khao San Road, so you’re in the heart of the backpacker area, without being a backpacker staying at a busy hostel. It has cool Arabian-style decor, staff is very nice, and there is a rooftop pool. It’s also off the main drag, so there isn’t too much noise from the nearby busy streets. It’s simple but everything you need in a place to crash after a busy day of exploring Bangkok.

Marriott The Surawongse

For a more luxurious experience, this 5-star hotel in the Silom area of Bangkok will definitely have you living the high life. It’s a top hotel for honeymoons or romantic vacations, and I can see why since it’s still affordable and offers some pretty amazing amenities. Make sure you check out the rooftop pool and bar for a sunset cocktail and panoramic views of the city, and definitely add the buffet brunch to your reservation for at least one day of your stay! We stayed at the Marriott for the last night of our trip and it was a wonderful way to say goodbye to such an incredible country.

Top Things To Do in Bangkok

There’s no shortage of amazing things to do in Bangkok. Whether you want to go shopping at markets, spend hours exploring ornate temples, embark on a food-filled journey, or simply just walk around taking in all the sights, there’s something for everyone here. Bring plenty of water, wear sunscreen and a hat, and get ready for an exciting day in this city that is full of life.

The Grand Palace & Temple of the Emerald Buddha

Visiting the massive complex that is home to the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is a great place to start your Bangkok adventures. Bangkok is home to many incredible temples, and it’s worth trying to visit a handful while you’re in the city. Make sure to wear the appropriate clothing — no shorts, long skirts or pants are required, so pack a night lightweight, flowy pair for your trip. It’s also important to cover your shoulders to show respect, and to take off your shoes before entering the temple.

Khao San Road

If you’re a night owl and thrive when you’re in the heart of the action, don’t skip out on a night on Khao San Road. There are tons of street food vendors, market stalls selling trinkets and souvenirs, busy bars packed with patrons, and more. It’s a famous backpacking hub, and definitely worth experiencing if you like a lively crowd.

Long Boat River Cruises

This was one of the first things we did in Bangkok, and I think it was a great way to kickstart the trip! Jump in a long boat and cruise the canals and the Chao Phraya River. It was a relaxing way to get a glimpse of the city and some amazing views of beautiful buildings and riverside temples. There were little vendor boats cruising around too, which was great for picking up a cold Chang beer to sip while sightseeing. The tour took less than an hour, and it was great because it dropped us off right at the Grand Palace area so we could keep exploring.

Lumpini Park

Feeling overwhelmed by the endless span of concrete, skyscrapers, and buzzing traffic? Head to Lumpini Park, located on the east side of the city. You can jump in a Tuk Tuk or grab the train — Bangkok has an amazing public transit system with easy-to-use skytrains and subways.

The Skytrain stops right by the park, and once you’re off and wandering around, you’ll quickly unplug from the busy city life and enjoy the beautiful nature. There is a large lake and expanses of trees and landscaping within the park, as well as some cafes where you can relax with a drink while listening to the birds. There are also clean public toilets in the park, so feel free to stay awhile and explore.

Wat Pho

This temple is known for the massive reclining Buddha statue, and it’s one of the oldest in Thailand, being established before Bangkok was officially organized as the capital city. It’s also one of the largest, and warrants at least an hour of time to wander around the grounds, enter the different temple spaces, and admire the dozens of Buddha sculptures and artistic architecture of all the buildings within the temple grounds.

Muay Thai at Rajadamnern Muay Thai Stadium

Whether you love or hate martial arts and contact sports, going to a Muay Thai boxing match is a must while in Bangkok, and the Rajadamnern Stadium is one of the best places to go to see it. Tickets were super affordable for great seats, and there is court side service of drinks and snacks. The fights are pretty brutal, but the skills, tact, and respect that the fighters have for the sport is commendable and makes it somewhat of a performance in addition to being a brutal fight.

I won’t lie. I don’t think I’d go to something like this again, but it was a really cool experience and I’m glad I had a great seat and a beer to enjoy the combat.

The Best Restaurants & Street Food in Bangkok

If you love to eat, Bangkok is a must-visit city. There are so many incredible food markets, restaurants, tours, and other culinary experiences waiting for you. I think the best way to experience it is to indulge in a mix of highly-rated restaurants, random street food vendors, and a tour to taste it all while you’re there.

