Siam Ocean World Bangkok
Dubbed as the largest aquarium in Southeast Asia, Siam Ocean World is located at Siam Paragon, the hub of world-class urban shopping and entertainment in the heart of Bangkok. Since it’s opening a few years ago, Siam Ocean World has become one of Thailand’s premier visitor destination and a major entertainment attraction. The facility covers 10,000sqm of space, the size of two football pitches; and the aquarium holds more than 4-million liters of water, equivalent to three Olympic swimming pools. If you’re visiting Bangkok with family and kids, this is one of the best places in the city to take them. How to get there: Go to BTS Siam and go the basement floor of the adjacent Siam Paragon. Address: 991 Rama 1 Road; Tel: 02 687 2000
Longtail Boat Ride
A great way to experience Bangkok beyond the walls of the Grand Palace, the MBK shopping malls, the night markets, and the backpacker haven of Khao San Road, is to move out to the suburbs across the river. A longtail boat ride along the klongs of Nonthaburi slows down the Bangkok pace a little. The romantic image of grandeur you probably have in your head is not what the Bangkok klongs are really like but they have their own charm. It’s hard to imagine there is peace in Bangkok, but it exists out in the criss-crossed water highways of Thonburi. You can take a water taxi and randomly cruise the area or you can take an organized tour. How to get there: You find long-tail boats and river ferries available at almost all floating docks along the Chao Praya River. Costs range depending on whether you join an organized tour, or hire a long tail boat privately.
Bangrak Food Tour
Charoenkrung, the first road in Bangkok, is also known as Bangrak. This is an area with an old world charm. From BTS Saphan Taksin, you’ll see a mall on the left side and a bunch of shop houses on both sides of the road. On the right, you can enjoy roasted duck from Prajak Ped Yang, fish ball noodles from Jae Lee, icy sweets from a Boi Kia cart, or unique rice congee from Joke Prince (which only opens in the evening). Across the road are Jao Long (Jae Lee’s rival, located right opposite to it) and a lot of sweets vendors on the sidewalks. Don’t just walk past Kanom Kai Pa Si, known for her signature charcoal oven, Kanom Tan in front of Jao Long, and Kanom Krok Pa Aew in front of Bata shop (which only sells in the evening). Though a bit hard to find, Sor Boonprakobpanich (Soi Charoenkrung 44) does some of the best sticky rice to pair with delicious ripe mangoes. How to get there: Take the BTS and get off at Saphan Taksin staation.
JJ Green Market
Right behind the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market (also called JJ Market) is the JJ Green market, a popular vintage night market. JJ Green is a community mall during the day but when dusk falls especially during weekends, it transforms into a night market that locals call “Siam Gypsy Market.” The market selection includes a mix of clothes, crafts, accessories, retro collectables, antiques and second hand items, but there’s really all kinds of items available here. Of late, this night market has become filled with bars, live bands, vendors and street artists, adding a special flavor your hangout moments. How to get there: From BTS Morchit (or MRT Chatuchak), walk through Chatuchak Park to Kamphaeng Phet 3, turn right and walk for about 200m until you see the big
‘JJ Green’ sign on the left hand side.
Mango & Sticky Rice in Thonglor
Thonglor is now a trendy food and wine hub, but there are still corners here where those in search of authentic traditional Thai flavors can get their fill. If you love the Thai dessert of mango and sticky rice, for example, you only have to walk a little bit from the footsteps of BTS Thonglor to get them. You’ll see a store displaying vast piles of luscious yellow mango, which is best eaten with khao nieow (sticky rice) and coconut milk. The store, Maewaree take up half the sidewalk. The sticky rice comes from Chiang Rai and experts say that here they are perfectly cooked and thus soft and flavorful. The sticky rice is sold at THB 190 a kilo. The store also sells assorted toppings such as the smooth, fragrant sangkaya (THB 35) or the mixed option (pla hang and dried shrimp, THB 50). How to get there: Get off at BTS Thonglor and walk inside Thonglor toward the motorcycle stop. Address: 1 Sukhumvit Soi 55/ Tel: 02 392 4804
Travel and food are natural partners but many people fail to make the connection that food is the real sensory gateway to get in touch with the root culture of Thailand. The Thai cooking schools offer a gateway for Thai enthusiasts to enjoy culturally enriching Thai cooking experience in an authentic Thai atmosphere. Some of the most popular ones are the Oriental Cooking School (www.mandarinoriental.com/bangkok), which offers a four-day English-language cooking course with a “watch and learn” methodology; Amita Thai Cooking Class (www.amitathaicooking.com), where visitors get a hands-on experience cooking some exotic Thai delights; MSC Thai Culinary Institute, a new cooking school in Thonglor run by one of the “Iron Chefs Thailand,” chef Chumpol Jangprai, in collaboration with Minor International and S&P restaurant group; and Blue Elephant Thai Cooking School (www.blueelephant.com), which has been the purveyor of Thai cuisine and Thai culinary ambassador for three decades.
Streetfood in Ratchawat and Sriyan markets
There’s streetfood in every nook and cranny of Bangkok, but if you want to escape the crowds, then go these two oldest and most traditional markets in the city: Ratchawat and Sriyan, tucked away in the quiet and green district of Dusit, down a road known as Nakhon Chaisi. Ratchawat is lined up with a fine selection of restaurants serving roast duck, Kobe beef noodles, and more. Farther down the road is Sriyan Market. The best thing about these two places is that while they are both filled with street food to enjoy, they have a relaxed and laidback feel that has long been gone in many of the city’s tourist belts. How to get there: Take a taxi. Closest BTS station is Victory Monument, but from there it’s about a 10-minute taxi ride away.
You probably often see strings of cyclists exploring the sois around Bangkok and wondered what exactly they were driving around seeing. With motorcycle taxis, tuk tuks, taxis, sky trains and good old feet as transportation options, why anyone would risk the traffic head on riding a borrowed bike? In fact, bike tours around Bangkok have become a very popular activity in the last few years. There are now a number of tours providers offering a variety of trips, tours, and experiences for riders of all ages. Some of the tours show hidden parts of Bangkok that many tourists have yet to see or visit. Contact your travel agent or hotel tour desk for some of the most reputable bike tour providers.