Bangkok

Tacos and Salsa Mexican Bistro, Bangkok, THAILAND

Tacos and Salsa is one of those gems that you either stumble upon accidently or go searching for. Just off Soi 18, this place is always buzzing with energy.

The food was delicious. I had fajitas with fresh guacamole, sizzling chicken and smooth sour cream. The burritos are cheesy and the ceviche is a perfect marriage of flavours. Competitive prices, excellent food and knaff decor- what more could you ask for?

Disclaimer: This review was also posted by me on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

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Khao San Road

Woah, Khao San Road is an experience. It’s not for the faint of heart. Khao San Road is the underbelly of Bangkok, all soft and exposed, all smells and yells. In Khao San you can get accommodation that’s cheaper than a haircut and street-peddlers harass you to buy a fake ID. It’s high octane backpacker tourism. Dirt and grit.

I’m the sort of traveler who lives like a local, and I was with family. Unlike other transient people, to me Khao San was more like an attraction to see, rather than a place to stay. I decided I needed to stop by this world-reknowned road on my way back from a Muay Thai fight at Rajadamnern Stadium. My quick hour or so at Khao San was all I needed- despite offering every flavour, it wasn’t my taste.

Khao San Road is the epitome of nightlife. There’s ping-pong shows, scorpions on a stick, cheap wares and fishbowl cocktails. The crowd pulses, and they snake down the road tempted by bright lights and neon. The cheapest Pad Thai you’ll ever see, but the prawns have been congealing in the heat for days.

I went and had a beer- something I took the lid off of myself- and sat back, watched the people flow and the area start to vibrate. There’s no BTS or MRT, so make your own way there. However, beware of taxi and tuk tuk scams, as this area will fleece you before you can say ‘Sawasdee kaa’.

 

Disclaimer: This review was also posted on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Chao Praya, Bangkok, Thailand 

The Chao Praya River is an interesting landmark to see in Bangkok. It’s not absolutely necessary, however as a traveler, it’s difficult to avoid. To get anywhere touristy such as Wat Arun and Wat Pho, you have to cross the Chao Praya. I recommend taking the tourist ferry for this as it offers a guided commentary on the major sites and drop off points along the river for tourists (and it’s reasonably priced too). Beware that the river can be tumultuous after the rains so alter your plans accordingly. 

My favourite thing to do along the Chao Praya is to take a long tail boat cruise up the canals, a klong tour as they say, which takes you on a half day tour up through the waterside residences, art shops, villages and markets. It’s a great way to visit the other side of Bangkok. Good luck negotiating your ticket before you hop on first; don’t be scared of haggling and ensure you’re taken only to places you actually want to go.

Other ideas include taking a water taxi across to one of the luxury hotels along the river, such as the Mandarin Oriental and have a delightful lunch by the water and let it all pass you by.

.Disclaimer: This review was also posted on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Ayutthaya Historic Park, Thailand

Ayutthaya is a great day trip from Bangkok. It’s a series of fairly well maintained temples and ruined complexes from the Ancient Capital. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site and I’d put it up there with Borobadur and Angkor Wat as historical marvels. 

Logistically, do your research and pace yourself.  While there are plenty of tours from Bangkok, it’s very easy to self navigate. We got the train from Bangkok (approx 1.5hrs) for about 500THB, first class. Incidentally, we paid 20THB returning third class and were not dissatisfied. When we got there we were harassed, naturally, by tuktuk drivers offering packages. Don’t give in. Wander down the street with all the food stalls and market stalls to the ferry wharf. It’ll cost you 5THB to cross the river. 

On the other side of the river, it’s much less intense. There are bicycles you can hire (but it’s often a blistering heat and the distance between temples is far so I wouldn’t recommend it) and tuktuks. We haggled a driver for the two of us down to 500THB  to visit about six temples and take us to a lunch for about 4 hours (and felt rather proud of ourselves). 

Study first and pace yourself. Wat Mahathat is the classic ruin overcome by nature, Wat Pra Singh sits riverside, and there are others surrounded by moats or reclining Buddhas. You can choose where to go. Remember that there’s an entrance fee to every temple, so you’ll be hit with 50THB every time. Bring water and wear modest clothing. Sunscreen and hats because there isn’t much shade at all. Bring cash; I don’t recall seeing many ATMs, if any.
The tuktuk driver will take you to their usual lunch spot, so expect to be hit with tourist prices there and they food may not be excellent. Nevertheless, you can have a fairly inexpensive day trip to these ancient wonders and return with a taste of real Thailand. 


Disclaimer: This review was also posted on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Wat Arun  (Temple of Dawn), Bangkok, Thailand 

Wat Arun is a sight to behold. This temple is one of Thailand’s signature icons and shouldn’t be missed. Easily accessed via boat, the temple hosts hoardes of tourists daily. 

I’ve been twice over two years, both times the temple has been undergoing renovations so prepare yourself for construction scaffolding because they don’t look like they’ll finish up any time soon. Also be wary of what you wear; if the temple guard doesn’t think you’re modest enough you’ll need to rent a skirt to cover shoulders or legs.

I took a night bicycle tour of Bangkok (Grasshopper tours, highly recommend) on my first visit to Wat Arun. It was excellent to avoid the crowds and and the heat. I also relished being able to see the beautiful ceramic tile work up close. The gold details shone brilliantly under the floodlights. 

My second visit two years later was during the day. It’s very hot, but the temple is dazzling white in the midday sun. 

.Disclaimer: This review was also posted on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.


Love Scene, Bangkok, Thailand

Love Scene is unassuming. To be honest, it’s not a place I would have chosen myself, considering it’s location just off Soi Cowboy and it’s grunge appearance from the street. Went there on a recommendation with a local and honestly, worth it. The food tasted totally authentic and didn’t hold back on spice or flavour. The papaya salad has a real punch and it does Thai Cuisine perfectly. Well priced and great value; It’s one of those hole-in-the-wall restaurants where you shouldn’t worry about decor or location because the food transcends. 
.Disclaimer: This review was also posted on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Artis Coffee, Asoke, Bangkok

This place is an oasis. The air conditioning is the perfect temp, the ciabattas are flavoursome and the wifi is speedy. People park themselves here for days; it’s always full of people quietly working.

The coffee, oh, the coffee. The hot coffees are smooth, strong, aromatic. Best coffee around. There are little touches of humour all over the shop that make the cafe feel like a trendy local hangout. 

Disclaimer: This review was also posted on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.