Chinatown Food Tour with Chef’s Tour Bangkok

If you love to eat and want to try a ton of different foods while exploring Bangkok, booking the “Bangkok Backstreets” Tour hosted by Chef’s Tour is an absolute must. We made over 20 stops to taste different dishes, and our guides knew exactly the amount to order for our group. It was a small group, just 8 of us total, so it was easy to get around the markets and backstreets of Bangkok. Here are some photos and highlights of the best stops, and these were all focused in the Chinatown area of Bangkok.

Healthy Boy Soy Sauce Shop & Ice Cream

Healthy Boy is the iconic, household brand for soy sauce in Thailand, and they have a great store that we stopped at on our tour. We got some soy sauce soft serve, and it was great! For people who love that “bliss point” blend of sweet and salty, soy sauce ice cream could definitely be your thing. You can buy healthy boy soy sauce at Asian grocery stores in the states, so I stocked up once I got home.

TK Seafood

I loved this spot! We hiked up several flights of stairs, past the crowded tourist seating areas up to the top floor where there was a tiny balcony and tables for our group. This place is famous for seafood in Bangkok, and I really loved the soup and the prawns. The soup was heavy on the citrus flavors; the seafood broth with the spices, lemongrass, and citrus was amazing.

Thai Tiger Infused Herbal Vodka

Bottoms up! This liquor was strong but a fun thing to try during the trip to add a fun element to the eating adventure.

More Bangkok Restaurants

Sae Phun

This gem was the first place I stopped in Bangkok! It’s recommended by the Michelin Guide, known for its chicken stew and rice dish, it’s been in operation for 80 years, frequently with a queue of people lining up out the door and down the block. In addition to their famous stew, we also got a bowl of shrimp wonton noodle soup, which was also delightful. Sae Phun is close to Khao San Road, so if you’re in the area, be sure to swing by.


This bakery was a fantastic gem in the heart of the Khao San Road area of Bangkok, and it was the perfect breakfast option. Konnichipan is a Japanese-style bakery with a huge selection of pastries, tarts, rolls, breakfast sandwiches and more. It’s so cheap and all the pastries we ate were incredible, and they have great espresso drinks for getting your caffeine boost in the morning.

26 Braised Beef 

This was hands-down one of my favorite things we ate in Bangkok. Yih Sahp Luhk, also known as 26Braised Beef, was a cool restaurant not far from the Grand Palace and some of the top temples, so naturally, it was the perfect post-tour stop for a little snack. We shared their famous braised beef served on rice and a braised beef bao. Paired with a frosty Chang, this is a must-stop when venturing around Bangkok.


Touted as one of the best and most authentic places to get Pad Thai in Bangkok, Thipsamai can get very busy! The line was out the door at one point during our visit; fortunately we did not have to wait long. This place is known for the Pad Thai where the noodles are encased in a fried omelette, adding a special, delicious touch to the dish. It was really good Pad Thai, but I have to be honest, I don’t know if I would say it’s absolutely a “must-visit” because so many other noodle places had Pad Thai that seemed just as delicious to me. It’s definitely worth a stop, but don’t panic if you can’t fit it into your itinerary.

Mango Vegan & Vegetarian

While this place is less than authentic Thai and more catering to the local hippie vegan and vegetarian travelers, it was a cute, cat-friendly cafe that was perfect for dipping into for a mango sticky rice snack and some thai tea and coffee midday. Mango would be a great stop for travelers with dietary restrictions, and they had a pretty big menu of various options, both Thai and western.

Odean Noodle

The famous dish from this spot is called Bamee Kiow Moo Daeng Pu, a noodle soup with crab and pork, and it’s absolutely delicious. It’s another Michelin guide-recommended spot, and it was a top notch meal. The crab claw meat was tender, the pork wontons were delicious, and the broth was also perfect. We ordered a side of fried crab rangoons, and those were also delicious.

And those are the highlights of Bangkok! Check out the short reel I made for TikTok below that captured more of our trip. And of course, if you have food recommendations or any other musts for my next trip, please leave a comment below! I know for sure I will return to Thailand some day.

Connect with me on TikTok!

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