Living in Southern China, I can navigate South East Asia easily, so I plan to knock off as many places on my bucket list as possible. I figured what better place to start than Bangkok, Thailand. I used to see pictures of the Grand Palace and its beauty left me speechless. Although I had a vague idea of what I wanted to see, I didn't have a detailed itinerary for my trip. I got lucky and was able to hire the same driver that picked me up from the airport to be my driver/tour guide. I had a blast shopping on the floating market. The sweet smells of the flower market made me want to buy everything in sight. The tourist-friendly Khaosan Road was very entertaining and the Grand Palace was absolutely breathtaking. If Bangkok isn't already on your list of places to see, add it right now!
How to get there: I flew Cathay Pacific from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, then Hong Kong Airlines to Bangkok. I recommend Cathay Pacific for any flight from Los Angeles to Asia. The flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok is just under 2.5 hours.
How to get around: The easiest and safest way to get around Bangkok is by taxi. Tuk tuks are also used regularly, mainly for shorter rides. I hired a driver for my time there because I needed both a tour guide and someone to make sure I was safe while I was exploring. I recommend solo female travelers to hire a driver who will stay with you all day and make sure you get from one destination to the next safely.
Where to stay: I splurged on the room because I saved so much on my flight. I stayed at The Hilton Millennium Bangkok, which was priced at $90USD/night and worth every penny. The Hilton is located 30 minutes from the airport with no traffic. If you are looking for a cheaper option, stay on Khaosan Road where you can find tons of hostels and boutique hotels priced between $30-$50 USD. Khaosan Road is a great area for tourists with lots of shops and restaurants.
Where to eat: When I travel, I get so caught up in exploring that I always forget to eat. When it comes to food on the road I try to stick to local cuisine. My driver was extremely helpful in finding places for me to eat where I could find a vegetarian meal. The street food is delicious and cheap. Just make sure to have a plate of Pad Thai for me.
What to see & do:
The Dammoen Floating Market absolutely blew me away. It's about 30 miles outside of the city, but definitely worth the drive. As you float down the canals, you will see vendors selling everything from artwork to fresh young coconuts. You can even pull up to another boat and purchase lunch. The Floating Market is an absolute must if you go to Bangkok
The Flower Market smells like heaven. I absolutely adore flowers and watching people make masterpieces out of them. The flower market is conveniently located in the heart of Bangkok and the sweet smells are the perfect way to start a day of adventure.
Khaosan Road could be compared to the Venice boardwalk where you can find all things tourist-friendly. You will find tons of restaurants, bars, foot massage spas offering a 30 minute foot massage for $3, and shops selling beautifully crafted Thai clothing. It's a fun and lively area, just remember to be careful with your wallet and purse.
The Grand Palace was breathtakingly gorgeous. I could have walked around for hours admiring the craftsmanship and details of the temple. Be sure to dress conservatively if you plan to enter any temple in Bangkok. Dress code: NO shorts, scarves, sleeveless shirts, or see-through clothing. If you are not properly dressed, there is a booth at the entry that will provide you with proper clothing rentals free of charge.
Thailand's currency is called the BHAT. 1.00 USD = 35.00 THB on average
While shopping around, particularly in tourist areas, be aware that the first price they quote you is negotiable and can be bargained down. Feel free to negotiate and bargain.
If someone invites you to see the Ping Pong Show, The Lady Boy Show, or the Pom Pom show, know that it is a sexual show